The first mention of the word grace in the Bible is as follows.
Genesis 6:7-8 (NKJ)
7 So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Of course, this was the period of time in which God “started over” with the genealogy of man.
Genesis 9:18-19 (NKJ)
18 Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan.
19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.
We are all descendants of Shem, Ham, or Japheth, the three son’s of Noah, but it was Noah who is said to have found grace in the eyes of the LORD. The second mention of grace in the Bible involved Moses.
Exodus 33:12 (NKJ)
12 Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’
Then Moses asked for the Lord’s help and God made a covenant with Moses, which exists to this day.
Exodus 34:9-10 (NKJ)
9 Then he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.”
10 And He said: “Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.
Now listen to the specific and unique grace God has bestowed upon Israel.
Deuteronomy 4:32-38 (NKJ)
32 “For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard.
33 “Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?
34 “Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
35 “To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him.
36 “Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire.
37 “And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power,
38 “driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day.
As an aside, given what has happened and will yet happen in Jerusalem, this last sentence should give pause to those who think that the promises of God regarding the resurrection of God’s people and the restoration of Jerusalem are outrageous expectations. We limit God. Awesome is a word that barely approximates what we will feel when God fulfills His prophecies. Listen to Samuel.
2 Samuel 7:22-24 (NKJ)
22 “Therefore You are great, O Lord GOD. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
23 “And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name– and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land– before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods?
24 “For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, LORD, have become their God.
Now read of God’s Grace to the house of David.
Zechariah 12:10 (NKJ)
10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
When grace is extended to the house of David, it says, “then they will look upon Me whom they have pierced,” placing the fullness of “grace” in the context of a redeemer, the Messiah.
The first mention of grace in the New Testament refers to Jesus, the Child, then to Jesus the Man.
Luke 2:40 (NKJ)
40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
John 1:14-17 (NKJ)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Do not think that this last verse somehow sets aside the law or your respect of it. The law (referring specifically to the 10 commandments given to Moses) asked you to do good and specific things and “grace” does not change that expectation. The difference is that you are saved by grace and grace only and the grace of God, in whom you place your faith, is a gift. Paul makes this point for us. Listen.
Romans 3:23-31 (NKJ)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also,
30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
There are many “Torah observant” Jews. They respect and love the Law yet they adhere to it by faith and know, absent the grace of God, that keeping the Law will not redeem them. It is redemption first and then obedience. Obedience is good, but not unto salvation. Redemption makes your obedience fruitful to God, and the Holy Spirit in you is what enables you to obey, not the will of your flesh. I offer the following verses with some anxiety, not because they are not appropriate or true, but because they may offend. If the Gospel offends, and Scriptures tell us it will, it is because the listener is rejecting the atoning life of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. This book, written specifically to Israel, is intended to bring into focus your choices and the consequences of those choices. Listen to some fairly direct teachings from the Scriptures.
Hebrews 10:28-31 (NKJ)
28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 12:14-29 (NKJ)
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
15 looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.
17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,
19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.
20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.”
21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”
27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
29 For our God is a consuming fire.
The grace of God is our only hope. Grace is not something we can earn. It is an “empowerment,” an enabling force that permits us to escape from serving the flesh.
Listen to Paul, the one Jew who God miraculously turned from hating Jesus and His followers to what was and is perhaps the key role in bringing the gospel to the Gentiles. God chose not only the Jews as His people, but chose Paul, a Jew, as a primary oracle to bring the Gentiles under the canopy of God’s love. This love was extended primarily to the Jews, until the birth of the Messiah. Listen to Paul.
Ephesians 2:1-10 (NKJ)
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Paul just taught you so many basic truths that I want to say again, go to the Holy Bible. Read first hand and discover all that God wants you to know. The Word of God is a treasure only surpassed by the redeeming presence of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit in your heart. I probably should not even say that given this next quote from John.
1 John 5:7 (NKJ)
7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
Once your love for God is such that you love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, you will not want to distance yourself from listening to God. The manifestation of your love may appear to be “works,” as you diligently seek Him, but no, it is by grace that you are saved. Let me quote for you the last verse in the Bible.
Revelation 22:21 (NKJ)
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
This sentence places all of the emphasis on Jesus. Why? One reason, in my opinion, is that if you don’t understand that sin requires sacrifice in order for cleansing and forgiveness, then you fail to understand what God commanded Moses. I believe it is safe to assume that every Jew understands the ritual of sacrifice for the atonement of sin. It is the foundation of their daily renewal. But, sacrifices to cover sin are over. Jesus paid the price and now, your offerings are in “righteousness,” His righteousness, not yours and not mine. We “work” but not for salvation. We obey and serve Him because we love Him.