“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
Grace is one of those words we use a lot in Christian circles, but have lost an accurate understanding of what it really means.
We often treat “grace” as a synonym for mercy. Someone messes up and we forgive them – we extend grace. It is about overlooking specific faults.
But grace is really about favor. It is less clinical than the ways we use it. Grace is relational, not situational.
Jesus came to earth full of truth. Rightness. Reality. He also came full of grace. Value. Worth. Benefit. Favor.
Grace works like God’s acceptance. It is an unconditional, unmerited favor. We love because we love. Because it is right and good. All of the things Jesus is. Grace is about acceptance and affection. Love is perhaps a closer synonym.
We can have mercy for circumstances but we must have grace for people. Grace is a perspective of which mercy is one ingredient. Mercy is a choice in the direction of grace.
John says later that Jesus did not come to condemn the world. He came in favor. To embody it and to share it. Accepting Jesus is accepting the favor of his life, the grace from which and for which he came.
Situational grace keeps score. And acts only when called upon. John is speaking here of a character of grace. One that embodies us and out of which mercy and forgiveness flow.