Sometimes a word can become so familiar to us that we forget its actual meaning.
Or the depth of its meaning.
Grace is not just a little singsong ditty we teach our children to say before meals. Or even the prayer of an eloquent adult. As a matter of fact, you have to go all the way down to definition #19 in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary to find that definition of Grace. However, if you look at the first few definitions that Mr. Webster assigned to his entry for Grace, it’s a rather meaning-full word:
1. Favor; goodwill; kindess
2. Appropriately, the free and unmerited favor of God,
the spring and source of all the
benefits men recieve from Him.
3. Favorable influence of God;
divine influence or the influence of the Spirit
in renewing the heart and restraining from sin.
4. The application of Christ’s righteousness
to the sinner.
5. A state of reconciliation to God.
I was speaking to a customer at our last show while I was working on this papercutting. Her church had been doing an extensive study on Grace, and she commented on how we need to relearn the meaning of words like Grace from time to time. It seems nearly everywhere you look… on blogs, in bookstores, in artwork, in sermons… Grace is a popular theme, and people are getting excited about it as it begins to take on more significant meaning in their lives.
About two hundred years ago, a man named John Newton discovered the real, true meaning of Grace. Having been the captain of a slave ship, Newton experienced a spiritual conversion and soon gave up his career on the sea to follow the Lord. Convicted by his past, he penned the words to probably our most well-known hymn…
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Grace… It’s free.
All we have to do is accept it.