English blog

Living By Grace

13-08-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet
summary of a meeting held on March 25, 2007 in Zoetermeer.

images.12 One of the main mottos of the Reformation is: Sola Gratia (= grace alone)! But what is grace? The Hebrew word for grace is “chen”. The Dutch word “gein” (pleasure) is derived from it. The Greek word for grace is “charis”, which is derived from ‘chairo’, which means ‘joy’. Purely from the derivation of the word, grace means: that which makes happy or gives joy. Grace makes you happy. But why? What is characteristic for grace, from a biblical perspective? Grace stands for: ‘free’ or ‘gratuitous’ (gratis).

… for all sinned and are wanting of the glory of God. Being justified gratuitously in His grace, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus -Romans 3:23,24-

3. For what is the scripture saying? Now “Abraham believes God, and it is reckoned to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to the worker, the wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as a debt. 5 Yet to him who is not working, yet is believing on Him Who is justifying the irreverent, his faith is reckoned for righteousness. – Romans 4- 

6 Now if it is in grace, it is no longer out of works, else the grace is coming to be no longer grace. – Romans 11-

The word Evangel (= good tidings) in Scripture often is  synonymous with “the grace of God.” For example, in Colossian 1: 6. That is why Paul in Acts 20 speaks of “the Evangel of the grace of God.” The Evangel is Evangel, because everything depends on God and not on man. It is either black or white. A little free is as impossible as being a little bit pregnant. God is the Saviour of all mankind gratuitously. Of the Colossians, we read that, they “had realized the grace of God in truth” The mere employment of terms like grace is no guarantee that it also is grace “in truth”. Colossians 1:6; Acts 20:24 In the world, “free” is a rare concept. “For nothing the sun comes up”, it is said. That’s right: the sun that dispels the darkness and brings light and life, is a model for the grace of God. He lets the sun rise on the evil and on the good. But in the world, free is suspect. Wherever in ads the word ‘free’ is used, the small print, usually, show a price tag. In a Christian setting, it is no different. They say that God’s love is unconditional, but at the same time they also threaten people with an endless hell, if they do not repent. Or they preach “grace alone”, but at the same time, you have to… Is it surprising that the world turns away from such hypocrisy? Matthew 5:45 The grace of God that guarantees the salvation of all people is the same grace that educates those who also believe this. They will discover that the universal grace of God, trains them and gives meaning and direction to their lives. It gives an overwhelming sense of God, so that it naturally leads to a life in which He is honored. Where the light shines, the darkness disappears. The negatives (ungodliness and worldly desires), will be ignored and renounced. Titus 2:11,12 The word “grace” in Greek (charis), is directly related to the word for “thanksgiving” (eu charistia). Where one “receives gratuitously, a “thank you” sounds forth logically”. In many languages, we see this connection of ‘grace’ and ‘thanksgiving’. The French say ‘merci’ and that is directly related to the English word ‘mercy’ (= compassion, grace). Spaniards say “gracias” and the Italians ‘grazie’ and we immediately recognize the English word ‘grace’ therein. The transition between the worries of Romans 7 (“what I would not, that I do; wretched man, that I am, who shall deliver me”) and the joy of Romans 8 (“the disposition of the spiritually minded is life and peace”) is marked by Romans 7:25: “I thank God…!” Literally, the word charis i.e. grace is used, here. In Romans 8, the inability of man is history. Not because this is now no longer true (on the contrary!), but because it is not anymore an issue. It has become a starting point. As a follow up, Romans 8 is about the power of God! What He has done, is doing and shall be doing. That truth makes one happy! Trying and attempting are typical terms for what the Bible calls ‘work’. The failure is already ingrained in the words, themselves. Who says “I’ve tried it,” has failed. God never tries anything, He simply does it. A lot of preaching in churches is for the purpose of encouraging people to do better. “Be holy, for I am holy …” is preached there. And since man only can make the outside more holy (or what passes for such), he is, by definition, engaged in sham holiness. And this causes him to be further afield than the average infidel, because he, at least, does not present himself better than he really is. Scripture does not say “be holy, for I am holy …”, but “You SHALL be holy, for I am holy …”. It is a promise ! 1 Peter 1:16 – rendered the usual way is fundamentally wrong. Israel’s mistake at the time, was that she did not start with faith to believe the promise of God, but they sought it by works (Romans 9:31-32). See also: 1Corinthians 1:29-31; Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 2:11 The whole purpose of our life is summarized in Ephesians 1:6:

that we should be “to the laud of the glory of His grace.