The purpose for this paper is to provide historical background on Paul and grace. I will also provide how it is applied to modern times, how it has changed my life as well as my learning goals from this paper on Paul and grace.
Paul embraced God’s grace after his conversion and call and informed others about it. He expresses consistently how grace is the solitary reason that salvation is attained. Researches of articles of the subject as well as Paul’s epistles provide evidence of this. According to Paul, “by grace we are saved,” (Ephesians 2:8).
Historical Information About Paul on Grace: There is no doubt that Paul was chosen by God to be the vessel to communicate His good news to others. Cornelius R. Stam a writer for www.bereanbiblesociety.org points out that Paul has more to say about grace than any other writers of the Bible. Stam says, “The Hebrew equivalent of Paul’s word for grace is found only 68 times in the whole Old Testament (which is nearly twelve times the size of Paul’s epistles) and then not always relating to God’s grace, and never to the dispensation of Grace.” In the four Gospels (nearly twice the size of Paul’s epistles) the word grace (Gr. charis) with its derivatives appears in the original only 13 times. Furthermore, in Paul’s epistles the word grace is nearly always used in association with “the dispensation of the grace of God.” Paul wrote greatly concerning grace. Each epistle signed by Paul opens with an assertion of grace and peace “from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul’s epistles reveal that we are under grace rather than the law. In them we discover that we are “justified freely by [God’s] grace” (Rom. 3:24). He also informs us that “where sin abounded grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). Paul asserts that “God is able to make all grace abound” to us in order for us to “abound to every good work” (II Cor. 9:8).
“Grace” is used in the book of Acts 4 times before the raising up of Paul and 12 times afterwards. However, before his raising, the term was not used toward the dispensation of grace or toward salvation by grace. After his conversion is when the word is used often and toward the dispensation of grace and salvation by grace.
According to www.gracepoints.com, “Paul was the first to refer by divine inspiration to “the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward” (Eph. 3:2), and to “the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).” Before Paul, no one had ever mentioned the dispensation or the gospel of the grace of God.
Above all, Paul revealed the most important doctrine that concerns our salvation. And that is that “By grace we are saved” (Eph. 2:8). Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., asserts in an article that Paul’s definition of grace can be found on II Timothy 2:15 which says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that neededth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In other words, we are to divide the Gospel rightly so that there is no confusion among those we teach. Martin, expresses that “Paul was speaking of the fact that only a remnant of Israelites were then accepting Christ in the proper manner and he said this remnant was by the “election of grace”. Martin also asserts that from Paul he understood that salvation requires no works of a man. This seems strange at first, but it is until one reads II Timothy 1:9 that it makes sense. II Timothy 1:9 “Who [God] hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
”Paul is emphatic in stating that his ministry is a product of grace; he explains that his ministry is ‘according to the gift of grace which given to me according to the working of His power” Eph 3:7. The notion that Paul’s ministry is due to God’s grace is confirmed by his saying, ‘But I labored more than them all, and yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me”1 Cor 15:9-10,” www.embracehisgrace.com . In I Cor. 15:10 Paul says, “by the grace of God I am what I am.
As stated before, Paul had loads to say on the subject of grace. Paul acknowledged how important grace was especially concerning his salvation. He wished grace upon the recipients of his letters at the start of his epistles as a means of letting them know he was wishing or praying good health upon them (Rediscovering Paul An Introduction to His World, Letters and Theology pg. 58)All of his epistles are proof of that. They not only affected his time as they affect contemporary life as well. Application to Contemporary Life:
For Christians, Paul’s words on grace are applied in contemporary life as a reminder of how we are saved and just how good God is. The apostle Paul insists that salvation is given to us only by grace. For us to have perfect righteousness by our good works is impossible. It is Christ’s good works that count. According to www.askelm.com, “God gives us salvation by grace as a gift.” In his letter to Ephesus, Paul said, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast,” (Ephesians 2:8). The website also explains how grace and works are completely opposites. “Rewards come by the practice of works, but mercy comes by the application of grace.”
Grace is a wholesome gift that is freely given. God gives it to us constantly, especially when we deserve the total opposite. Conversely, the law is always associated with works and deeds. The breaking of law results in wages being paid—the wages of death (Romans 6:32). As Paul said, “the law entered, that the offence [sin] might abound, but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). No matter how much believers mess up, God’s grace frees them from its severe penalties. No matter the good deed people try to do to make things better, it is ultimately His grace that overrides it all. Knowing this relieves burdens on the numerous Christians that consistently do wrong. It is knowing how gracious God is that informs them that everything will be okay as He is in control. Christ places salvation at our reach. It is up to us to walk by faith and grab it. Christ did what no man can do and that is maintain a perfect record of righteousness. Therefore, the Father put Christ as the substitute to account for everyone’s righteousness. He paid the debt of all to God which is why all inherit grace from Him. Once again, to Paul, salvation is exclusively from grace.
“But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made UNTO US wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption,” (I Cor. 1:30) Through the acceptance of Christ and being in Him, God has made us to be in perfect wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. He wiped the slate clean that all generations from back then to contemporary times may receive the kingdom of Heaven.
According to searchingforgrace.com, Paul went to extreme measures to highlight just how significant and devastating this false teaching was, going so far as to say that it was actually disabling the grace empowered life within them. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery,” (Galatians 5:1-2). This is a reminder as those of today read the Bible of how gracious God is. Specific behaviors, values, or preferences your research has brought you personally:
Researching this topic has been a constant reminder of just how amazing God is. Without Him there is no me. Just because we are saved by His grace is no excuse to sin it up just for the fun it. Appreciating God’s grace is the best thing I can do along with do what is right to the best of my ability. There is always room to improve in my life but God’s grace lets me know that He still loves me no matter what. With Him on my side through His grace I know that I can overcome it all. Paul showed how much he valued and appreciated grace as he constantly talked about it and spread the Word to others. God was gracious enough to change Paul’s life for the better and allow him to inform others of the Gospel. He has certainly done the same for me. This is why I do my best to share the Gospel with others as much as I can. Paul reminds me that by His grace I am saved!
Personal Learning Goals from Research: My personal goals from this research paper would be to keep the faith and always remember how gracious God is. I must embrace what I’ve learned more. In all that I do I must remember to keep Him first above anyone else. Finally, I must continue to inform others of the Gospel and His grace. Conclusion:
In closing, Paul made it clear how valuable God’s grace is. He shared the news with everyone he could. His epistles have served as a constant reminder of this. Knowing of God’s grace and believing in it has changed my life! I can now share the news with others. May it continue to bless others as it has blessed me.