What do you mean “grace”?

The Bible has some powerful and important words that have their own unique divine meanings within the biblical narrative that are different from everyday English usages: covenant and faith and testament, for instance. Another is grace. In secular talk, grace means fluidity of movement, poetry in motion. It means skill in manners and social behaviors, knowing the right thing to say or do in a social situation.

The core meaning of grace in the Bible, however, is an attitude of kindness, mercy, and love toward us that God has chosen, not because of what we have done for him but because of his decision to show kindness, mercy, and love to us. Our salvation originated in the mind and heart of God. Jesus’ forgiveness and the promise of heaven are gifts, not deferred compensation. None of this was our idea, our choice, or our accomplishment. He is not rewarding us. He is in fact loving the loveless, saving the hopeless, and enlightening the clueless.

Jesus revealed the meaning of God’s grace to his stunned disciples: “He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35,36). Even the very faith we need to believe the message is a gift of God’s grace. What can we do but worship and praise our marvelous God!

 And show that same mercy to the fools and sinners around us.

Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.


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