The believer is highly favored in Christ. Grace is God’s unmerited, high favor of God brought to us by Christ. Divine favor is real, and it can literally change a man’s life overnight. 2 Samuel 9:1-9 records a remarkable story of a man called Mephibosheth whose life was literally transformed overnight by favor.
What’s in favor?
The word translates to “favor” in both Ephesians 1:6 and Luke 1:28 in the CSB translation is the Greek word charitoo.
To the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. (Eph. 1:6 CSB)
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Lk. 1:28 KJV)
If studying the original Greek words for the New Testament is not your thing, you may want to make an exception and look at the word charitoo more closely. It seems there is no ideal English equivalent to convey all that is intended in the original usage.
Charitoo is a verb, meaning it is an action word and describes what was done. This notion is important because grace is essentially what God has done for man. There are three verbs I have found used in an attempt to explain charitoo that I find quite useful
- “To show grace” or simply “to grace”. It describes the process by which grace is extended or shown to someone. We find in this that there is the grace, the Giver of grace, and the Recipient of grace.
- “To favor” or “to favor highly”.
- “To bless”.
A common factor in these three verbs is God giving to man. In essence, charitoo describes God lavishly giving to man what he does not deserve and what is even contrary to what was expected. The different verbs simply attempt to clarify different aspects of the giving process.
I will use the verb “to favor” to describe this giving process in our discussion. Since we are attempting to clarify the meaning of the noun grace, using the verb “to grace” might make things a little complicated. There is a subtle difference between “to favor” and “to bless” that makes “to favor” preferable, as discussed below.
The adverb “highly” is used in the KJV to describe the favor of grace communicated by charitoo.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.1 (Lk. 1:28 KJV)
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (Eph. 1:7-8 KJV)
We are described as highly favored because every blessing that is spiritual in the heavenly places has been given to us in Christ by the favor( Eph 1:3). Whatever God has given to man in grace, He gave it abundantly. Romans 5:17 says we have received “an abundance of grace”. Forgiveness? In abundance. Eternal life? In excess. His Spirit? Without measure!
The extravagance of His favor is also seen in the nature and value of the blessings themselves. The Treasure of Heaven. What is the most treasurable thing in heaven? God Himself. It is unimaginable what God has given to man. His very righteousness, His very life. His very Spirit to live within us. His very nature to make us His children. God did not give to us what is on the shelves of heaven. He took us into the very Holy of holies and prepared for us a feast there.
He has freely given us favor. Free to the recipients. It did not cost us a thing. We did nothing to receive it, and can do nothing for Him to withdraw it. We did not have to earn it with our good works. It was irrespective of our ability to earn it. Even heard of medical care irrespective of the patient’s ability to pay? Whether you can pay or no, it is not taken into account.
Unmerited or Undeserved
This is related but slightly different from the fact that favor is free. This brings out the relationship between the favor that is shown to us and what our actual state and circumstances really warranted. Man is actually worthy, not of favor, but of divine judgment for his sins. Showing man favor is the exact opposite of what he deserves. This is the favor of grace.
Highly favored ones
The Prophet Isaiah, by the Spirit of God, saw the lives of those who will be highly favored by God.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to ………To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isa. 61:1-3 KJV)
The Experience of Divine Kindness
Favor is seen on the recipients of grace. The unmerited favor in grace is not a disposition but a tangible act of kindness which God has already shown to man in Christ. Favor has tangible, visible proofs on every aspect of our lives. The favor of God always causes a dramatic transformation of man’s life. It is an experience of divine kindness. Believers often make the mistake of thinking favor is a mindset or merely God’s favorable attitude towards us. No! The voice of favor in your life is the visible demonstrations of the kindness of God seen in every aspect of your life.
In fact favor is as the wind produced by a pair of bellows that causes a pile of burning coals to glow. When the blast of air is produced by the bellows, the burning coal glows or fans to flames. Our lives are like the coals that glow with the brightness of God’s beauty and glory when we receive His favor. You cannot receive a touch of God’s favor and not have visible proof of it. Favor adorns us with the pearls and ornaments of heaven. God decorates us with the treasures of heaven.
Beauty for Ashes
The touch of favor removes the ashes of our lives and replaces them with the very beauty of God. Sin left man in spiritual and eternal ashes, separated from God, full of shame, guilt, fears and condemnation. The heart of man has become desperately wicked, thinks, speaks and does things which are appalling. Worst still, man has become a slave of Satan with continuous hateful oppression. Besides these, we all had scarred our own very lives before coming to know the Lord and become born again. There are others whose lives are literally in ashes right now because of what they have done. From broken families, slavery to drugs and sin, fears, anxieties, depression, loss of self-worth to a perpetual feeling of emptiness and always looking for the meaning of life to the desire not to live any further. Time and space will not permit the listing of all that sin has causes for men and women living today. Take a look around you or watch the news to see the ashes humanity is currently found in.
The good news is that grace has come. Divine favor is now available. God has a brand new life for every human being living on the earth if they will open their hearts to accept what He has done for them in Christ Jesus.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Cor. 5:17 NLT)
God has a beautiful life for His children. A life of peace, joy, righteousness, power, wisdom, prosperity, freedom from sin and satanic oppression, etc. God has chosen to use us as vessels to express His qualities on the earth. He has brought us into His very presence, and made us participate in His experience as God with Him! This is life that has replaced the ashes for every human being on earth who will believe in Jesus Christ.
..Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Pet. 1:4 NIV)
It cannot get any better than this! We are highly favored!
Beauty is the word that describes how we look in the realm of the spirit because of the favor of God. God has beautified us with the treasures of heaven, as a bride is beautified on her wedding day prepared to meet her groom.
And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev. 21:2 KJV)
But it goes beyond the spiritual to the natural. Favor will beautiful our lives on the earth. God has given to us beauty for the ashes that sin, and all that came with it, brought in our lives. When a life is touched by the favor of God, beauty is the first tangible result.
The Oil of Joy for Mourning
Man has been mourning since the fall. Life has never been the same again.
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted chi (Rom. 8:22-23 NLT)
The mourning continues even further following the events of the past life of those who are not born again. It will not surprise us that there are millions mourning today for what they did yesterday. Sin brings pain, suffering, grief and bondage. Many are caught in a life they wished they could get out of, but they can’t. Thank God there is hope now available to man.
When God touches our lives with His favor, as noted above, He meets the deepest needs of our lives, healing our sorrows and making our faces to smile. There are few things that heal a mourning heart from the scars of sin like the forgiveness of sins from God. You almost feel brand new when the burden of guilt and condemnation from our past lives is lifted off our shoulders. The goodies of heaven will adorn our lives with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Pet. 1:8 KJV)
Joy is an instant result of the touch of favor. This is also true when a believer comes to understand the grace of God in Christ for him or her. When we receive from God what we worked for, it might cause a flicker of happiness in our hearts. A reward for what we deserve does not create this joy. Many believers are relating to God from a rewards perspective, and the Christian joy full of glory is prominently absent in the daily lives of such folks. However, there is a transcending dimension of joy produced in our hearts when we receive the favor of God; when He gives us what we do not deserve, which meets our deepest needs, adorning us with beauty for the ashes of our prior life. Man has been highly favored! This is the joy of the Gospel, the good news of the grace of God to man.
As a believer, the more we understand the grace of God, the more of this joy becomes released in every aspect of our lives.
The Garment of praise
The spirit of heaviness is a sorrowful, sad spirit. This is depression. Fear, depression and anxiety are spreading their tentacles even wider over the world today. Men and women who do not know the Lord are increasingly sad in life, despite the significant advancement in our standard of living and technology. We are better off than any other generation of men that ever lived, but this is the most unsecured, sorrowful, and fearful generation that ever lived. There are millions currently depressed because of the state of their lives, or the consequences of their prior bad choices. It becomes even concerning that some believers are also full of the spirit of heaviness daily.
Something unique happens to a man when God’s favor is shown to him when we receive kindness we do not deserve, it produces spontaneous, uncoerced praise to God. Praise is jubilant celebrations of what God has done. If we understand what God has done for us in dealing with our sins and bringing us into His glory, we will have a continual feast. This is also the lifestyle of the believer that discovers the riches of the grace of God revealed in Christ. They praise God without restraints!
The sacrifice of praise is a direct consequence of grace.
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Heb. 13:15 KJV)
It is amazing how some believers find it difficult to praise God. They need a revelation of what God has done in Christ. They need to know grace. You will discover that knowing more about what Jesus did causes a natural shift in your prayers to more of thanksgiving, praise and worship. And this happens effortlessly. In fact if you have to force yourself to praise and worship God, you might not have had a revelation of the grace of God. It has nothing to do with your circumstances or answers to your prayers. What God has done is enough to keep you wearing the garment of praise through every day.
Shake off every garment of sorrow and depression off your back. You are highly favored. In Christ, you have all things, and there is nothing God has not already given you. There is nothing that should make you sorrowful continually. Our ignorance and unbelief are the reasons we suffer unnecessarily in this life as believers (Isa 53:1).
When we are touched by God’s favor, we put on the garments of praise and jubilantly rejoice and praise him. Even more importantly, our very lives become expressions of the praises of God. In other words, our lives become the manifestation of the wonderful works of God for all to see.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:(1 Pet. 2:9 KJV)
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