Grace: The power of “and”
As I did word searches to find the most-occurring words in the Bible, the word “Lord” came to the top. But I noticed the word “and” was mentioned even more times than “Lord”. After some searching, I found that the word “and” is not a word to skip over.
“And” has powerful meaning and should be remembered in any study of the Bible. Too often we Christians get caught up in a dichotomy, that is, an “either or” situation, failing to understand the solution is usually “both”.
The prime example of this is the Pharisee’s question to Jesus about paying taxes in Matthew 22:15-22. In order to trap Jesus in his words, they presented Jesus with an “either or” situation. “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”, they asked.
Jesus’ answer? He answered with “and”. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” The Pharisees wanted Jesus to fall down on either the side of supporting Roman rule or the side of supporting God’s law. In Jesus’ mind, there was no contradiction.
In my journey to understand grace, I’ve come across many such “or” situations, which causes divisions, even among friends. I am surprised that so many Christians have built their theology on “or” situations. The Bible presents “and” answers as the solution to the false dichotomy dilemma that many Christians (including me) find themselves in.
So I decided to do another word search, for the cases in Scripture where “grace and” is found. Not surprisingly (to me) I found that we need to understand grace if we are to understand the other teachings of Scripture. I also found that grace does not stand alone, as some falsely presume.
Grace and …
The grand Biblical teachings about supplication, truth, power, apostleship, peace, guarantee, righteousness and knowledge must all be understood alongside grace:
grace and supplication
grace and truth
grace and power
grace and apostleship
grace and peace
grace and guarantee
grace and righteousness
grace and knowledge
“Grace and…” appears 15 times in the NIV84
Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Acts 6:8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.
Romans 1:5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
Romans 1:7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 4:16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring–not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.
Romans 5:15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
Romans 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:2 To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.
Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
1 Peter 1:2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Revelation 1:4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,
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