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Two Kinds of Grace

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


According to biblical scholars, there are two kinds of grace and not just one as most people think. The Bible demonstrates both of them.

  1. General or Common Grace
  2. Special or Selective Grace

Both general grace and special grace are undeserving, but they are different.


Grace: Definition

Grace is defined in Christianity as the free and unmerited favor of God. Grace results in the salvation of sinners. It also results in the receiving of blessings.

According to Wikipedia, grace is defined as the love and mercy given to people by God because He desires them to have it, not necessarily because of anything they have done to earn it.

Grace is the free and undeserved help that God gives. Grace is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God that takes the form of divine favor, mercy, compassion, and love.

In the Old Testament, God's grace was given to the nation of Israel. This didn't happen because of any merits on Israel's part.

Grace in the New Testament was displayed through the work and ministry of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote 13 books of the New Testament. He often used the theme of grace because it is an important doctrine of theology. He said, "For by grace are you saved through faith. And that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Of the 170 times the word "grace" is in the Bible, Paul used the word 97 times himself, more than anyone else.


1. General Grace

General grace is the unmerited favor God gives to everyone everywhere. Grace is given to everyone no matter who the person is. Grace is shown without regard to one's worth or what the person deserves.

General grace or common grace is illustrated in the scripture that says, "For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike" (Matthew 5:45). All people are recipients of the sunlight and rain whether they are evil or good.

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No one deserves God's grace or can automatically get it from God because He dispenses His grace on whomever, wherever, and whenever He chooses. That's why it is referred to as "general" or "common."


2. Special Grace

Special grace is given to a targeted group of recipients or an individual. Throughout the Bible, people were given special grace.

  • God gave Noah grace to build an ark at a time when it didn't rain from above the way it does today. He was met with criticisms, but he didn't give up because of God's special grace.
  • God gave Moses grace to deliver the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt. Even though it took 40 years to reach the promised land, Moses was instrumental because of God's grace to lead them out of Egypt and across the Red Sea.
  • Joshua was given the grace to complete the task of leading the Israelites into the promised land after the death of Moses. He led thousands of people across the Jordan River. He could not have done it without that special grace of God.
  • David defeated Goliath with his slingshot and cut off his head with Goliath's own sword because of God's grace.
  • Because of God's grace, Joseph was allowed to endure after he was sold into slavery by his own brothers. He ended up as the second in command of Egypt because of God's special grace. That's why he could tell his brothers, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive" (Genesis 50:20).

God has given you the special grace to complete a task He has assigned to you. Therefore, there is no reason for you not to do what He has given you the special grace to do.

Kind of GraceAnother NameWho Is It For?

General Grace

Common Grace

Everyone Everywhere

Special Grace

Selective Grace

Designated Groups or Individuals

Aretha Franklin Sings "Amazing Grace"

Whether grace is general or special, it is still amazing. Listen to Aretha Franklin sing
Amazing Grace in the video above.

The Queen of Soul died at the age of 76 on Thursday, August 16, 2018 from pancreatic cancer. However, she did what she did while she was alive according to God's general grace that others also received. She also did what she did because of the special grace God gave her to sing and entertain millions of people.


Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on August 17, 2018:

R Talloni, Well said! Thanks for your comments about God's grace. I felt the anointing on your words as I read them. Blessings to you!

RTalloni on August 16, 2018:

Indeed, He makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and He sends the rains to both the just and unjust. We all have much to be thankful for in His common grace.

And yet how much more Christians have to be thankful in the grace of Jesus the Christ that comes to us through the love of God, letting us enjoy His fellowship through His Holy Spirit.

Christians need to focus on His great and merciful grace lest we become complacent and wind up taking it for granted. Taking time to thankfully focus and thank Him is important.

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