Grace Reflecting Gratitude in Life
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:1-2 (KJV)
- Look up the definition in your favorite online dictionary for the word grace.
- In your journal write as much or as little as you feel led to write concerning what grace is to you and why.
Grace Strongs 5485-Charis
Greek Strong’s Number: 5485
Greek Word: χάρις
Root: from <G5463>
Cross Reference: TDNT – 9:372,1298
Part of Speech: n f
English Words used in KJV:
thank + <G2192> 3
miscellaneous translations 7
[Total Count: 156]
from <G5463> (chairo); 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).
James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “5485”.
Grace is a powerful word in the church today. We toss it around as though it is a panacea for everything that ails organized religion today. Undeserving, getting something good I have not right to are just a few of the ways this word is used. They aren’t wrong either. Grace is an amazing concept; deserving of one thing i.e. punishment but receiving something quite different in the form of Salvation through Jesus Christ. But this word forgetting what I don’t deserve losses some of its punch and value when we whittle it down to just the undeserving portion.
When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans he was the instrument of transmitting some of the most fundamental values about Christianity God gave Mankind. Throughout Romans, God reiterates how we atone for our sins not with works, things we do, but with our belief in Jesus. That faith puts us right with God, not because we do anything but because Jesus did something. This act and our faith in Him is what sets us right with God. We get this justification as a gift we don’t deserve, but here is where the word used by Paul we translate as simple grace had a richer and deeper meaning than just the undeserved gift.
“Divine influence on the heart, and it’s reflection in life, including gratitude.” This is the added meaning our English translation simply doesn’t communicate. The grace of God has an influence (or should) on the heart of the faithful to the point that the influence causes a change in that person’s life. That change becomes a reflection of that influence that is lived, not spoken, or acted upon a single time. The direction of life changes. The thoughts in life change. The things thought of as good and bad become different from before the influence on the heart. All this is now motivated by gratitude for that undeserved gift that influenced a profound change growing closer to God. It is the realization that in that change we put off something that destroyed and hated and put on something that builds up and loves because that is the example it pursues now rather than what it followed before.
Our faith in Jesus Christ brings us by grace the peace of God that surrounds us with His peace when we live our lives out of gratitude for the sacrifice made on our behalf. It is from this divine peace that we experience hope for the wonders that can only come when we pursue God’s ways and eschew our own. In this way, our faith is made whole, and the works flow not as a pursuit of an unattainable justification, but as a thank you for what was done on our behalf while we were yet wretched and undeserving.
- Contemplate where the path of God is leading to in your life and what one concrete, next-step is on that path.
- Contemplate what the path of God is leading away from in your life and what one thing that needs to be left behind might be.