Don’t Get Sloppy in Defining Grace


You won’t meet a Christian who doesn’t like grace, who isn’t pro-grace. Do you know people who say, “You know what we could use less of? Grace, we don’t need that.” No, especially as Christians, we understand how important it is to have been saved by grace.

So it’s incumbent upon us, then, to carefully talk about this grace. In Romans, Paul is talking about different understandings of justification, salvation, and election and he says, “Otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

To be mature Christians in our age (and in any age), we ought to show the same careful attention to our doctrine.

Paul has a category for using the term “grace.” If we have these barnacles of works, if we have these barnacles of human decisiveness, if we have these different accretions that come upon grace, we can end up with something that’s less than and other than grace.

Defining Terms

What the Canons of Dort did supremely—with a very careful attention to detail and precision—was establish a definition of grace. This kind of grace, this kind of sovereign, bring-you-back-from-the-dead unilateral grace—God decreed it from all eternity, affected it effectually in your life. That’s what we mean by grace.

Grace Defined and Defended

Kevin DeYoung

Best-selling author Kevin DeYoung equips Christians to clearly define grace by looking at the Canons of Dort, exploring the historical context, theological implications, and practical applications of this important document in the Reformed tradition.

We not only owe that particular Synod a debt of gratitude, but even more importantly, to be mature Christians in our age (and in any age), we ought to show the same careful attention to our doctrine and to the doctrines of grace in particular.

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