Strong’s Dictionary of New Testament Words defines the Greek word translated grace as, “The merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases  them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues”.

Hmm. So grace is “God’s holy influence upon souls”. I’d always thought of grace as a mostly one-sided thing, something offered from God to us and received by us humbly and with gratitude. But the Greek word implies a far more powerful and interactive process – the whole process of grace as the influence of God working in us to change us. It implies steadiness – “keeps, strengthens”, progression – “increases them in faith”, and specific results in souls – “kindles them to exercise of virtues”.

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