What is Grace?
Grace is a constant theme in the Bible, and it culminates in the New Testament with the coming of Jesus (John 1:17). Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Grace is God choosing to bless us rather than curse us as our sins deserves. It is God’s benevolence to the undeserving. “For it is by grace that we are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). The only way we can enter into a relationship with God is because of His grace toward us.
The Dispensation of Grace
We are currently living under the Dispensation of Grace. It began with the New Covenant in Christ’s blood (Luke 22:20). This Age of Grace occurs between the 69th and 70th week foretold of in Daniel 9:24. It started with the death of Christ and ends with the Rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4). It is worldwide and includes both Jew and Gentiles. Man’s responsibility during the Dispensation of Grace is to believe in Jesus, the Son of God (John 3:18). In this dispensation the Holy Spirit indwells believers as the Comforter (John 14:16-26). This dispensation has lasted for over 2,000 years, and no one knows when it will end. We do know that it will end with the rapture of all born-again believers from the earth to go to heaven with Christ. Following by the Rapture will be the judgments of God lasting for seven years.
What is the New Covenant?
The New Covenant is a covenant made first with the nation of Israel and ultimately, with all mankind. The new covenant is spoken about first in the book of Jeremiah (31:31-34). The old covenant that God had established with His people required obedience to the OT Mosaic law. Because the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), the law required that people perform rituals and sacrifices in order to please God and remain in His grace. The prophet Jeremiah predicted that there would be a time when God would make a covenant with the nation of Israel.
“The day will come,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah… But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,’ says the Lord. ‘I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jere. 31:31,33).
Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Law of Moses (Matt. 5:17), and to create a new covenant between God and His people. God promises to forgive sin, and there will be a universal knowledge of the Lord. The old covenant was written in stone, but the new covenant is written on our hearts, made possible only by faith in Christ, who shed His own blood to atone for the sins of the world.
“After supper, (Jesus) took the cup of wine and said, “This wine is the token of God’s new covenant to save you – an agreement sealed with the blood I will pour out for you” (Luke 22:20).
Now that we are under the new covenant, we are not under the penalty of the law. We are now given the opportunity to receive salvation as a free gift (Eph. 2:8-9). Through the life-giving Holy Spirit who lives in all believers (Rom. 8:9-11), we can now share in the inheritance of Christ and enjoy a permanent, unbroken relationship with God. Hebrews 9:15 declares, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”
Be blessed and walk in God’s infinite love and grace!
(Source: Got Questions.Org / Photo Credit: Radikal Arts)