© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Biblical usage of the word "grace"

    A. Hebrew word hen - "favor, mercy, kindness, graciousness"
        1. Derived from hanan - "to favor, to grant mercy"
        2. Biblical examples
            a. Gen. 6:8; 19:19; 32:5; 47:29
            b. Exod. 33:12,13
            c. Ruth 2:10
    B. Hebrew word hesed - "loving-kindness, mercy, pity"
        1. Derived from hasad - "to be good, kind"
        2. Biblical examples
            a. Ps. 25:6; 107:43
            b. Isa. 63:7
    C. Greek word charis - "grace"
        1. Derived from char - "well-being, pleasant, delightful"
        2. This word is invested with new meaning in the new covenant.
            a. Conveys idea of personal relationship of love and generosity
            b. Unique activity of God in Jesus Christ - Christocentric
                (1). John 1:17 - "grace realized through Jesus Christ"
                (2). Acts 15:11 - "grace of the Lord Jesus Christ"
                (3). II Tim. 2:1 - "grace that is in Christ Jesus"
        3. Common definitions too general
            a. "undeserved favor of God"
            b. "God's activity consistent with His character"

II. Contrasting Law and Grace

    A. Law served as instrument to reveal character of God, whereas grace is essential dynamic of
         God's revealing Himself in Jesus Christ.
    B. Law was a legal instrument demanding performance, works, and obedience (Rom. 2:14,25;
         Gal. 3:10; 5:3), whereas grace is God's activity in Jesus Christ responded to only by the
         receptivity of faith (Rom. 9:32; 11:6.
    C. Law could not impart life (Jn. 5:39,40; Gal. 3:21) or righteousness (Rom. 3:20,28; 10:4; Gal.         2:16,21; 3:11), whereas grace imparts the life (Jn. 1:4; 11:25; 14:6; Rom. 5:21; Col. 3:4; I Peter         3:7; I Jn. 5:12) and righteousness (I Cor. 1:30; II Cor. 5:12; I Jn. 2:1) of Jesus Christ.
    D. Law had no provisional dynamic of divine enabling, whereas grace is the divine dynamic of
         God's enabling power in Jesus Christ.
    E. Law was a means to an end, whereas grace is the objective that God had for man's restoration
         in Jesus Christ.
    F. Law had a termination (Rom. 10:4), whereas there is no end to God's grace in Jesus Christ.

III. Content of Grace.

    A. Grace should not be conceived as a separate entity, substance, process, force, principle or
    B. Grace is the dynamic of God's activity in Jesus Christ.
        1. Grace is personal.
        2. Grace is not quantitative, but is qualitative.
        3. Grace is embodied in Jesus Christ.
        4. Grace is the dynamic of the resurrection-life of Jesus - Rom. 1:4; 4:25; 5:2; Phil. 3:10).
        5. Grace is the activity of the Holy Spirit - Heb. 10:29

IV. Condition of Grace.

    A. Grace is unconditioned and unconditional. The activity of God is not contingent on man's
    B. Faith is the human condition of response to God's grace in Jesus Christ.
        1. Faith is not the act of God - Eph. 2:8; Gal. 2:20
        2. Faith is not a "work" of man.
        3. Faith is man's receptivity of God's grace - Rom. 4:16; Eph. 2:8,9
    C. God's grace can be resisted - I Cor. 15:10; II Cor. 6:1;Gal. 5:4; Heb. 12:15
    D. Grace grates against man's selfish propensity of self-confidence.

V. Complements of Grace.

    A. God's grace is always complete and not partitive; no "measure of grace"
    B. All that is Christian is enacted by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
        1. Saving grace - Acts 15:11; Eph. 2:5,8; II Tim. 1:9
        2. Justifying grace - Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7
        3. Sanctifying grace - Acts 13:43; II Cor. 1:12; 9:8; 12:9; Titus 2:11,12; I Peter 5:10; II Peter             3:18
        4. Future grace - I Peter 1:13
    C. Grace is what distinguishes Christianity from all man-made religion.



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