Grace: New Testament and God Essays

Submitted By angeleyes52
Words: 1492
Pages: 6

A person may be said to be gracious who extends undeserved favors, gifts or kindnesses to others. No one is more gracious than God in extending loving kindness to those who are undeserving. In the Old Testament, God’s graciousness toward humanity was declared and demonstrated many times. Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8). When Esau came to meet Jacob after Jacob had spent many years in Padan Aram, Jacob acknowledged to Esau that God had graciously given him his children and much provisions (Genesis 33:5, 11). Once, when talking to Moses, God indicated that he understood himself to be gracious (Exodus 22:27; 33:19; 34:6). The idea that God is gracious was included in the benediction the priests were to give the Israelites, “The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26). When Hazael, king of Syria, oppressed Israel while Jehoahaz was king of Israel, God was gracious to Israel and would not let Hazael destroy Israel because God had made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (2 Kings 13:22-23). Jonah knew that God is gracious (Jonah 4:2). Ezra realized that God was gracious to allow a remnant to escape from Babylonian captivity and revive them in the midst of their bondage (Ezra 9:7-9). Nehemiah reflected on the fact that God had been gracious to the Israelites when they had wandered in the wilderness (Nehemiah 9:17). The Psalmist emphatically declared that God is gracious (Psalm 84:11; 86:15; 103:8; 111:4; 112:4; 116:5; 119:29; 145:8, 17). God “scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34). Old Testament prophets acknowledged the graciousness of God and on that basis exhorted people to return to him (2 Chronicles 30:9; Nehemiah 9:17, 31; Isaiah 30:18-19; Hosea 14:2; Joel 2:13; Amos 5:15; Jonah 4:2; Malachi 1:9).
The New Testament also declares the graciousness of God toward persons and events. When Jesus was a child, he “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). The Apostle Paul believed that “by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Moreover, he considered himself “a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power” (Ephesians 3:7). The Apostle Peter refers to God as “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10).
However, the major teaching of scripture regarding God’s graciousness relates not to God’s loving kindnesses toward individuals within temporal circumstances but to his gift of salvation from sin through Jesus Christ. Although humanity does not deserve eternal fellowship with God because beginning with Adam (Genesis 3) “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), God determined before the foundation of the world that he would save mankind from sin (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26). God made promises to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15), to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:5-17:1-4; 22:15-18), to Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18), to David (2 Samuel 7:1-16), etc. that a savior would come to redeem humanity to himself. Although prophets also declared the coming of a savior (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 40:3-5; 53; 61:1; Malachi 3:1, etc.) and with angels desired to know more (1 Peter 1:10-12), God’s gracious plan of redemption remained a mystery until it was fully revealed through the church (Ephesians 3:10) by the apostles (Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:3-5; 6:19).
God’s great gift of grace is through Jesus Christ (Acts 15:11; 1 Corinthians 1:3-4; 2 Corinthians 8:9, Ephesians 2:5) who gave his life to redeem humanity from sin (John 3:16-17; Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Ephesians 1:6-7; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:9). Jesus himself said that he came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). God’s gracious gift of salvation is not because humanity is righteous. Rather, God demonstrated “his own love…