Grace is often defined as “unmerited favor.” OK, as far as it goes, I guess, but what if there’s more?
Found this while re-reading through the Canons of Dordt. It’s in the section on the 3rd & 4th heads, or main points, of doctrine, article 7, which discusses the point that God has revealed more now than He did in OT times. God does what He does for His own good pleasure and His love we receive is undeserved – or “unmerited.” But the article continues: “Therefore, those who receive so much grace, beyond and in spite of all they deserve, ought to acknowledge it with humble and thankful hearts…”
Did you get that? “Beyond and in spite of” what we deserve. God’s grace isn’t just unmerited. It is “demerited.” It’s not just that we haven’t done anything to deserve or merit it. It’s that we’ve done what deserves just the opposite.
Now. That’s amazing, isn’t it?
And, as an additional thought, why Adam can’t properly be said to have received grace before the Fall – at least not in the sense the Canons are talking about grace in this section.