Learning About Grace
You gotta love Google. An entire world of information is right at your fingertips. I've always believed that a person doesn't need to know everything, they just need to know where to go to get the answers they need. As much as the Internet and Google are tools for that endeavor, I think sometimes it just makes it a bit more confusing. In my case... I realize I still have a lot to learn and understand about grace. There are so many different opinions.
Many understand that grace is unmerited favor, and that is true. Grace, however, is much more than unmerited favor. Grace comes from the Lord and is simply the God-given desire and the power to do God's will.
Grace is God's unmerited favor. It is kindness from God we don't deserve. There is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor. It is a gift from God.
Grace is divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration (rebirth) or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine favor.
Then I went on to read that there are two different kinds of grace.
Sanctifying grace stays in the soul. It’s what makes the soul holy; it gives the soul supernatural life. More properly, it is supernatural life. Actual grace, by contrast, is a supernatural push or encouragement. It’s transient. It doesn’t live in the soul, but acts on the soul from the outside, so to speak. It’s a supernatural kick in the pants. It gets the will and intellect moving so we can seek out and keep sanctifying grace.
Then I found arguments between the Protestants and Catholics.
Grace is perhaps the most misunderstood concept in Christianity. Both Protestant and Catholics often do not comprehend the full significance of this wonderful reality. Protestants usually define grace as "God's unmerited favor towards us in Christ". Though not incorrect, this definition is incomplete, for grace also includes the divine gifts which flow from this favor, such as our new life in Christ, God's indwelling Presence and the ability to bear spiritual fruit.
Can't we all just get along? This is CONFUSING! I think I know less than I did when I started this research. I finally quit looking around and went to the good, old Merriam Webster dictionary.
a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b: a virtue coming from God
c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
Well... at least I have a whole year in front of me to define Grace for myself. As of today, all I can say I know is that it is by the grace of God that I have the will, knowledge and ability to follow through on this committment. We'll figure it out together.