What is God’s grace and how does it give us the power to love others more fully? How can you know God’s grace is for you? Plus what Bible translations get wrong and which one is recommended if you need to read through the lens of grace.
Below is an overview of my conversation with Pastor Paul about God’s grace. For the complete interview listen to episode 22 of Grace for Single Parents wherever you listen to podcasts.
What is God’s Grace?
- Grace means everything once you start to understand it.
- I had no concept of what grace was. You know, I sang amazing grace and I would say grace at meals and I could give you a standard answer that it was God’s riches at Christ expense.
- But I really didn’t know what that meant. And about 10 years ago, God just started revealing things to me through other people, writers and teachers, and speakers. And I don’t think we’ll ever grasp it fully but I started to get a better revelation at literally every day of another facet of God. It’s like a diamond, you know, you’re looking at the different ways and different lighting effects and you see something different to what grace is like.
- It’s multifaceted and basically, it means that it is God’s unconditional love in us and for us perpetually working in us and perpetually enabling us to be all God has created us to be.
- And once we understand that, we understand that it’s not our trying to do things or earning grace or measuring up to it, but it is literally God’s unconditional love that’s just always there and always pouring out on us and in us and through us.
- And I’ve come to understand that until we realize that it’s free that it’s for us that we haven’t done anything to earn it. And that no matter what we do, God’s unconditional love.
- It’s why it’s called unconditional is always there and always for us until we come to realize that it’s really impossible for us to give other people grace and to give them unconditional love.
- But once we understand that God loves us unconditional unconditionally, not because we earned it or, or did something to merit it or anything, but just because of who he is, how much is his love is.
- Then we can look at other people and go, well, you know, maybe they said something I didn’t like, or maybe their lifestyle is not what I would necessarily approve of or whatever. God loves them as much as he loves me. His grace covers everything with them. He sees them as just as with a love of a child just as he does me. And it’s not because I did something better than they did. We’re all his children.
- Then I can start to realize, Oh, we’re all in the same boat. He loves them. He loves me. I can give them grace. Hopefully, they will give me grace and we do. The world was a much better place, you know.
About the Book Convertible Conversations
- Paul’s book, “Convertible Conversations”, follows a man and his wife and his grandson who loses his parents to hurricane Harvey and they bring him in. And through that, living with his grandparents, he experiences God and his grace through some different trials.
- The book follows Pauls’s life loosely as his son-in-law passed away from cancer at age 29. “As a result, my daughter and her then three-year-old son came to live with us and they’ve been with us ever since for the last 10 years. What has been a great blessing for both of us, but I’ve helped raise him in the end.”
- A lot of the things that I write about it in “Convertible Conversations” are just expansions of our time together and helping him understand that God loves him and going through the grieving process and all of that, losing his dad while I lost my son in law and our daughter lost her husband and all of that.
- So it’s, it’s very much my story. It’s just set in a fictional setting.
The Mirror Bible & Bible Translations
- The Mirror Bible it’s not, it hasn’t been completed yet. Probably two-thirds or more of the New Testament have been completed.
- The guy who is translating it, his name is Francois du Toit. He’s from South Africa. And he’s a wonderful guy, I met him and spent some time with him. He’s just a wonderful guy. He really has a gift of languages. He speaks several languages.
- And he really has a great grasp of Hebrew and Greek, which the Bible was originally written in along with Aramaic but also has this understanding of God’s unconditional love and God’s inclusion of everyone and of grace. And so he translates it from that perspective.
- Now, translators have a tremendous amount of leeway. For instance, a Greek word may have 15 or 20 different meanings and so some of them are not really compatible with some of the other meanings.
- So when a translator looks at the original Greek, they literally have the leeway, if you will, to take which one of those meanings they want and translate that into English.
- Well when the King James Bible was compiled in the early 1600s, there was a group of people then who had a specific mindset. And their tradition and their theological background was that God was an angry God and he was always keeping a list of what we were doing.
- So when they translated that, they took a lot of words that could be translated much differently and may turn them into words like “wrath” different things like that.
- The Mirror Translation doesn’t do that. He comes at it from what I believe is the historically more correct way of what the early church believes. So it’s a great translation and it helps me understand the heart of God much better than any other translation.
- There’s no perfect translation. And there are good things from all of them. There are some that I encourage people to stay away from. Because there are some intentionally bad.
- I’ll just give you a real quick one. The word that we translate, “repent” that the original word there means to change your mind literally to change your mind. And the way it was used in the New Testament was to change your mind about the fact that God is distant and aloof and keeping a record of your wrongs and it’s impossible to please change your mind into believing that God is good and loving and full of grace.
- In some of the first translations of the Bible back in around 325 years after Christ was born the church then the Catholic church was the only church and they were in this big huge building project and they were building these great cathedrals, you know, all over Europe and stuff, which took a lot of money to do that. So they, there’s a guy by the name of Jerome who did a lot of good things, but he did some intentional wrong things too. He translated one of the first versions it was translated into Latin and he used the word “penance“.
- They said, when you sin, you need to go to the priest and confess and the priest will determine how much penance, the money you need to give to the church, which was what supported all of these building projects, provided the tremendous amount of wealth that the church now has in the Vatican and paid the priest salaries and all that.
- Well, that went pretty well for a while, but then they needed more money for more buildings and he changed the word to “repent”. As in give even more penance. And we have many English people who have continued to translate that word.
- The word Greek word is “metanoia” which means to have a radical change in mind they continued to change that to repent, which has nothing to do with the original meaning. And that’s caused a lot of people, a lot of trauma, and false teaching. And so it’s really good to learn about those things and know about them and see where the translations came from and that kind of stuff.
How Do I Know God’s Grace is for Me?
- Have a radical mind change and come to realize that God’s unconditional love and grace is for everyone.
- I encourage people to get in a quiet place, you know no social media and TV on anything like that. Get in a quiet place and be still and just say
- God, tell me, is this the truth?
- Do you, do you really love me? Is your love really for me?
- And then just to be still and to listen.
- I’ve found that there’s sometimes we’ve got such false beliefs in our minds that it takes a while for us to really hear God’s voice.
- But when we do, you’ll hear that still sweet voice saying, yeah, I love you. My grace is for you. You’re my child, you’re my beloved child. And no matter what you think you’ve done that’s disqualified you or whatever it hasn’t, my love is unconditional and always will be.
Where to Find Pastor Paul Gray
- Facebook group: Grace to All with Paul Gray.
- Website: Grace With Paul Gray. On my website, I have all my blogs and videos, and posts.
- Podcast: Twice-weekly podcast called Grace To All with Pray Gray. We’re on Tuesdays I do teaching and then on Thursdays, I interview different people and so I’d love to have you all check it out and I’m so glad that you invited me to be a part of this today.
- Paul’s Book: Convertible Conversations