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The concept of unmerited favor. In the OT, God’s actions are suffused with grace. God loved Israel in spite of its puny numbers (Deut 7:6-9) and rescued the community from the howling wilderness, encircling it with care (Deut 32:10). God kept covenant with Israel even when the covenant was violated by the people (Ezek 16:8) and brought the captives home from Babylon (Isa 49:14-18). In the NT grace connotes God’s favor shown sinners through Jesus Christ. Historically condemned as “sinners,” Gentiles gain entrance to the messianic community through the “gift” (Rom 3:24) or “free gift” (Rom 5:15) of grace (Gal 2:17-21; Rom 4:16). But Paul cautioned against using grace as a license to sin, lest believers “accept the grace of God in vain” (2Cor 6:1).