The word “grace” is a translation of the Hebrew chanan and of the Greek charis. According to Scripture it is manifested not only by God, but also by men, and then denotes the favour which one man shows another, (Gen. 33:8,10,18; 39:4; 47:25; Ruth 2:2; I Sam. 1:18; 16:22). In such cases it is not necessarily implied that the favour is undeserved. In general it can be said, however, that grace is the free bestowal of kindness on one who has no claim to it.
This is particularly the case where the grace referred to is the grace of God. His love to man is always unmerited, and when shown to sinners, is even forfeited. The Bible generally uses the word to denote the unmerited goodness or love of God to those who have forfeited it, and are by nature under a sentence of condemnation. The grace of God is the source of all spiritual blessings that are bestowed upon sinners (Ephesians 1:6,7; 2:7-9; Tit. 2:11; 3:4-7).
While the Bible often speaks of the grace of God as saving grace, it also makes mention of it in a broader sense, as in Isa. 26:10; Jer. 16:13. The grace of God is of the greatest practical significance for sinful men. It was by grace that the way of redemption was opened for them, Rom. 3:24; II Cor. 8:9, and that the message of redemption went out into the world, Acts 14:3.
By grace sinners receive the gift of God in Jesus Christ, Acts 18:27; Eph. 2:8. By grace they are justified, Rom. 3:24; 4:16; Tit. 3:7, they are enriched with spiritual blessings, John 1:16; 2 Cor. 8:9; 2 Thess. 2:16, and they finally inherit salvation, Eph. 2:8; Tit. 2:11. Seeing they have absolutely no merits of their own, they are altogether dependent on the grace of God in Christ.
Liberal theology, with its belief in the inherent goodness of man and his ability to help himself is now making a comeback. For the doctrine of salvation by grace has practically become an insult, for it shows that man is innately spiritually dead – unable to ever come to God. The word “grace” is also emptied of all spiritual meaning and vanished from religious discourses. It is retained only in the sense of “graciousness,” something that is quite external.