This booklet was written with the hope that lives might be changed. That we would walk closer to our Lord and have a clearer understanding of what is meant by what is said in the Scriptures we love. For the Spirit of all truth is available to all who know the Lord and walk in His ways. Let us know Him more fully that we might be a bright and shining light unto all who know us, watch us and hear of us. Giving them no excuse to say ill of the One we serve: Christ Jesus!
2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”
God's grace is discussed in Christian circles often, yet our conversations routinely fail to define grace correctly. We refer to grace in terms of what we think, or what someone taught us it means rather than the actual Biblical meaning; thereby unintentionally changing the core meaning of the Greek word used throughout the New Testament. In Christian circles grace has come to mean, God's unmerited gfavor. Who or what circumstance caused the original change to occur, I am unaware of, yet Christians cling to this new meaning as if God Himself declared it! I too, in the past, for much of my Christian life, believed this incorrect meaning. I heard it defined as such so often and by so many, I took it as fact, never looking the word up in the Greek. Many pastors and preachers use this incorrect definition! How is a layperson to know differently, if leaders don't tell them otherwise and are themselves convinced of the erred meaning? Bluntly speaking we need to study the Word of God and know it for ourselves! Personal study keeps Christians on guard knowing when popular terms in the Word of God get misrepresented. I am sure the error had no evil intent, yet even good intentions, which mislead us, must receive correction!
I’ve come to realize one possible cause for the error. Grace is defined as favor in the Old Testament when God rescued Noah from the flood (Gen 6:8) and God’s favor is completely and totally unmerited, thus the meaning, unmerited favor, might have roots from that passage. I’ve heard at least one preacher incorrectly use Gen 6:8 as basis for defining grace in the New Testament, however, we cannot use a Hebrew word meaning for the basis to define a word’s meaning written in Greek.
So then, what does grace mean when used in the New Testament, if not unmerited favor? Don't misunderstand me, all grace, is in fact unmerited, given by God’s favor, yet that truth does not make the meaning of grace equal God's unmerited favor; rather it is the receiving of grace through God’s gift, which is unmerited. Maybe this too is where part of the misunderstanding occurs. The Greek word “charis,” mostly translated grace, is used 156 times in the KJV. Again, I use the King James version for personal study and when writing because some Christians believe it is the only inspired version, a question for another section, and I desire to reach as many Christians as possible. Additionally Grace is translated into English under the following: grace (130), favour (6), thank (6), thanks (4), pleasure (2), and all the remaining uses once: acceptable, benefit, gift, gracious, joy, liberality, thanked, and thankworthy. The greek work “charis” or grace is Strong’s number G5485, defined accordingly: From G5463; 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). As noted, it comes from “chairō” G5463 which means: A primary verb; to be full of “cheer”, that is, calmly happy or well off; impersonal especially as a salutation (on meeting or parting), be well: translated as farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hail, joy (-fully), rejoice.
The meaning of grace stated simply is divine influence upon one’s heart and its influence reflected in one’s life carried out with cheerfulness. This definition gives a completely different picture than God's unmerited favor! The process of receiving grace is unmerited favor, no one deserves God’s grace, yet grace does not mean unmerited favor. Ponder it for a moment: grace is God directly influencing people to act, speak, and think. This is amazing indeed!
Now reconsider passages of Scripture where the word grace is used and apply the correct meaning! What a powerful impact the verses have! There are 156 usages, too many to record here, but we can consider a few. For convince we’ll shorten the meaning of grace from divine influence upon our heart and its influence as reflected in our life carrying with it cheerfulness to its core: divine [God’s] influence and replace the word “grace” with “divine influence” in the verses below and the remaining of this section.
It’s no wonder how great Jesus was while on earth: Luke 2:40 “And the child (Jesus) grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the divine influence of God was upon him.” and John 1:14-17 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of divine influence and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and divine influence for divine influence. For the law was given by Moses, but divine influence and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
The power in Christ was and is not limited to Him alone! The apostles had divine influence also: Acts 4:33 “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great divine influence was upon them all.”
Nor was the power of divine influence limited to the apostles. Notice Paul and Barnabas persuaded them (Christians, then and to come) to continued in the divine influence of God. Acts 13:43 “Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the divine influence of God.”
God guided their steps by divine influence: Acts 14:26 “And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the divine influence of God for the work which they fulfilled.” and Acts 15:40 “And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the divine influence of God.” and Romans 5:21 “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might divine influence reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” God wants His divine influence to reign!
It’s through divine influence we are saved! That means salvation is a direct act of God influencing us. Acts 15:11 “But we believe that through the divine influence of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” and Romans 1:7 “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: divine influence to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” and Ephesians 2:5 “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by divine influence ye are saved;)” and 2 timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and divine influence, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
It’s through divine influence we grow in Christ as Christians! Acts 20:32 “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his divine influence, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” and 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in divine influence, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
By faith we have access to divine influence: Romans 5:2 “By whom also we have access by faith into this divine influence wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Christians obtain spiritual gift(s) according to the divine influence of God: Romans 12:6 “Having then gifts differing according to the divine influence that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith” and Ephesians 3:7 “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the divine influence of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.”
We are given the divine influence of God through Christ: 1 Corinthians 1:4 “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the divine influence of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;”
Any ministry done isn’t because of us, rather it’s God’s divine influence within us. 1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the divine influence of God I am what I am: and his divine influence which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the divine influence of God which was with me.” and 2 Corinthians 1:12 “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the divine influence of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”
We are told to watch our words for they have divine influence on those hearing us: Ephesians 4:29 “ Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister divine influence unto the hearers.” and Colossians 4:2 “Let your speech be alway with divine influence, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Scripture tells us to let God influence our speech! God desires to influence every aspect of our lives!
God's divine influence brings fruitfulness to our Christian lives! This is not to say we merely sit and wait, we have a responsibility to our Lord: Colossians 1:6 “which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the divine influence of God in truth:”
God's divine influence instructs us. Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with divine influence in your hearts to the Lord.”
Our strength comes by the divine influence of God. 2 Timothy 2:1 “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the divine influence that is in Christ Jesus.” and Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of divine influence, that we may obtain mercy, and find divine influence to help in time of need.” and 1 Peter 5:10 “But the God of all divine influence, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
Our service to God is powered by God's divine influence. Hebrews 12:28 “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have divine influence, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”
As we humble ourselves, God gives us more divine influence, which He uses to direct our Christian experience. James 4:6 “But he giveth more divine influence. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth divine influence unto the humble.” and 1 Peter 5:5 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth divine influence to the humble.”
God's divine influence was foretold by the prophets of old. 1 Peter 1:10 “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the divine influence that should come unto you:”
Husbands and wives are equal heirs of the divine influence of God and husbands are warned to treat their wives with respect and equality or the husband's prayers will be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the divine influence of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Additionally, there are numerous times divine influence is used both in greetings and farewells. The New Testament writers understood Christians must focus on being under the divine influence of our Lord and Savior!
Did you see the added insight in Scripture when using the correct definition? Do you sense a newness of understanding? The pages of Scripture have opened anew to us that we may move forward in our walk with the Lord! I apologize for my added excitement: I covered more verses than I had originally intended. I was caught up in the moment and placed in awe as I read verse after verse using using the correct definition of the word “charis” (grace means: a divine influence upon our heart and its influence as reflected in our life carrying with it cheerfulness).
This study proved enlightening while writing and hope similar for you while reading. May the Lord Christ our Savior keep us under His divine influence as we face life's joys and sorrows! We need more than anything as a church body to be under the divine influence of God day in and day out perfecting our walk in faith. Follow His divine influence as He directs you. May God’s divine influence lead you