I was recently asked about the meaning of grace by someone raised in a religious tradition that doesn’t teach grace. This person noted that I use the word in conversation, but that the meaning is unclear.

I was puzzled at first, then realized that our general use of language often assigns other meanings to the word.

For example, there is often a grace period when an invoice is due. This is a time after the due date, but before the penalty date. We may grace someone with our presence when we don’t really feel like being there.

Neither of those examples adequately describes the grace of God through Jesus Christ, and our language does not relate the fullness of the concept of grace from a biblical standpoint.

One of the earliest and most comprehensive expositions on the grace of God is found in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

First, let’s consider the Hebrew word for grace and its meaning. The Hebrew, khane, is translated as grace in English and means: graciousness, kindness, favor.

This word was applied to the faithful humans that acted in godly ways, even before there was any law to tell them how to live. These people found favor (khane) with God.

St. Paul wrote in Greek, and the word for grace is, khar’-ece, meaning: a manner of acting, divine influence on the heart, benefit, favor, graciousness, joy, liberality, pleasure.

A portion of St. Paul’s letter reads: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. … You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. … Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (See Romans 5:1-20)

Notice that grace brings a change of heart, followed by a change of being. It is the realization, through faith, that Jesus died for everyone, even you!

Through that realization, we experience changes in our lives; changes in attitudes, changes in experiences, the experience of real joy, liberality, and pleasure.

The life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus conquered sin and death for all humankind. Each of us is then offered the opportunity to accept the free gift of everlasting life.

It is this acceptance that results in grace. Grace then allows us the opportunity and strength to live as redeemed persons, not victims of darkness.

Grace opens the door for us to experience the fullness of life; the kingdom of God in our lives now! Grace is not only the promise of everlasting life, but is the doorway to real joy and peace in this life.

If you want a fresh start, that is, to start really living, learn to know the real Jesus, the King of glory!

Blessings and Peace to You All,

Fr. David+

Blessings and Peace to You All,

Fr. David+

Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at frdavid@standrewsgrove.org. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.