The Riches of God’s Grace

by Scarlett Stough

 

God includes gracious in his name. The Hebrew word translated “gracious” in Exodus 34:6 is used, according to the concordance reference below, thirteen other times in the Old Testament, always in reference to God. (See Editor’s Note*). It “denotes the action that springs from his [God’s] free and unmerited love to His creatures.” It is defined as: “favor on the part of the giver, thanks on the part of the receiver.”

Because God is gracious, he will receive us when we “return to the Lord” (II Chronicles 30:9) and relent from punishment when we repent from the heart (Joel 2:13)

The New Testament Greek uses charis, which is translated “grace”, to describe God’s favor and love toward those who return to him. Grace always originates in God as the trait graciousness does in the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet, we are instructed to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18).” I once asked a pastor, “If grace is the unmerited pardon of God, how do we grow in it?” He was at a loss for an answer. I went looking for books that could explain “grace” to me in a more complete way. I found one that was helpful, but did not really answer my question.

As I write this commentary, I do so with caution on my part. I believe I have more understanding now than I did when I asked that question, but I also know that I have much to learn. Studying “grace” is like studying “God” in its complexity and richness. The only appropriate attitude on my part is one of humble acceptance of my need for God’s grace and of gratitude beyond my capability for the grace he has shown me.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1:7-8).

In this study, we will explore some of the references to God’s graciousness in the Old Testament and to grace in the New Testament books.

*Editor’s Note: In the NIV, Psalm 112:4 is translated in such a way that the reference to “gracious” is applied to a righteous man, but the Amplified, the KJV and the NASB translate the verse in such an ambiguous way, it could be a reference to God’s nature of being “gracious and compassionate and righteous.” The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


Bible Study Guide: Full of Grace
 
Volume 9 Issue 5 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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