What is grace?

The World English Dictionary defines it as:

elegance and beauty of movement, form, expression, or proportion; a pleasing or charming quality; goodwill or favour; the granting of a favour of the manifestation of goodwill, especially by a superior; sense of propriety and consideration for others

And if you look further, they give a definition applicable to Christianity:

the free and unmerited favour of God shown towards man; the divine assistance and power given to man in spiritual rebirth and sanctification; the condition of being favoured or sanctified by God; an unmerited gift, favour, etc., granted by God.

The definition I’ve always known for grace  is that of unmerited favor. Favor which we are totally undeserving of, that we have done nothing to gain. Which is totally true. Grace is unmerited favor…but this morning when I looked up the meaning of grace in Romans 6:15 this morning I found a totally new meaning.

Strong’s Concordance defines grace as:

the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.

My understanding of grace is changing. My understanding of death to sin is changing…for this is what

Romans 6:15 says to me, today.

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the condemnation of the law,

but under the divine influence of God upon our hearts?

God forbid.

God is to be reflected in our lives.

Man, who has defaced the image of God in his soul by a corrupt life, cannot, by mere human effort, effect a radical change in himself. He must accept the provisions of the gospel; he must be reconciled to God through obedience to His law and faith in Jesus Christ. His life from thenceforth must be governed by a new principle. . . . He must face the mirror, God’s law, discern the defects in his moral character, and put away his sins, washing his robe of character in the blood of the Lamb. . . .

It is not the work of the gospel to weaken the claims of God’s holy law, but to bring men up where they can keep its precepts.  {AG 144}

 But the influence of a gospel hope will not lead the sinner to look upon the salvation of Christ as a matter of free grace, while he continues to live in transgression of the law of God. When the light of truth dawns upon his mind and he fully understands the requirements of God and realizes the extent of his transgressions, he will reform his ways, become loyal to God through the strength obtained from his Saviour, and lead a new and purer life.  {4T 295.1}