What Are the 12 Types of Grace?

Grace, simply put, is God’s undeserved kindness towards humanity. It’s a gift from God that we can’t earn through our actions or deserve through our deeds. The idea of grace runs through the entire Bible, giving us insight into God’s nature and His connection with humans. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) explains it well: “You have been saved by grace through faith. This salvation is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. It is not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it.”

In the Old Testament, grace is often described as God’s mercy and compassion. For instance, in Exodus 34:6, God calls Himself “the LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” This lays the groundwork for understanding grace as an essential part of God’s character – always ready to forgive and shower love on His creation.

12 Types of Grace in the Bible

1. Common Grace

Common Grace reflects God’s unwavering kindness to everyone, not based on their awareness or connection with Him. Matthew 5:45 paints a picture of God impartially meeting essential needs. The Psalms, especially Psalm 145:9, echo this sentiment, emphasizing God’s attention to all He has created.

This theme of God’s nature is evident throughout the Bible. For example, Jonah’s journey to Nineveh and Joseph’s experiences in Egypt (Genesis 41-45) reveal God’s benevolence to even those unaware of Him. In the New Testament, Jesus’ actions, such as healing a centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13) and feeding a large crowd (Mark 8:1-9), show His grace towards people from various walks of life.

At its core, Common Grace is God’s innate goodness and compassion, cutting across religious or cultural lines. It reminds us of His comprehensive care and encourages us to mirror His kindness and love to all, regardless of their background or faith.

2. Actual Grace

Actual Grace represents God’s timely assistance in our daily choices, steering us towards righteousness. This grace isn’t continuous but emerges in distinct moments. For example, Solomon was granted divine wisdom for leadership (1 Kings 3:5-12), and Stephen found eloquence during his trial (Acts 6:10), both instances of God providing necessary support.

We see this grace in action with Esther’s bravery to protect her people (Esther 4-5) and Paul finding strength in his vulnerability (2 Corinthians 12:9). It also manifests in our lives, offering unexpected fortitude, appropriate words, or clear thinking in challenging times. Actual Grace underlines our dependence on God for moral guidance and encourages awareness of His involvement in our everyday situations.

3. Prevenient Grace

God starts working in our lives with Prevenient Grace before we even know it. This grace helps us start to see and feel God’s love. Like in John 6:44, it’s God bringing people closer to Jesus.

We see this grace in the Bible a lot. Lydia’s heart changes to accept the Gospel in Acts 16:14, and Samuel gets his special job from God in 1 Samuel 3. Paul also changes from being against Christians to following Jesus in Acts 9 because of this grace.

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Prevenient Grace is really important for our faith. It comforts people who are just starting to believe and teaches believers to be humble and thankful. It also changes how we talk about our faith with others, helping us to see how God is working in their lives and making real spiritual connections.

4. Justifying Grace

God bestows Justifying Grace upon us, mending our relationship with Him by forgiving sins and considering us righteous. As outlined in Romans 3:23-24, this justification comes freely through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, a cornerstone of New Testament teachings.

Seen in the life transformations of Paul (Acts 9) and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), this grace is a divine gift, not a reward for deeds. It redefines sinners as righteous in the sight of God, not by removing sin but through divine declaration.

Crucial for believers, Justifying Grace shifts our connection with God from striving through deeds to embracing through faith. It liberates us from guilt, affirming God’s acceptance. Furthermore, it motivates us to live in a manner that mirrors our renewed status in Christ, fueled by gratitude rather than obligation for this generous gift from God.

5. Sanctifying Grace

Sanctifying Grace constantly transforms us into who God intends us to be. This gradual change into God’s image, as described in 2 Corinthians 3:18, happens through the Holy Spirit. It begins at salvation and continues as we grow in faith.

Biblical examples like Peter, who went from a doubtful fisherman (Luke 22:54-62) to a decisive church leader (Acts 2), illustrate this grace. Paul’s journey, as seen in Philippians 1:6, also reflects this ongoing spiritual growth.

This grace encourages believers to engage in spiritual growth through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. It reassures us that God is shaping us despite our imperfections, making each step in our faith journey significant.

6. Glorifying Grace

Glorifying Grace marks the pinnacle of a Christian’s spiritual path, bringing us into full alignment with Christ and securing our eternal place with God. Described in Romans 8:30, it signifies the highest point of grace, leading to our ultimate glorification. This significant transformation coincides with Christ’s return and our resurrection, promising us sin-free, glorified bodies.

Events like Jesus’ Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8) offer a sneak peek into this glorious future. Additionally, Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 about our body’s transformation highlight the fleeting nature of our current struggles compared to the everlasting glory that awaits us.

Glorifying Grace instills hope and a forward-thinking mindset in believers. It reminds us that our spiritual journey culminates in a magnificent future with God, impacting our present way of life. This grace encourages patience through life’s trials, viewing them as stepping stones to future glory. It inspires us to live in a manner that honors God, recognizing the eternal significance of our choices and actions.

7. Giving Grace

Giving Grace enables us to generously share, reflecting God’s own generosity. This grace, as 2 Corinthians 9:8 notes, empowers us to perform good works for others, extending beyond financial aid to include sharing time, kindness, forgiveness, and love.

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This grace is exemplified in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), showcasing compassion across different backgrounds. Similarly, the early church (Acts 2:44-45) shared everything they had, inspired by the grace found in Christ, and used their blessings for the collective benefit.

To embrace Giving Grace is to recognize our role as stewards of God’s blessings, using what we have to serve others. This call to give isn’t about obligation but comes from a place of joy and gratitude, honoring God. Giving Grace involves living out the grace we’ve received, extending it through kindness, forgiveness, and hospitality.

8. Adopting Grace

Adopting Grace is the transformative process through which we become children of God and part of His spiritual family. Romans 8:15-17 vividly depicts this, showing that believers, through Christ, gain a new identity as God’s children, not just recipients of forgiveness.

This grace is mirrored in biblical narratives like Esther’s story, where her adoption by Mordecai parallels our spiritual adoption by God, leading us towards our divine purpose. Similarly, the Prodigal Son’s parable (Luke 15:11-32) illustrates how, regardless of our past, we’re welcomed into God’s family.

Understanding Adopting Grace profoundly impacts Christian identity and belonging. It reassures us of God’s unconditional love, independent of our achievements, and fosters a sense of unity and mutual support within the church community. It motivates us to live lives that reflect our status as God’s children, embodying His character and love.

9. Provisional Grace

Provisional Grace showcases how God meets our physical and spiritual needs. It’s highlighted in the Bible, like in Matthew 6:31-33, where Jesus reassures us of God’s commitment to provide for those who seek His kingdom.

Biblical stories, from the Israelites receiving manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16) to Jesus feeding thousands (Matthew 14:13-21), demonstrate that God’s provision transcends basic needs, reflecting His comprehensive care.

Notable examples include Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:7-16), where God miraculously provides during famine, and the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22), symbolizing God’s ultimate provision through Christ.

Acknowledging Provisional Grace builds deeper trust in God’s ability to provide. It teaches us to appreciate what we have and fosters a spirit of gratitude and generosity, encouraging us to share our blessings with others.

10. Preached Grace

The transformative effect of sharing the Gospel is known as Preached Grace. As Romans 1:16 reveals, this grace is God’s power to bring salvation to believers, showcasing the Gospel as a crucial tool for spiritual transformation.

In the Book of Acts, the apostles’ preaching, especially Peter’s sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41), led to widespread conversions. The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) further illustrates the profound impact of Gospel preaching on individuals.

Paul’s missionary journeys, marked by steadfast preaching amid challenges, greatly advanced the growth of Christianity and the establishment of churches.

Preached Grace emphasizes the essential role of evangelism and preaching in the Christian faith. It serves as a reminder of the Gospel’s unique power to effect change and encourages believers to actively engage in sharing this message, support those who preach, and pray for the Gospel’s reach and influence.

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11. Miraculous Grace

Miraculous Grace represents God’s supernatural actions in our lives, going beyond the natural order, as described in Hebrews 2:4. The Bible chronicles numerous instances, like the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14) and Jesus’ resurrection, showcasing God’s immense power. Miracles during Jesus’ ministry, such as changing water into wine (John 2:1-11) and raising the dead (John 11:1-44), highlight His divine authority.

Today, this grace is still evident as believers witness God’s extraordinary interventions. It reinforces our faith in God’s ability to act in amazing ways and encourages us to pray expectantly for His continued involvement in our lives.

12. Sustaining Grace

ustaining Grace is God’s support that strengthens us in life’s difficulties. Highlighted in 2 Corinthians 12:9, it shows God’s grace as sufficient in our weakness, helping us face and overcome challenges.

Biblical stories, like Job’s steadfast faith in adversity (Book of Job) and Paul’s resilience against hardships (2 Corinthians 11:23-29), illustrate how this grace aids perseverance.

Embracing Sustaining Grace means relying on God in hard times, recognizing we’re not alone. It shifts our view of trials as growth and faith-deepening opportunities. This grace underscores that our strength comes from our dependence on God, offering peace and resilience.

How is Grace Illustrated in the Bible?

Grace is a central theme in the Bible, exemplified in stories like the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), where a father’s loving embrace of his wayward son beautifully depicts God’s grace. David’s journey (2 Samuel 11; Acts 13:22), despite his errors, shows how grace embraces our imperfections.

Jesus, in the New Testament, embodies grace in encounters with individuals like Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) and the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), highlighting grace’s role in forgiveness and life transformation.

Paul emphasizes in his letters, especially in Romans 6:14, that grace is fundamental to our bond with God. This teaching marks a significant shift from the law-focused Old Testament to the grace-centered approach in the New Testament, altering the way believers interact with God.

Conclusion

Our journey through various types of grace reveals how God’s grace shapes our lives, from initiating faith with Prevenient Grace to offering support in trials with Sustaining Grace. The different forms of grace – Actual, Common, Justifying, Sanctifying, Glorifying, Giving, Adopting, Provisional, Preached, and Miraculous – illustrate God’s deep involvement in all aspects of our existence, each reflecting unique aspects of His character and plan for humanity.

This understanding of grace can profoundly influence our Christian life. It builds trust in God’s timing, inspires us to extend grace to others, and equips us to face challenges. It also encourages active participation in spiritual growth, confident sharing of the Gospel, and hopeful anticipation of our eternal destiny with God.

In conclusion, experiencing God’s grace is not merely a theological concept but a living reality that touches every aspect of our lives. It invites us into a life filled with faith, hope, and love, continually deepening our relationship with Him and reflecting His grace in the world.

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