All these words are in a logical and theological order. In Greek, they all belong to the same family of words (charis-charisma-chara-eucharisteo).
God is the author and the source of grace. Grace is the best thing that ever happened to man. Without grace we are condemned and lost in God’s divine court.
Grace is not a theory, a myth, or a beautiful idea. Grace is God’s favor for the lost. This divine favor is materialized in God becoming man, in the incarnation that we celebrate year after year on Christmas. Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of grace.
The grace of God gives the condemned man what he does not deserve – eternal forgiveness and endless life – and does not give man what he deserves – eternal damnation and destruction. To be in God’s grace is to be right with God and to live a free life, free from sin that the law of God condemns and from which it cannot save you.
Grace saves. The law condemns.
Grace takes you out of all sin’s debts. The law shows the eternal debts that man has before God.
Grace has the power to change the man. The law is powerless in changing anybody.
Grace is amazing. The law is frightening.
The law shows you what only grace can do, but from God are both law and grace.
Everybody loves gifts. Gifts are free, like grace. Grace doesn’t cost you anything, but it cost God all He had.
God loves to give gifts to His children. The spiritual gifts that He gives are indispensable in God’s economy. All the people of God have received spiritual gifts from Him. Throughout church history these gifts have been a controversial subject. The purpose of this article is not that of elucidating and clarifying each spiritual gift; it is not that of becoming a referee between Christians who do believe in miraculous gifts and those who don’t. The truth about gifts is that they always come because of grace. There are no gifts from God without grace. We cannot work for them, cannot bribe God for them, cannot choose them, pay for them, or insist so much in prayer before God hoping to incline His will to give them to you. The grace of God brings the gifts of God.
Sin took away everything we had, robbing us of godliness. Grace gave us everything we needed. The spiritual gifts are all we need. We cannot neglect them. Living the life based on the spiritual gifts brings fulfillment and places us in the center of God’s will. If a Christian has everything he wants, but he is not using his spiritual gifts, he will always be frustrated, stressed, and envious. Spiritual gifts are the real thing in life.
Gifts bring joy in the house. Every house where you can find presents, you will find joy too. The lack of joy is either because we neglect our gifts or because we try to “steal” somebody’s gift. The spiritual thieves always try to violate God’s sovereignty over gifts. They are not enjoying what God gave them, they want what others have.
Christian life is abundant joy. When joy is missing, something is not right. Actually, joy is the objective and accurate way of testing your spiritual gifts. Stop imitating others’ gifts. Start rejoicing for the gifts you received from God.
Joyful people never forget to say, “Thank you.” Gratitude is a sign that you enjoy what you got.
More than ever before, gratitude is a missing mark of our generation. We are dissatisfied with what we have.
Gratitude is the sign that you understand grace. Grace cannot leave you in a state of ingratitude. People who do not capture the idea of grace are people dissatisfied with what they have, with their accomplishments. They always want more, no matter if it is money, physical pleasure, success, or influence.
But once you taste grace, you want more of Christ. In grace there is a continual gratitude, a peace that surpasses understanding. Grace gives you rest from all the things that exhaust you and never fulfill you. When you live by grace, gratitude for heaven is there because heaven is real for you; it is not just a wish, as the people in my country of Romania say, “I wish I can get to heaven,” “I wish I was saved, but have I done everything to deserve that?” Christ has done everything. The believer’s attitude cannot be but continuous gratitude.
The meaning and the order of these four words should capture our attention because they speak about what is essential in life, and we do not want to miss that. Where grace abounds, gratitude follows unceasingly.