"Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given." John 1:16
"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galations 5:1
The Hebrew word for grace is chanan (khaw-nan') which means to bend or stoop in kindness to someone undeserving. Another way of saying this as the dictionary puts it is: grace is God's unmerited favor toward man. Like love, we need to understand God's grace towards us if we wish to learn the discipline of grace. There is no greater act of service than laying down your life for another. In Jesus' ultimate showing of grace and kindness towards his creation, he gave up his life for us. Jesus didn't talk about grace during his time here on earth. He didn't need to. His entire life was an act of grace towards us in order to rescue and restore a relationship with his fallen creation. He stooped and bent down to us, humbling himself, and poured out his life in service to us when we didn't deserve it.
After Christ died and was resurrected, he gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide and sculpt us into becoming more like him. In Jerry Bridges book The Discipline of Grace he talks about how so many Christians try to live the Christian life on their own. "We try to change ourselves. We take what we think are the tools of spiritual transformation into our own hands and try to sculpt ourselves into robust Christlike specimens. But Spiritual transformation is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit. He is the Master Sculptor."
It is crucial as we begin our apprenticeship with Christ that we continually remind ourselves we are saved by grace alone, through Christ alone. The disciplines should not become a legalistic list of habits through which we judge God's favor in our lives. It is through God's grace and the Holy Spirit we are transformed and sanctified into Christlikeness. The disciplines help us in this transformation process. We should be able to see this transformation happening by noticing the fruit of the Spirit present in our lives. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the graces which, when combined, make up the fruit Paul talks about in Galatians 5: 22-24