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What is grace?

Grace is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

“Unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification

I believe the first instance of such grace is seen in the book of Genesis,

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

 Genesis 3:21

Why was this act of God a reflection of grace?  Previously, Adam and Eve had clothed their shame with fig leaves, but God gave them coats made of skins.  Where did the skins come from?  The skins came from some kind of animal that much is for certain.  It would make sense that God gave Adam and Eve lamb or goat skins to wear from the first sacrifice made for their sin.

God was very specific about the punishment for eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  God said,

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Genesis 2:17

God covered our shame

So by rights God should have slain both Adam and Eve according to His own law.  However, instead of death God gave mankind skins to clothe their sin and shame.  Adam and His wife had no excuse and deserved to die yet God gave them both divine assistance for their regeneration and sanctification.  In other words, though they did not deserve it God gave them grace and provisionally forgave their sin through the first blood sacrifice.

Why did God give Adam and Eve grace?  First of all, God loved them dearly and did not want to see his son or his wife die.  Moreover, God knew that it was Satan who had tempted Eve and that had not the Devil deceived the woman all this would not have happened.  So grace has to do with love and understanding.

Sometimes people can do things that seem, on the surface, very wrong.  They can be deserving of rejection and really have no excuse to justify their behavior.  However, because of love and the understanding of their circumstances grace is given, they are forgiven, and relationship is restored.

We all need a bit of grace

We are all in need of such grace and it is an awesome thing to know that we serve a God who has been full of grace from the very beginning.  It is because of grace that mankind has even survived beyond the garden.  It is because of grace that God asked His only begotten son to die in our stead so that we might be restored to fellowship with Him.  The Bible states in the book of Romans that,

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

 Romans 3:23


“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”

 Romans 3:10

We would all be condemned men and women if it were not for the grace of God through Jesus Christ. In the book of John we read,

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

 John 1:14

We all stumble in unbelief from time to time and fail God in many ways, but through His grace we find forgiveness and acceptance every time we turn from our error and ask for His forgiveness.  As it is written,

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 1 John 1:19

God desires that we realize how we have gone astray and ask for forgiveness.  Our repentance must be accompanied with the willingness to come back to His path by turning from our own.  Usually this involves an about face from the direction we are currently heading that displeases our Lord.  If we do this, God promises that we will be cleansed from all unrighteousness.

Everything God does has purpose

When God made the original sin sacrifice that allowed Adam and Eve to be clothed with coats of skins He did so knowing that His only begotten son would have to suffer the death of the crucifix to complete the payment. The blood of animals could not take away our sin but only delay punishment until the true Lamb of God could exchange His life for ours. Can you imagine how God must have felt as He handed the coats to Adam and Eve?  The act of giving them those coats of grace meant that His only begotten son would die in their stead.  Can we not help but love and adore such a God as that?

In conclusion, I believe that grace is what God wants from us towards those who perhaps sin against us either in reality or imagined.  One of the most fundamental attributes of our Father is grace. If we wish to be made into His image and likeness we must be willing to be, like Him, full of grace too.

Read “The First Law.”

Suggested book: “Hudson Taylor (men of Faith)” by J. Hudson Taylor