OK. So maybe you're still saying to yourself, "Well, that sounds just great! But I still don't exactly understand what grace is, let alone how I get it!" How about some official definitions? Merriam-Webster says it's "unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification" or "approval [or] favor". Dictionary.com says it's "1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action. 2. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment. 3. favor or good will." Strong's concordance defines the Greek word "charis" as "1) grace 1a) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech 2) good will, loving-kindness, favour."
There. Does that help? Not really? Turns out that defining grace is a little bit like defining love. We pretty much know what it is, but putting it into words is really, really hard. I really hope I'm not declaring something not true here, but this is how I understand it...
The way a mother feels about her baby when it is born and snuggling in her arms would probably be described as love. But everything that mom does for that baby is GRACE. One of the keys is that GRACE IS NOT EARNED. It might not even be logical! Mercy is when punishment deserved is withheld. Grace is everything given even though it isn't deserved or earned or merited.
Everybody loves chocolate. But I happen to also love CARAMEL. MMmmmm.... Especially when you start talking about Mrs. Richardson's butterscotch caramel. Give me some ice cream with Mrs. R's on it or some of my Grandma Krause's cheesecake and I'll be a happy, happy camper. (Ooh! Or put some of the caramel ON the cheesecake!) (You'd think I was fasting from sweets or something...) Anyway, I do have a point. If you asked me to choose between my Grandma's cheesecake and a bowl of tapioca pudding, there would be no question what I'd choose. (The cheesecake!) BECAUSE I highly favor the cheesecake!
Now. Did the cheesecake or caramel do anything to earn my favor? No. I just love them. : ) And God just loves you. He loves everyone. We're all His favorites! : ) So just like I would take care of a cheesecake put in my care, He takes care of us because He not only loves us, but He even likes us! He can't help it! And everything He does for us because of His love for us is GRACE. I think Grace is His love in action. Grace is what love does.
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen." (Philippians 4:23)
And amen. : )