The average person speaks about 16,000 words per day. That’s 112,000 words in a week, and nearly 6 million words a year. That’s a lot of talking!
If you were to scan the entire human vocabulary for the most beautiful word in the universe, what word would you choose? Some might choose love, and I won’t disagree. You can make a strong biblical case for that word (John 3:16, Romans 5:8 and John 13:34).
But if you know me, you know the word I’m going to choose—GRACE.
You need it. You can’t live without it, but you can’t purchase it and you can’t earn it. It only ever comes by means of a gift, and when you receive it, you immediately realize how much you needed it all along, and you wonder how you could’ve lived so long without it.
In a fallen world, populated by selfish, lost, fearful and rebellious people, it’s the one thing that everyone needs. And you can only give it to someone else when you have first been given it yourself, because you can’t give away that which you don’t have.
You see, God’s grace is the most powerful force in the universe, so I would have to argue that it’s the most beautiful word in the universe. It reaches you where you are and takes you where God wants you to be. It has the power to do something that nothing else can do: transform you at the causal core of who you are as a human being—your heart.
Overused and underdefined.
Grace, however, is also one of the most overused words in the church. I’m afraid that we use all these theologically beautiful words without knowing what we’re saying.
So you may be thinking “OK, Paul, I get your definition that grace is the freely given love, forgiveness, acceptance and help of God. I get that there’s nothing I could ever do to earn it, but I’m not sure I understand what grace looks like.”
Today, I want to write about six different types of grace. I don’t believe that these are the only variations of grace, but for the sake of this article, I’m only going to focus on these six.
First and foremost, there’s the grace of forgiveness. We all do wrong—the Bible calls that sin—and that leaves us guilty. Guilty people need to be condemned and punished unless they’re forgiven and declared guilt-free.
Jesus Christ went to the Cross to carry our sin and to bear our punishment so we could experience radical, comprehensive and complete forgiveness. In Jesus Christ, we’re forgiven for everything we’ve ever done in the past, everything we now do in the present, and everything we’ll ever do in the future.
God not only forgives us through grace, but He welcomes us into relationship with Him. He invites us into His family. He adopts us as His children, and because of that, we now have this Father-child relationship with Him where we can come to Him.
We can sit on His lap and bring our needs, concerns and failures to Him, and He responds as a loving and kind Father. Sin once separated us from God; by grace, we now have acceptance.