What is Grace?

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Cassiopeia

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Yes, positive things. A good example is the story of the prodigal son. He abandoned and dishonored his father and squandered his inheritance and returned to beg his father to be his servant.

Justice would have been if his father had turned him away.

Mercy would have been if his father had hired him as a servant.

Grace was when the father ran to meet him, put his best robe on him, and killed the fatted calf and reinstated him as his son.
Oh this is one of my favorite stories. It's so real to me. Max Lucado writes beautifully in the retelling of it.

He recounts for us the conversation between the faithful son who stayed and his father. The son is bitter and complains that his father shouldn't do this for his brother. (I'm paraphrasing) And the father speaks to him with such wisdom and in essense says to him, "Be at peace for everything I have is yours, but let's rejoice because your brother who was lost to us is now returned."

Perhaps grace is wisdom too. The father was so grateful that despite what his younger son had done, he had finally come home to him. Grace isn't just something extended to us by God, we too can extend it to our loved ones.
 

Alpha Echo

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Grace isn't just something extended to us by God, we too can extend it to our loved ones.

And in fact, we should. If we are to love as God commands us and as Jesus says is the most important commandment, then we should try to emulate (sp?) Jesus' love by extending grace, mercy, and forgiveness as he did.
 

Guffy

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James, in saying that we do not deserve grace does not diminish God's love for us it increases it. The ultimate proof of God's love was the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. God does not treat us as we deserve he treats us as if we are perfect, as we do to our children when we forgive them. We understand when our children are less than perfect because we have been in their shoes and we know what its like, and we love them. But more than just love (the feeling) we also want whats best for them, (the love that God has for us). Sometimes these two ideas conflict. (discipline).
 

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Does Grace exist as a meaningful concept, then, without first accepting the notion of original sin?
 

Cassiopeia

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Does Grace exist as a meaningful concept, then, without first accepting the notion of original sin?
Latter-day Saints don't believe in original sin but do believe in grace so I'd say it can.

I think one can even believe in the concept of grace and not attach it to sin. My reasoning for this is that as a parent, I bless my children out of love for them even though they disobey me.

Is grace forgiveness? Blessing? Peace?
 

aruna

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Endless love.



AMC

Does Grace exist as a meaningful concept, then, without first accepting the notion of original sin?

Well, this is the "comparative religion" forum so let's look at a Hindu interpretation of sin, original sin, and Grace.

"Original Sin" of course does not exist for Hindus in the sense that
each soul is born in sin as a result of Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Yet they do have a concept of "original sin": that being the original splitting off of the soul (not quite the right word, but the nearest thing I can find) from God, which is its source and its foundation.

In the act of splitting off we separate, and then identify with that false sense of separation, separation from God and one from the other; and that false identification is the actual "original sin". But Hindus refer to speak of ignorance rather than sin: ignorance of our true being, which is divine.

Ignorance is thus the cause of all wrongdoing; wrongdoing comes from selfishness, and that's from the sense of separation. When the sense of separation subsides we can only feel love for all beings, for we feel our oneness with all beings. Where there is love there can be no sin.

Vedantists believe that the mind, normaly envelopped in a thick blanket of thought, must turn back to its own source until it becomes purified and at one with its source. This requires great effort, for by nature the mind seeks fulfillment in thousands of ways away from its source.

Grace, for Hindus, is a sudden, overwhelming breakthrough of that source through the curtain of ignorance in which the mind is enveloped. It can come about through single-minded devotion, through huge effort. It can also come about as a spontaneous gift, a flow of overwhelming love and joy, completely undeserved in the usual sense of the word.

However, there is no such thing as "undeserved" in Hinduism, since we are all not originally sinful, but originally in a state of grace, which is pure happiness. Grace would be simply a return to that pure happiness, a natural thing, really, if not for our ingrained habits of mind.

It's very hard for me to find the right words to describe all this, so forgive my awkward wording.

So, to answer Mac's question, in Hinduism Grace CAN and DOES exist apart from "original sin". Grace is our very birthright!
 
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James81

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James, in saying that we do not deserve grace does not diminish God's love for us it increases it. The ultimate proof of God's love was the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. God does not treat us as we deserve he treats us as if we are perfect, as we do to our children when we forgive them. We understand when our children are less than perfect because we have been in their shoes and we know what its like, and we love them. But more than just love (the feeling) we also want whats best for them, (the love that God has for us). Sometimes these two ideas conflict. (discipline).

How often do your children look up at you and say "I don't deserve your love" though?

I think it's so damaging to us to say things like "we don't deserve it" and "we are filthy grimy sinners." But I'm looking at it from a psychological aspect moreso than a religious aspect.
 

Guffy

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I've heard this filthy grimy thing a lot but I don't ascribe to it. I do realize that any sin I commit no mater how small against God makes me unfit to be with him since God can not tolerate sin. What not deserving God's grace means to me, is that there is nothing I can do to that will keep God from offering it to me. When I accept God's grace he forgets about my sin and makes me completely clean, or to use a biblical term holy. God makes me holy and because his grace is continual I am continually being made holy, even though I'm not perfect.

When our children are born they have done nothing to deserve our love and yet we love them, and we would do anything to protect and nurture them, including somethings that others might think where evil.

When your trying to do what's best for millions of children there are bond to be a few that do not understand.
 
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