I encourage you to read Acts 20:24-32 carefully. Verse 32 says, “And now, brethren, I commend (commit, entrust) you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up (edify), and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Paul would never see the Ephesians again. In his final words, he entrusted them to God, and to the word of His Grace. What is this “Word of Grace” able to do? It builds up the church, and gives the saints an inheritance. The word of grace builds - legalism tears down. The word of grace gives an inheritance - legalism robs.
Preaching true, biblical grace is the best way to stay out of error. Andrew Wommack writes, “Paul had just prophesied that there would be wolves from within and without that would come against the church at Ephesus. Then he commends them to God and the Word of God’s grace. God’s Word, specifically the revelation of God’s grace, is the greatest antidote against error.” What was the error of that day, and still today in the church?
On one side, there was antinomianism (without law, aka “lawless“). It was hyper grace that actually encouraged sinfulness. On the other side, there were the Judaizers, who taught one had to keep the law of Moses, and basically become a Jew, to be saved. Both are wrong, and both are resolved when preaching pure, biblical grace.
So, what is the definition of grace? A simple acronym is “God's Riches at Christ's Expense”. Thayer's Greek Lexicon says, “Good will, loving-kindness, favor; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.”
Here are some quotes from various Christians on what grace is: “Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving.” - B.B. Warfield. “What is grace? Grace is love. But grace is not love simply, and purely, and alone. Grace and love are, in their innermost essence, one and the same thing.” - Alexander Whyte. “Grace is the very opposite of merit... Grace is not only undeserved favor, but it is favor, shown to the one who has deserved the very opposite.”- Harry Ironside. “Grace is God's free and unmerited favor shown to guilty sinners who deserve only judgment. It is the love of God shown to the unlovely. It is God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him. To live by grace is to live solely by the merit of Jesus Christ. To live by grace is to base my entire relationship with God, including my acceptance and standing with Him, on my union with Christ.” - Jerry Bridges.
“Grace is not a 'thing'. It is not a substance that can be measured or a commodity to be distributed. It is the 'grace of the Lord Jesus Christ'. In essence, it is Jesus Himself.” - Sinclair Ferguson. “Grace means undeserved kindness. It is the gift of God to man the moment he sees he is unworthy of God's favor.” - D.L. Moody.
Grace is God doing for us, what we could never do for ourselves - in a thousand lifetimes or by our grandest efforts. The grace of Christ is the Gospel (Gal 1:6-7). The grace of God is the Gospel (Act 20:24). If we are not preaching grace, we are not preaching the Gospel. If we say there is nothing more important than the Gospel, then we are saying there is nothing more important than grace, for they are used interchangeably.
An understanding of God’s grace is essential to growing in the Christian faith. “The greater perfection a soul aspires after, the more dependent it is upon divine grace.” - Brother Lawrence. You see, the more a person comes to realize that without the Grace of Jesus he has nothing; he can do nothing; he is nothing - the more he will love and appreciate Jesus, the more he will grow in grace, and the more joyful, peaceful, & content he will become. A legalistic, works based relationship with God robs you of joy, of peace, and contentment. It also diminishes the blood of Jesus and His finished work.
This does not diminish the fact that good works are a by product of receiving God’s grace through faith; but no way, no how, not ever - will you be accepted by God based on your performance, works, or deeds. Only by receiving God’s grace through faith will you ever be accepted by God and saved. Humble yourself, and receive the free gift of righteousness today. God’s grace is sufficient. There is much more to share on this subject. Until next time, rejoice in the Lord!