- Divine grace
Divine grace is a theological term which is present in many and varied spiritual traditions. However, there are significant differences between the way people of different traditions use the word.
Christian conceptions of grace
Within Christianity, there are differing conceptions of grace. In particular, Catholics and Protestants use the word in substantially different ways. It has been described as "the watershed that divides Catholicism from Protestantism, Calvinism from Arminianism, modern liberalism from conservatism". Catholic doctrine teaches that God uses the sacraments to facilitate the reception of His grace. Protestants generally do not hold that view. In other words, even without the sacraments, divine grace has been imparted by God to humanity.
(King James Version) "1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand..." (King James Version) "4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
Grace in this context is something that is God-given, made possible only by Jesus Christ and none other. It is God's gift of salvation granted to sinners for their salvation.
The Christian teaching is that grace is unmerited mercy that God gave to us by sending his son to die on a cross to give us eternal salvation.
In the New Testament, the word translated as grace is the Greek word Charis (Greek Χάρις), pronounced khar'-ece, for which Strong's Concordance gives this definition; "Grace, the state of kindness and favor towards someone, often with a focus on a benefit given to the object."  A Greek word that is related to Charis is Charisma (gracious gift). Both these words originated from another Greek word Chairo (to rejoice, be glad, delighted). In the Old Testament, the Hebrew term used is Chen  (חֵן), which is defined in Strong's as "favor, grace or charm; grace is the moral quality of kindness, displaying a favorable disposition". In the King James translation, Chen is translated as "grace" 38 times, "favour" 26 times, twice as "gracious", once as "pleasant", and once as "precious".
Hindu conceptions of grace
Hindu devotional or bhakti literature available throughout India is replete with references to grace (kripa) as the ultimate key required for spiritual self-realization.[additional citation needed] Some, such as the ancient sage Vasistha, in his classical work Yoga Vasistha, considered it to be the only way to transcend the bondage of lifetimes of karma. One Hindu philosopher, Madhvacharya, held that grace was not a gift from God, but rather must be earned.
Grace in Islam
Dr. Umar Al-Ashqar, dean of the Faculty of Islamic Law, at al-Zarqa’ University in Zarqa, Jordan wrote that "Paradise is something of immense value; a person cannot earn it by virtue of his deeds alone, but by the Grace and Mercy of Allah."  This stance is supported by hadith: according to Abu Huraira, Muhammad once said that "None amongst you can get into Paradise by virtue of his deeds alone ... not even I, but that Allah should wrap me in his grace and mercy."
Notes and References
- ^ Charles C. Ryrie, The Grace of God (Chicago: Moody Press, 1963), pp. 10-11.
- ^ http://www.saintaquinas.com/Justification_by_Grace.html
- ^ http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Heaven_-_Heaven_in_Protestant_Christianity/id/1292134
- ^ Strongnumbers.com Grk 5485
- ^ Strong (2001) Grk entry number 5485 (p. 1653)
- ^ Strong (2001) Grk entry numbers 5486 and 5463
- ^ Blue Letter Bible entry for Strongs Hebrew term 2580, Blue Letter Bible institute, http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H02580&Version=kjv, retrieved 2011-01-01
- ^ Biblestudytools.com "Chen"
- ^ Strong (2001) Hebrew entry number 2580 (p. 1501)
- ^ Proverbs 11:16 and Ecclesiastes 9:11
- ^ Proverbs 5:19
- ^ Proverbs 17:8
- ^ Descent of divine grace The Hindu, June 30, 2005.
- ^ Great Thinkers of the Eastern World, Ian McGreal.
- ^ Bassam Zawadi; Mansur Ahmed, Answering Common Questions on Salvation That Christians Pose to Muslims, http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/answering_common_questions_on_salvation_that_christians_pose_to_muslims, retrieved 2011-01-01
- ^ "Chapter 15: None Would Attain Salvation Because of his Deeds but it is Through Lord's Mercy, Number 6764", Sahih Muslim, Book 39, University of Southern California center for Jewish-Muslim engagement, http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/muslim/039.smt.html, retrieved 2011-01-01
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