Grace is a word much used in Christian faith. The Psalmist wrote (Ps. 84:11), "The Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."
The Apostle Paul often used the word grace. Upon him rested much of the toil and glory of spreading the gospel of Christ Jesus, for he was an educator, a writer, a lecturer, a traveler, an organizer of the early Christian churches. And according to his own statement he had deep need for the grace of God. Here are his words (II Cor. 12:7–9): "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
All through Paul's writings one finds his conviction that grace and truth came by Christ Jesus. Evidently the answer to his own prayer was the grace of God to carry on under whatever circumstances. The dictionaries make it plain that this spiritual quality in its largest sense means the mercy of God; the kindness, the clemency, of God extended to man; the operation of divine Love; the divine influence acting within the heart. God is the source of grace and man the recipient of it. Therefore it would appear that the grace of God is the divine influence which enables one to cope with difficulties until they are adjusted and healed. It gives peace and contentment in the midst of turmoil. It is not religious ecstasy or emotion; it is the serene understanding of the abiding Christ, which strengthens one against temptation and carries one through to victory and healing.
What Christian Scientists sometimes look upon as demonstration, namely, human achievements and the fulfillment of personal desires, is not the full demonstration of divine law. His grace, being all-sufficient, is the substance of God's answer. Living in obedience to divine Principle, one lives in a state of grace. Holding thought to the divine presence, one is sustained in this state of grace until afflictions yield and disappear under the proved power of God as All-in-all. Grace itself is the demonstration of God's presence and power.
Yet the necessity for grace does not mean that things difficult to bear should continue. Grace being the evidence of divine Love, it is a healing element. It is an active force for good, and because of its beneficent action difficulties should lessen. In speaking of the healing work of Christian Scientists, Mary Baker Eddy writes in her message "Christian Science versus Pantheism" (p. 10), "All this is accomplished by the grace of God,—the effect of God understood."
One may feel at times that he does not know much about God, divine Love. This may largely be true of all mortals, since mortality itself does not grasp divine Love. But everyone can, if he will, detect the opposite of divine Love; and as he casts out any opposing element from his own thought and life, he makes room for divine Love to enter. Then he knows grace in his heart. It becomes his mentor, his familiar friend. He finds God to be ever with him, and he glimpses the oneness of God and man, Mind and Mind's idea, as revealed in Christian Science. He learns thus that the material sense of man is fraudulent and is to be denied; that the spirituality of man in God's likeness is man's only real condition; and that this fact is to be cherished.
The utterance of Truth in spiritual understanding is the activity of the Christ challenging and dissipating the lie of material belief. This utterance, this declaration and realization of the presence of God, takes one by and over the depressions of animal magnetism, arms him for resistance to the threats of evil belief, holds him safe in the heaven of divine presence. Truly it is not how one feels at any given moment, or in any hour, but what he is listening to in his inmost thought which determines his experience. The fidelity with which one keeps aware of true spiritual being fosters courage, stabilizes patience, is forever renewing the joyous expectation that good will prevail. The grace of God maintains its own presence. Holding to His grace brings the divine answer in ways appreciable to the present need.
One who can know God as Father-Mother is very fortunate. Dangers can beset loss of the significance of God as Father-Mother. Intellectualism can perceive the truth; obedience to divine Love lives it. God is Mind; man, the idea. God is the origin as creator; man, the derivative as creation. The Scriptures declare God to be Love. Then His idea, the creation, the derivative, must express God as Love if truly reflecting the being of God. Mrs. Eddy, the author of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," reaches this conclusion when she names God as Father-Mother and man—creation—as the beloved son.
To know God as Father-Mother places the individual directly in the care of cherishing, sheltering divine Love. Sometime, somewhere, every individual must cry out for God as Father-Mother and come home to the shelter of the everlasting arms in this understanding of being the beloved son of a love ministering, care taking Father-Mother God. That is where Jesus lived—at home with his heavenly Father. And because he lived there he proved the truths that raised the dead.
God-bestowed grace includes loyalty, courage, tenderness. It beautifies behavior. It has no claws, no sting. There can be no friction in grace, no resistance to good, no rebellion, no unhappiness. Grace does not condone imperfections, but it softens with love and patience one's dealing with one's own imperfections and those of others. The enlightened love which can be aware of the unreality of evil while disposing of it—what is this but grace? And to accept the discipline of remaining silent when the temptation to censure is present may sometimes be the greatest grace of all.
And how to obtain this lovely quality, how to keep it? By doing the will of God as faithfully as it can be done. Christ Jesus said (John 7:17), "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." Surely he who strives to do God's will comes to know the doctrine of grace. He will perceive that more grace will lift the entire Christian Science movement to a higher level. The world itself can be transfigured as Christian grace is sought and lived.
Our beloved Leader also indicates that grace enters into behavior, even into health, in her words in Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 354), "A little more grace, a motive made pure, a few truths tenderly told, a heart softened, a character subdued, a life consecrated, would restore the right action of the mental mechanism, and make manifest the movement of body and soul in accord with God."