Grace – A Word Study
In Christianity, Christians are taught and believe they are “saved by Grace.” They like to define the word “Grace” as meaning “unmerited favor.” They have to define it this way because they believe they do not have to do anything to obtain salvation, therefore the Grace YaHuWaH might bestow on them would be unmerited; they didn’t earn it.
Meaning, they do not have to repent and obey the commandments. Knowing they are unworthy of salvation, if they choose not to repent and obey, then they have to obtain salvation through other means; “unmerited favor” from YaHuWaH. They believe Yahusha died for their sins. They themselves have to do nothing to earn YaHuWaH’s favor other than just believe this. They also are taught that the word Grace does not mean Mercy. Many of their preachers teach that the word Grace means some kind of God-given strength or power to overcome sin; although they do not believe they need to obey the commandments, thus carry on in sin. ??? None of this is true.
This study is not to deal with the fact Yahusha was not YaHuWaH’s son nor did he die for their sins, it is a study on Grace. We will start with the definitions of the word Grace. Nowhere is the word defined as “unmerited favor.”
Grace in the NT: G5485 – merciful kindness, favor. (Strong’s) Loving-kindness, goodwill. Kindness which bestows upon one what he has not deserved. (Note: One could assume this is where they get their idea of “unmerited favor,” though it is not defined anywhere that way.) (Thayer’s)
charis: grace, kindness
Original Word: χάρις, ιτος, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (khar’-ece)
Definition: grace, kindness
Usage: (a) grace, as a gift or blessing brought to man by Jesus Christ, (b) favor, (c) gratitude, thanks, (d) a favor, kindness.
Grace in Tanakh: H2580 – noun., favor. Find favor in the eyes of: God. (BDB) Favor, graciousness, kindness. (Strong’s)
chen: favor, grace
Original Word: חֵן
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Phonetic Spelling: (khane)
Definition: favor, grace
H2580 is from a root word H2603 – verb., be merciful, seek or show favor, be gracious. Usually in the bestowal of redemption from enemies, evils, or sins. (BDB) Mercy, gracious, fair, be merciful, show mercy, find or show favor. (Strong’s)
Original Word: חָנַן
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (khaw-nan’)
Definition: to show favor, be gracious
Mercy in Tanakh: H2617 – kindness, favor, loving-kindness, merciful kindness. (Strong’s) Goodness, kindness. Of God; loving-kindness, favor. In redemption from sin, in preservation of life from death, in quickening of spiritual life, in keeping the covenant (commandments). Loving-kindness to Israel (His people). (BDB)
Original Word: חֵסֵד
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Phonetic Spelling: (kheh’-sed)
Definition: goodness, kindness
We see from the above definitions that “Grace” is not defined as “unmerited favor.” We also see that the word Grace does in fact mean Mercy.
So first, let us look at this Grace thing from a Christian viewpoint. Christians believe they are born into this thing called “original sin.” You know the one; Chavvah ate the apple. And all mankind now is doomed without unmerited favor from YaHuWaH. Does YaHuWaH give unmerited favor to someone who is still a “sinner” so he will believe Yahusha died for his sins or does He give it after a person is “saved” by believing Yahusha died for his sins? I do not know. But if we look at this verse: Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Messiah – by favor you have been saved, ((by grace (unmerited favor) ye are saved)), it looks like it is the unmerited favor bestowed on someone that “saves” them. So, my question then would be, what do you make of this verse?
Acts 10:34 And opening his mouth, Kĕpha said, “Truly I see that Elohim shows no partiality”.
Why doesn’t YaHuWaH just give everybody “unmerited favor” so all can have salvation? If all are sinners, born into sin because of the original sin, and none can do anything about it on their own, why doesn’t YaHuWaH give everybody the “unmerited favor”? Sounds like a respecter of persons to me.
Now let us compare the two statements; one from Thayer’s trying to explain “unmerited favor” and the other from Brown, Driver, Briggs explaining the way YaHuWaH actually handles things.
Thayer’s: Kindness which bestows upon one what he has not deserved. Grace / mercy in the form of unmerited favor.
BDB: Usually in the bestowal of redemption from enemies, evils, or sins. Grace / mercy in the form of earned favor.
Redemption – H6304 – distinction, deliverance, division, ransom. (Strong’s)
Original Word: פְדוּת
Part of Speech: Noun Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (ped-ooth’)
Redemption is a ransom given when a distinction is made that determines someone is worthy to be redeemed or ransomed. How is that distinction made between people?
Psa 111:7-10 The works of His hands are truth and right-ruling, All His orders (COMMANDMENTS) are trustworthy, they are upheld FOREVER AND EVER, PERFORMED in truth and straightness. He sent REDEMPTION to His people; He has COMMANDED HIS COVENANT FOREVER. Set-apart and awesome is His Name. The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom, all those DOING them (COMMANDMENTS) have a good understanding. His praise is standing forever.
We see here that REDEMPTION is given to HIS PEOPLE. Who are His people? Those who DO the commandments.
Psa 130:7-8 O Yisra’ĕl, wait for יהוה; For with יהוה there is kindness (GRACE / MERCY). And with Him is much REDEMPTION, For He shall REDEEM Yisra’ĕl from all his crookednesses.
Who is Yisra’El? It is not the land mass in the middle east. Israel is His people. Again, what does that mean, His people? Those who DO the commandments. They will be redeemed.
Exo 20:3-6 You have no other mighty ones against My face. (No other “god” from a religion). You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth. You do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה your Elohim am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving-commitment (MERCY) to thousands, to those who love Me and guard (KEEP / DO) My commands.
YaHuWaH shows mercy / grace to those who keep His commandments, not to those who do not. There is no “unmerited favor.” It is explained quite clearly who receives His Grace / Mercy and why. IF you keep the commandments (HIS INSTRUCTIONS UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS) THEN you are His people and THEN you receive His Grace / Mercy. That is where the distinction is made for redemption; between those keeping the commandments and those who do not.
To conclude – For so many years we have heard that we are saved by grace alone. It is, however, quite the contrary!
Exo 33:12-13 And Mosheh said to יהוה, “See, You are saying to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not made known to me whom You would send with me, though You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in My eyes. And now, please, if I have found favor in Your eyes, please show me Your way, and let me know You, so that I find favor in Your eyes. And consider that this nation is Your people.”
Exodus 33:12–13, Grace (FAVOR). The mainstream church places a great deal of emphasis on the message of grace. The biblical doctrine of grace finds its roots in Exodus 33 in the Torah and not in the apostolic writings as the mainstream church teaches.
Contrary to what many in the church have been led to believe, the grace of Elohim is a very prominent theme in the Tanakh. Examples of this include Noah who found grace in YaHuWaH’s eyes (Gen 6:8), or the children of Yisra’El although dead in their sins in Egypt and deserving of YaHuWaH’s wrath, they were saved by the blood of the lamb. There are a number of other references to the grace of Elohim in the Tanakh as well (Gen 18:3; Exod 3:21; 33:16,17; 34:9; Ps 84:11; Zech 12:10).
Eph 2:8-10 For by favor you have been saved, through belief, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of Elohim, it is not by works, so that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah יהושע unto good works (HIS INSTRUCTIONS UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS), which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Torah without Grace is legalism
Grace without Torah is lawlessness
“For certain men have slipped in, whose judgment was written about long ago, wicked ones perverting the favor of our Elohim for indecency, and denying the only Master יהוה and our Master יהושע Messiah.” ~ Jude 1:4