“Grace is an outrageously relational term.”
– Dr. Ed Khouri
“How is the indwelling Spirit not relational?” – David Crabtree

Toward a Fresh Definition of Grace – Part 1

The key point is that Jesus is our only hope. Getting help from the Old Covenant or Law means that we think Jesus Himself needs our help in making us righteous. An outrageous thought! Grace is God’s Empowering Presence. He is all we need.

Grace revisited… A comment by Dr. Geoffrey Bromiley

Grace is a renewing power as well as the free gift of pardon and acceptance. Grace present within the life of the Church is shown in the Church‚ an overflow of generosity toward others (2 Cor. 8). In Tit. 2:11-13, Paul speaks of grace disciplining life unto sobriety, righteousness, and piety. Paul seems to be speaking of the power of grace within him when he says that what he is, he is by the grace of God… The promise that grace would be sufficient for him in his personal distress is probably also a promise of inner power through grace (2 Cor. 12:9). Grace is sometimes personified. Paul speaks of grace reigning through righteousness (Rom. 5:20ff) It should be noted that he speaks of sin in the same way. Grace and sin, then, become the dominant powers of the new age and of the old age respectively. The grace-sin conflict is the same as the Spirit-flesh conflict (cf. Rom. 8:5-8). Grace and Spirit, then, stand for the dominant power of the new age. In this connection, it may be mentioned that the Spirit gives grace-gifts (charismata), which are, in effect, grace-powers. The one Spirit gives differing grace-gifts to individuals. (1 Cor. 7:7; 1 Cor. 12). In Rom. 12:6, Paul speaks of gifts differing‚ “according to the grace given us.” But charismata (grace-powers) and pneumatika (spirit-powers) are the same. (cf. 1 Cor. 12:1; 14:1 and 1 Cor. 12:14; 1 Tim. 4:14). This suggests that Paul makes no sharp distinction between grace and the Spirit as the source of personal power in the Christian age.” – Dr. Geoffrey Bromiley – Renowned church historian and historical theologian, and professor emeritus at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p550

While Dr. Bromiley’s expansion on Grace is brief it serves very well in introducing Grace as more than a concept of mercy. He goes a long way toward relating Grace to the Person of the Holy Spirit.  He virtually personifies Grace as the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Well done!

Hebrews: Don’t add to what Jesus has already done

The book of Hebrews whose author is unknown but highly influenced by Paul it seems is rather strong about Jesus being the One appointed to take all authority after He had made His sacrifice on the cross. Because Jesus is now worthy of all authority, any other authority including the Law is void of power over a Christian’s life.

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. – Heb 8:13 (ESV)

Now that the Old Covenant is obsolete, it has no further power and is useless in providing forgiveness or help overcoming sin. The Law offers no help and any attempt to obtain forgiveness or righteousness through Law is an act of unbelief. It is as though we have declared that Christ’s death on the cross is not good enough!

How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of Grace. – Hebrews 10:29 NIV

Outraged the Spirit of Grace”?  Very strong words indeed! Perhaps there is way more to this Grace than at first glance. Our first glance of Grace usually defines it as “unmerited favor”, a good definition in an Old Covenant context.

The point is that Jesus is our only hope. Getting help from the Old Covenant or Law means that we think Jesus needs help in making us righteous (both justification and sanctification). No wonder the Spirit is outraged that we might diminish in any way Jesus’ full and comprehensive authority.

Toward a Fresh Definition of Grace Part 2

David Crabtree
Author: David Crabtree

David has spent more than 30 years in Senior Leadership, and is the founding senior pastor of DaySpring Church (Sydney) where he led for 27 years. He is currently living in Highlands Ranch (Denver), Colorado where he is a teacher, preacher and author. He is married to Narelle (also a senior pastor) and has 2 children with 6 grandchildren. Life's good! David and Narelle are also members of the Bethel Leaders Network (BLN) and have a role as BLN Builders.

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