Grace is a central item in the New Testament, playing a major role in God’s operation and the believer’s experience. The believers are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8), and in the opening and closing of many Epistles the writer blesses them with grace (1:2; Gal. 1:3; 6:18; Phil. 1:2; 2 Tim. 4:22). From Mary finding grace with God (Luke 1:30), to the believers in the early church having grace (Acts 2:47), to grace being with all the saints in the concluding verse of the Bible (Rev. 22:21), grace permeates the New Testament from the incarnation of Christ to the consummation of the New Jerusalem.
Despite its importance in the divine economy, grace is often vaguely defined and poorly understood by Christians. Most understand grace as unmerited favor or material blessing. But grace is not merely something done or given—grace is a person. The law was given, but grace came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Here grace is personified, coming with the Lord in His incarnation (v. 14). Other verses personifying grace include Romans 5:21, which says, “grace might reign,” and 1 Corinthians 15:10, which says, “not I [who labor] but the grace of God which is with me.” Therefore, the highest definition of grace is that grace is the Lord Jesus Christ living and operating in the believers for their enjoyment (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 2:13).
How can we experience this grace, which is Jesus Christ living in us? The key is in Galatians 6:18: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” When we turn to and exercise our regenerated spirit, we receive, experience, and enjoy our Lord Jesus Christ as grace, thus realizing the highest definition of grace in a subjective way.
The result is glorious: grace is upon us (4:33), and we, like Stephen, can be full of grace (6:8), even to the point where it becomes visible to others (11:23). As saved ones, we enter into and stand in grace (Rom. 5:2; 1 Pet. 5:12), so that grace can abound (Rom. 5:20), and we abound in grace (2 Cor. 8:7). Even our speaking should always be with grace (Col. 4:6; cf. Luke 4:22) and what we speak is the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). Praise the Lord for our subjective experience of the highest definition of grace!
Witness Lee, Crystallization-study of the Epistle to the Romans, Messages 19-24 (Print).
Witness Lee, The Law and Grace of God in His Economy, Chapter 2 (Print).
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org)