Grace – “Unmerited Favor”?
From I was a child until now, I have heard and read much on the grace of God. Almost all the people I know and read define grace similarly, as “unmerited favor.” Recently, I came across the same definition for grace in a book. This got me thinking about grace; therefore, I decided to research the topic and see what I can uncover from the Scriptures.
I usually approach searching the Scriptures with an open mind. I do not search, the Bible primarily to prove anything. Neither do I approach the Word of God with any preconceived ideas. I go to the Bible to learn more about the Lord God.
I search the Word of God to discover the deeper depth of God’s Word. I am never disappointed. I’m approaching this study on the grace of God with an open mind.
Sometimes at the end of a Bible Study I’m obliged to discard old beliefs and embrace the new light of the Scriptures. Will the Scriptures confirm the grace of God as “unmerited favor”? Alternatively, will it overturn it? I don’t know.
Join me as I search the Word of God concerning the grace of God.
Let us apply the Principle of First Mention regarding grace. The first time “grace” appears in the Scripture, teaches us much about it according to the law I mentioned. The first occurrence of “grace” happens in Genesis Chapter Six Verse Eight.
The Lord regrets that He made humanity because their “thoughts” were “evil continually” and their actions were exceedingly evil, Genesis 6:5-6.
Therefore, the Lord decided to “destroy” all his creation. He planned to destroy “man” and all the animals from the earth, Genesis 6:7. He extends grace only to Noah and his family.
Grace Connotes a Reward or Favor for Righteous Living
- “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD,” Genesis 6:8.
In the context of its usage here, grace does not mean, “unmerited favor.” The Lord, through His Words, contrasts His attitude to the remainder of the world with His attitude toward one man, Noah.
The wicked actions of the people “grieved him (the LORD) at his heart” “but” he was happy with Noah’s lifestyle.
I’m no English Teacher, however, the preposition “BUT” in the verse above does two things. First, it compares Noah with the wicked world. Second, it connects Noah to the Lord. The sentence, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” connotes a reward for righteous living. This reward is Divine Favor.
This first mention of grace does not conform to the popular definition of “unmerited favor”. Instead, it establishes the opposite; Noah deserved favor because he lived a righteous life. He merits Divine Favor.
Let’s extend this observation of grace further by examining the next verse of Scripture.
- “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God,” Genesis 6:9.
This Scripture confirms that Noah was different from the remainder of the people on earth for he was “a just man”. Additionally, his ancestors in his “generations” were righteous.
Noah’s great grandfather, Enoch, also found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He holds a coveted place in Scriptures. He “walked with God” as Noah did too. Enoch is one of few men God “took” alive, Genesis 5:24.
The popular definition of grace being “unmerited favor” could not apply to Enoch either.
Grace of God Inextricably Connects to the Favor and Mercy of God
However, Lot’s conversation with the Lord demonstrates that grace inextricably connects the mercy and favor of God.
- “Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live,” Genesis 19:19-20.
According to the principle of First Mention, grace means “Divine Favor.” Grace is divine favor because it originates from God. Concerning Noah, there is no connotations of “unmerited favor”. However, he experienced God’s Divine Favor – grace. Noah and all his ancestors were deserving of God’s favor (Divine Favor) because they adhere to His way.
The Lord is so impressed with Noah’s lifestyle that centuries after he died He is still singing him praise.
- “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness,” Ezekiel 14:14, 20.
The fact that the Lord chose Noah to build the ark is indicative of Divine Favor. Noah merits God’s favor because he was “just”, he ”walked with God” and therefore he was a righteous man.
An examination of subsequent Scripture reveals that Divine Favor accompanies the grace of God. Even Lot was deserving of God’s grace because he was the only man in the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah who was righteous; all the others were “evil”. Our merciful God extends Divine Favor to Lot and saved his life, 2 Peter 2:7-8.
Finally, it maybe too early to decide that these Scriptures supplied the final definition of grace for we have only examine a few Scriptures. However, suffice it to say, grace involves the mercy and the favor of God. Grace is Divine Favor. By the end of our search, we will discover other features of grace, which shall strengthen our understanding of the grace of God.
I don’t easily accept secular people’s position on anything Biblical. How can I accept what they say about God’s Word? Why should I accept their definition of grace? They don’t know the Lord and don’t have any relationship with him.
In closing, there is no exceptions to the Word of God. If grace is unmerited favor, it applies to everyone. Unmirited favor does not apply to Enoch, Noah or Lot because they received Divine Favor because they were righteous men. What then is grace, if not Divine Favor?
More on Grace – Unmerited Favor or Divine Favor From the Web:
- What is meant by the grace of God?
- The grace of God was that attribute which most displeased Jonah.
- Divine grace is a theological term which is present in many and varied spiritual traditions.
- Grace is a perfection of the Divine character which is exercised only toward the elect.
- “But For The Grace Of God”.
- ‘There but for the grace of God go I’.
- Grace – Unmerited Favor.
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