Jesus in one word – Grace

Jesus in one word – Grace

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV

Sometimes dictionaries can only get you so far.

As a child, I spent more time reading dictionaries and encyclopedia than I did novels. Nobody knew this at the time but that was a sign of me having Asperger’s Syndrome, something that could not be diagnosed until I was an adult.

Looking at the word grace is sometimes like this. The definition comes up in a dry, logical manner, which seems at odds with the vibrancy of the passage above. The word speaks of a relationship, and there is a lightness, a bounce, an almost poetic ring to the way it comes across that looking at the definition of the words cannot convey.

The word grace shows that something is free, without price available, we only have to accept it; but other than that it is little help because it does not say what it is that is free, what it is that we can receive.

The definition of the Greek word translated grace, charis (χάρις) is difficult if you come at it from a linguistic direction. For all the words written on one of the most famous passages in the Bible here and in Romans 16:24, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all,” what you end up with is “parsing data not available.” What was Paul was saying in the summing up of these two letters? We do not really know, not coming at it from linguistics anyway. Also, Romans 16:24 is missing from the oldest Greek manuscripts, and is not found in modern Bible translations.

From a relational point of view, it makes more sense. Jesus offers us what he achieved in the whole of the incarnation through to the ascension combined. I find it hard to separate the consequences into separate events, and find attempts at incarnation or atonement theories, whilst helpful, to be incomplete in themselves, What Jesus achieves goes beyond human theories. It is this, all of this that he gives us free, all we have to do is receive it.

Grace and mercy are inseparable. Mercy, meany we do not get what we deserve, and grace,, meaning we get what we do not deserve. In the end, the old Jesus prayer becomes a song of love, rather than grovelling.

 ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’


An aside, the spell checker wanted to change the Greek word charis to chairs.

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