The widely accepted definition of grace is: "unmerited favor." But is there more to it than that? Surely! There are a few Scriptures that will hopefully disperse the cob webs and get the wheels churning in our minds. Luke 2:40 "And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." Plug in today's take on grace here and we come up far short of the truth. If grace were nothing more than unmerited favor that would mean that Jesus did not merit His Father's grace, but was given grace despite His "unworthiness." Why was grace given to Christ in the first place? We shall see.
Heb. 2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower then the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." Here, again, unmerited favor falls far short of truth and reality. The Son of God was given grace for the express purpose of suffering the death of the cross. If there were something in Him that was not worthy of all of His Father's graces, would that not indicate that He would be less than the perfect sacrifice required by the Scriptures? Indeed such would be the case. Thankfully, Christ is eternally worthy in every respect. So 'unmerited favor' doesn't work here either.
John 1:14 "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Today we might read this differently: 'full of unmerited favor and truth.' That doesn't quite work well when it concerns the Son of God. But too many have accepted today's rendition as "gospel truth" much like we do the definition of sin to be "missing the mark" while Scripture goes much farther and calls it "lawlessness" (but that's for another day).
1 Tim. 1:12 "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." At first this seems that it would not belong in this discussion of grace, but it may be the most revealing of all. Coupled with 1Cor.15:10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I , but the grace of God that was with me." A more complete, accurate, and all-encompassing definition of grace would be "enabling power." Such a definition totally clears away any doubt of the worthiness of Christ which the old definition leaves to linger in the back of one's mind, even though it was never spoken. It is also in perfect agreement with the fact that no one member of the Trinity acts of His own accord, but always in concert with each other (John16:30). The grace given to Christ as depicted in the above verses was because He was in human flesh, with a human (unfallen) nature, and because Christ stated that He never did anything of His own accord (John 5:30).
There is a highly narcissistic flare to the current definition in that it gets the mind to focus on it's own unworthiness to the point that is very unhealthy and even debilitating. No one is ever worthy of anything received from God; grace, salvation, forgiveness, son-ship, eternity with Him, etc. The negative tone (unmerited) lends itself to focusing on us, whereas "enabling power" immediately directs our attention toward God. There is nothing wrong with occasionally remembering our former state as we had pleasure in sin, but the focus is never to linger there for long that it doesn't turn to fact that God---by His enabling power---has delivered us from our sins, then and now. Such reminders are not to beat us down (as Satan so enjoys to do) but to lift us up in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord Jesus for delivering us in the first place. He gets the praise due His Name and our joy overflows yet again----------------------even so, Come Lord Jesus!!!!!