The word for “grace” in Greek is charis and it can mean favor, kindness, mercy, etc. As always, it’s best to check the usage of this word in the rest of the Scriptures because lexicons might not get the true meaning. We can read here and there that the grace of God is endless, and this means that God is always a merciful and forgiving God ready to cleanse people from their sins, but it doesn’t say that he does this without conditions. Even if grace is unmerited, we certainly don’t get it unconditionally and no matter how we live our lives.
Unfortunately, there some who believe that Grace means that Jesus always covers our sin, or hides it from the Father, so that we can get some kind of a “license to sin” even if they emphasize that we should still not “misuse” Grace in that way. But they still believe that Jesus has taken our sins on himself and transferred his righteousness to us, so that we are always positionally righteous even if we sin – as long as we have faith in God. The truth is, however, that we are only righteous if we DO righteousness. We are indeed cleansed from our sins in the blood of Jesus IF we confess our sins and repent, but nowhere does it say “once righteous, always righteous”.
The Biblical definition of Grace signifies obedience
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, DENYING UNGODLINESS and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world
Col 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 grace of God in truth
1 Pet. 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
We can fall from Grace and we can get it in vain
Gal. 5:2-4 shows that we can fall from grace. 5:14 shows that those who were rising to fall were previously saved. They had believed and received the true gospel (3:2; 1:9); were deserting God and turning to a false gospel (1:6); had received the Spirit of God (3:2,5) and were initially running a good spiritual life (5:7); etc. Compare this to Acts 14:21-23 which shows that the Galatians who became disciples were in the Christian faith and placed their trust in the Lord. Paul was not upset with the Galatians for that they had the nerve to obey the ten commandments, but because they believed circumcision (the ceremonial law) was necessary for salvation.
Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Gal. 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Hebr. 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
1 Kor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
2 Kor 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
Jona 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy (forfeit the grace that could be theirs NIV)
Apg 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 grace of God.
Hebr. 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Judas 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Sam 7:15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
Jer 16:5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.
Read the CONDITIONS stated below, and notice that being humble is one of the requirements
We cannot boast of grace because it appears before all men. Grace is a teacher that will instruct the humble to deny themselves and all sins. The grace of God appeared to all men, but only the humble receive of it.
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the HUMBLE.
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 grace to the HUMBLE.
Prov. 3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the LOWLY.
Deut. 5 Mos 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS to a thousand generations;
2 King 8:23 And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that WALK BEFORE THEE with all their heart:
2 Chron. 30:9 For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, IF YE RETURN unto him.
Neh 1:5 And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that LOVE HIM AND OBSERVE HIS COMMANDMENTS
Ps 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that FEAR HIM, and his righteousness unto children’s children;
Jer 3:12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, RETURN, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.
Amos 5:15 HATE THE EVIL, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.
Either we can work ourselves up to a point of salvation OR we are saved by God’s grace and mercy. It’s one or the other. Since none of us have obeyed the law perfectly, we are saved by grace. But does the fact that God cleanses us from our sins mean it’s ok for us to continue in sin? Of course not. Then we would be defiled and unrighteous yet again.
Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
We are to be merciful the way our Father is merciful, but if he is only merciful to SOME (the elect), wouldn’t this mean that we too can choose to be merciful to SOME people? The Bible says that Jesus died for all of us and we should always be prepared to be merciful to our neighbors. This doesn’t mean we should throw pearls to swine because we too can set up conditions. God has mercy on who he will have mercy, but this should not be interpreted as though he does this unconditionally or arbitrarily. God can set up his own rules, and if God decides to show mercy on whoever believes in him and love him, he is entitled to enforce this rule. He can also decide to show NO mercy to an individual who shows no mercy himself.
Romans 9:18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.