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 The Cross of Freedom


There are 161 references to Grace in the bible, 38 in the Old Testament and 123 in the New Testament.  The Old Testament usually uses words to the effect of “Grace in Thy sight” or “Grace in Thine eyes”.  Two exceptions that seem to refer to the lips, or the passing on of information, follow:

  • Psalms 45:2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
  • Proverbs 22:11-12 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.  The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.

Two New Testament verses hint that the meaning of Grace is expanded, and that the door to grace is opened wider for us, with the coming of Jesus:

  •  John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
  • 2cor 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.

Many New Testament verses talk about Grace as if it were Divine wisdom. Here are some examples:

  • 1cor 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
  • 2cor 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 grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
  • 2cor 8:19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind.
  • James 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
  • Eph 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 grace unto the hearers.

Before Jesus, the source of all knowledge of God and His creation were the Scriptures. When Jesus came, he left us a whole new perspective on grace and salvation, and a brighter and clearer view of our relationship with Him and His Father.  Jesus became to His disciples – and all others who listened to his teachings - a source of knowledge of His Father and our future with him that surpassed anything written in the scriptures.  Jesus continues to speak to us, if we listen for him.  Even now, He invites us to go to him for wisdom and a better understanding of creation and our place in it.

I believe that this is the expanded meaning of grace that Jesus brought to earth and left with us as part of His continuing presence in our lives.  It's like the seeds for grace were planted in the old testement and then blossomed into unbounded beauty through Jesus.  I read somewhere that Hebrew for grace is 'Chen'.  Hebrew is often written without vowels.  I saw this once when I was able to view the Dead Sea Scrolls and noticed, for example, that Yahweh was written YHWH.  What I've read indicates that 'Chen' is actually written 'HN'.  According to the Hebrew web sites I've visited, HN stands for Hochmah Nistarah, which in Hebrew means “hidden wisdom”.  We’ve probably all heard the phrase “but for the Grace of God go I”.  Sometimes this grace is Jesus whispering in our ear, leading us out of trouble.  Each time Jesus whispers in our ear, He is passing on a personal message from Him to us, His “hidden wisdom” - part of the personal relationship He wants with each of us.  Like any personal relationship, effort is required on both sides.  While God showers His grace on us, we should endeavor to increase the depth of our relationship with Him.  Just as an athlete or dancer becomes more graceful in their particular discipline through study, practice, and devotion, we become more graceful in the Lord the same way.

Grace is a very powerful word, likely with meanings beyond our human understanding. What we do know is that it is a gift, and that it is key to a healthy relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Other References to Grace in the scriptures:

  • Of form or person (Proverbs 1:9; 3:22; Psalms 45:2).
  • Favour, kindness, friendship (Genesis 6:8; 18:3; 19:19; 2Tim 1:9).
  • God's forgiving mercy (Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:5).
  • The gospel as distinguished from the law (John 1:17; Romans 6:14; 1 Peter 5:12).
  • Gifts freely bestowed by God; as miracles, prophecy, tongues (Romans 15:15; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 3:8).
  • Christian virtues (2 Corinthians 8:7; 2 Peter 3:18). ·
  • The glory hereafter to be revealed (1 Peter 1:13).

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