I am saying that some words have a range of meaning that vary, based on context. I love my wife. I also love Edwardo’s deep dish elephant garlic pizza. But if I mean the exact same thing by both uses of the word love, I doubt my wife will feel romantically wooed. If I go bowling and knock down ten pins in a single frame but take two rolls to do so, it will be scored as a spare. But the word spare means something rather different if I say I have a spare tire around my waist (probably from eating too much Edwardo’s deep dish elephant garlic pizza).
Consider some ways the word grace is used in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the term can refer to a positive quality of an individual, as in Psalm 45:2, where the king is praised, “You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace.” Proverbs uses the term several times, describing a positive effect from receiving God’s many statements of wisdom, for example, “They will be a garland to grace your head” (1:9). And Zechariah says that God will “pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication” (12:10).
In the New Testament, the pattern continues. Jesus’s early days are described as his being “filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). John describes Jesus similarly as “the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). These uses of the word do not express the specific doctrine of “saving grace” but they do point forward to it.
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