Love that Stoops is Grace

What exactly is grace?

You may be surprised to know that Jesus never used the word ‘grace’ itself. He just taught it; equally important, He lived it.

Furthermore, the Bible never gives us a one-statement definition of grace, though grace appears throughout its pages. There are numerous demonstrations of ‘grace.’

First, I would like to turn your attention to understanding what grace means by going back to an old Hebrew term that meant “to bend, to stoop.” The word 'grace' literally means 'favour'. In Hebrew it is ‘CHEN’ from a root word ‘CHANAN’ – meaning “to bend or stoop in kindness to another as a superior to an inferior” (Strong’s 2603)

By and by, it came to include the idea of “condescending favor.” What is that? Well, if you have traveled to London, you have perhaps seen royalty. If so, you may have noticed sophistication, aloofness, distance. On occasion, royalty in England will make the news because someone in the ranks of nobility will stop, kneel down, and touch or bless a commoner. That is grace. There is nothing in the commoner that deserves being noticed or touched or blessed by the royal family. But because of grace in the heart of the queen, there is the desire at that moment to pause, to stoop, to touch, even to bless. The late pastor and Bible scholar Donald Barnhouse perhaps said it best: “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops, is grace.”

To express grace is to … extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it.

Receiving God’s acceptance by His ‘grace” always stands in sharp contrast with ‘earning it’ on the basis of good works.

Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. Paul writes:

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5 (KJV)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.(Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

In no way is the recipient of grace getting what he or she deserves. Grace is Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver. No wonder John begins with the declaration of who Jesus is. Jesus is the Creator God come to earth in the flesh of man to deliver us from our sin and death. We certainly did nothing to deserve this gift. However, He offered Himself willingly to unite us with Him forever!

This causes me to rejoice!

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:17 (KJV)

Is grace limited to Jesus’ life and ministry? No! Since He lives in the human spirit of every genuine believer, He moves within us to also extend His grace to others. Just as nothing was required of us before we received His freely extended grace, we thus require nothing of those in our lives who don’t deserve and can’t earn favor.