4 Characteristics That Define the Grace of God | alyssajhoward.com

4 Characteristics That Define the Grace of God

I have been a ballet dancer for nearly 22 years and an instructor for 12 of those years. Throughout my time in the dance world, I learned a lot about what it means to be “graceful.” I can tell you from experience that grace is far more than beauty and refinement. To be a graceful dancer means to be driven by both elegance and self-control. Ballet dancers long to be magnificent and polished in their abilities. Their movements are defined by strength; yet to those watching, it appears to be effortless.


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We often hear that mercy is defined by the withholding of deserved punishment, but the grace of God is unmerited blessing or favor. While this is true, I believe that grace goes beyond God’s favor in our lives.


This passage in Titus gives us some insights as to the purpose of God’s grace:

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. – Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)


  • Truth #1: God’s grace brought salvation to the world. 
  • Truth #2: Grace teaches us how to deny ungodliness and instructs us to live righteously.


The book of Romans gives us even more insight:

For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ… So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 5:17, 21 (NLT)


  • Truth #3: The grace of God allows us to live victoriously over sin and death.
  • Truth #4: When we surrender our lives to Christ, grace replaces sin as the ruler of our lives.


Instead of being ruled and empowered by sin, the life of a believer is marked by the grace of God.

In other words, grace becomes the driving force of our lives; whereas, before Christ, sin and death were in the driver’s seat.


God’s grace leads us and instructs us towards godly living. It strengthens us and empowers our thoughts, words, and deeds. As we learn to walk in God’s grace, we begin to exhibit self-control. And as we exhibit self-control, our lives begin to effortlessly reflect the beauty of God’s grace to those around us.

The grace of God becomes the driving force in our lives in the same way that a dancer’s grace guides her steps. Our every movement should embody His grace.

For some dancers, grace comes naturally. But even for those that exhibit natural grace, practice is the key to mastering the art of grace and allowing it to flow effortlessly.

Do I “practice” God’s grace? Am I allowing it to be the driving force in my life? Am I allowing it to guide my steps?

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. – Romans 6:14


As we learn to walk in the power of God's grace, we begin to effortlessly reflect its beauty to those around us.


*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

**Photo by Krista McPhee on Unsplash

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