How I Used Truth - Lesson 7 - Annotation 8
What is grace, and how is God's grace manifested?
It is interesting to note that the Latin root of the word grace means "beloved, dear." Truth reveals that every person is beloved and dear to God, stands in favor with God, for each one has been created in the very substance and image of God-perfection. A simple definition of grace is given on page 103 of Prosperity's Ten Commandments:
"Divine favor unmerited by man ... a free gift of God to man for his regeneration or sanctification; an impetus and influence emanating from God and operative for the spiritual well-being of the recipient."
When an individual finds himself in a situation from which there seems no way out, the very urge or movement within him to desire freedom is God's love seeking to express itself. This love stands always ready to help, no matter what the individual may have done to get himself into a limiting situation. One of the above definitions says that grace is "a free gift of God to man." Being free it can be neither earned nor purchased; it cannot be forced upon us but only accepted. God's love is always available, always ours. However, this love can only become grace to us, or the "fulfillment of the law" (Rom. 13:10) as Paul has said, when we avail ourselves of it. To ask and accept God's help causes us to respond to His grace (love).
There seems to be an intuitive knowing in us that when we avail ourselves of God's grace, it will, by its very nature, move all the qualities of God into expression to meet any specific need we may have. No matter in what situation we may find ourselves, deserved or not, we find God's love as His grace giving the mercy, forgiveness, protection, understanding, healing, wisdom, guidance, and strength needed to meet any circumstance if we call upon it, consciously or unconsciously.
One may think there is discrimination when two persons in a similar situation seem to have different outcomes. This, however, is not the case. Every person has equal right to the grace of God, for no one is excluded from God's love. We may have set in motion the mental law of cause and effect that will bring in its wake results that are undesirable. Once we turn to God's grace (His love) we are given a "lifeline,” as it were, to bring us out of the darkness of ignorance into the light of Truth. Once we grasp the "lifeline," however, we still have much work to do if we would continue to live under grace. Our consciousness has to be cleansed by the process of denial. Then comes the building of the Truth into our consciousness by affirmation. These activities must be followed by actions in our everyday living that are commensurate with our changed consciousness.
While we say that "grace is the unmerited favor of God to man," there is a sense in which we need to "merit" the right to accept this "free gift" by aligning our consciousness and our conduct with God's laws of good.
There is really nothing mysterious about God's grace at work in our life. As an analogy we might consider a principle of mathematics. If we have, through ignorance or deliberate willfulness, or even carelessness, brought about a wrong answer in the mathematical problem before us, we are faced with two alternatives. We may let the wrong answer stand, in which case it will adversely affect not only the mathematical proposition at hand but any that may follow. If we do this, we will be frustrated, probably complaining, and unable to advance any further. Our other alternative is to take a firm mental stand, realizing that if the answer is incorrect then there has been a wrong application of the rules of mathematics. Common sense indicates that in such a case we must return in our thinking to the principle involved, review its workings, and through this process determine wherein the error lies. Did the principle of mathematics punish us by giving us an incorrect answer? No, it remained just as unmoved and true. Did the principle have to be cajoled, beseeched, begged to give us the right answer? No, the answer was there awaiting our acceptance. Our part was to respond to the principle and follow its rules in our application of it. In order to solve future mathematical problems, obedience to the rules of the principle is necessary if we would continue to produce right answers.
This analogy gives us some idea of God's grace or love in relation to our own life. Like a principle of mathematics, God's grace is always available, waiting to be accepted. We do not need to cajole, beseech, or beg God, for His grace is a free gift to us. Our desire to find the right answer to some pressing problem is God seeking a channel through which He may pour His love into our life. It is important for us to realize that while His love stands always ready to help us, we have to acknowledge it and respond to it. It is when we throw ourselves on the mercy of this love that it becomes to us the "grace of God." Grace does not scold or remind us of our mistakes, but like a principle of mathematics it reveals all that is necessary to correct the wrong situation. When the prodigal son made his return journey, his father came to meet him "while he was yet afar off" (Luke 15:20). We are told that instead of being met with recrimination, the prodigal was feted and given gifts. The love of his father went beyond emotion; it went into action to produce all that was necessary to fill the son's emptiness, even though he had brought the former unhappy conditions upon himself.
God's grace manifests as all that is needed to fulfill our life at any given time, and under any set of circumstances. When we avail ourselves of this grace, we will be guided to take whatever mental or physical action is necessary on our part to bring an undesirable situation into divine order.