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So I got an email from a friend a couple weeks back, and I found it to be a very clear and easy explanation of Grace and how to understand it according to Scripture. With all due respect and appreciation for my Calvinist friends, I present this for your consideration and discussion:

Jarod,

I heard something that I thought I should share.  I was listening to a sermon on tape and the pastor made a comment that made me immediately remember a conversation I had with you.  The pastor’s comment, as best as I can recollect, was “Grace is the power of God working in you to change your life. The definition ‘unmerited favor’ was invented by the Calvinists and is not the real definition of grace.”  I looked up Strong’s definition and got this,

“From G5463; graciousness (as gratifying) of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): – acceptable benefit favour gift grace (-ious) joy liberality pleasure thank (-s -worthy).

I would have to highlight “especially the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life”.

I have encountered other Strong’s apps for smartphones and other websites that contain a much simpler definition, but the 40 year old book at my parent’s house does also contain the definition verbatim that I copied above.

I have been going through each verse that contains the word grace, and with this new definition, there is often so much more meaning to be understood.

Take for example I Corinthians 15:10.  “But by the grace of God, I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly then they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me.”

In the first and second instance, both definitions would work, but the third instance is interesting.  Paul said he labored for the Lord, but it wasn’t him doing it, it was the grace of God doing it.  How does unmerited favor labor? It would make total sense to say, “I labored more abundantly then they all, but not by my own strength, but by the the power of God working in me.”

A divine influence on our heart is unmerited, and it is God’s favor, so I do not mean to say that grace is not unmerited favor, but that often when the word grace is used it means more than that. Can kindness exist without an act of kindness?  In the same way can unmerited favor exist without a manifestation of that favor?  I believe that manifestation is the divine influence on the heart and the reflection in the life.

Now the Calvinist would have you believe that that manifestation is God forgiving you and nothing more, which totally neglects that the power of God works in us enabling a righteous life.

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old thing are passed away, behold all things are become new.

He that is born of God doeth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God. -What is this seed that remaineth?

I have gotten long winded.  But I knew I had to share this with you.  I hope you are doing well, and that you find this useful.

God bless you and lead you in the truth more every day.
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