2 Corinthians 6:1,
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
The word GRACE has probably become one of the most misused, misunderstood and misrepresented word in the bible.
Unfortunately, some have either fallen or have been deceived by their interpretation of the word GRACE.
When Grace is used as an excuse for promiscuity or an excuse for an indiscriminate life of sin, then we are in trouble. Paul tells the church not to receive the grace of God in vain, don’t put it on the shelf.
Paul addresses the Romans’ church in Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
If anyone knew much about grace, it was Paul the Apostle, Paul had no doubt in his heart that he was saved by grace and had nothing to do with how good he was, it was not based on his qualifications but the grace of God.
In Genesis 6:5-8,
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
The first time we see the word grace mentioned in the bible it is to do with salvation. This is what is referred to by many bible scholars as election by grace. That God will choose a person not based on merit but grace.
Grace, what is it?
It is God's Riches At Christ's Expense.
Dr Michael Brown says this of Grace, “Grace is His merciful, enabling help, His ongoing empowerment, His continued working on our behalf”.
Dr Michael Brown also speaks on Grace based on A M Hunter expression of the word grace, “Grace means primarily the free, forgiving love of God in Christ to sinners and the operation of that love in the lives of Christians."
Let us take a moment and look at the different aspects of grace, because I am convinced that if we have a true perspective of grace we will be able to apply it to our Christian walk. Paul tells the Corinthian Church in 2 Cor 9:8 “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work”. When Paul says all Grace it therefore means there are variations of Grace for different occasions. God’s grace is vast and cannot be confined to saving grace and the law only.
I’m not sure it is not humanly possible for us to completely comprehend the magnitude, the depth and width of the grace that God offers to us.
- “Common” Grace
First and foremost, God loves everyone. This is a “common” grace that He gives to all people whether they acknowledge Him or not. When John tells us in John 1:14 about the only begotten full of Grace and truth. That is the common grace available for everyone. Matthew 5:45 tells us, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
- Saving Grace - Ephesians 2:8
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” By His saving grace, God has paid the ransom for everyone who will receive His gift of salvation. It is not based on how good we are, how special, how hard working but His unmerited favour. God tells the children of Israel He has given them the land they are going into not because of their goodness, but His saving grace.
- Sanctifying Grace - Philippians 1:6, Titus 2:11-12,
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age"
God’s grace teaches us to live a life that brings Him glory, immediately after we are saved, it goes to work to purify or sanctify us. God’s grace does not work in isolation we also play a part in our purification through obedience, but ultimately you have to count on His sanctifying grace and know that “He who began a good work in you is faithful to bring it to completion”
- Provisional Grace - 2 Corinthians 8:9, James 1:16-17
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."
Through His provisional grace, God provides for all our needs. Through His grace we are provided for. When we have an understanding of God’s provisional grace we will lack no good thing, because we know that God will not withhold any good thing from us, James says, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
- Miraculous Grace - Acts 6:8
History has shown how miraculous God’s grace can be, when a man is full of God’s grace, there is nothing that man can do to that man, that man or woman will not flinch from persecution. God works miracles through such men who recognise God’s grace upon their lives. We are told that “Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people”. Through His grace, God still does miraculous things every day. God is still performing miracles today, through those who trust Him and His word.
- Serving Grace - Ephesians 4:7, 1 Peter 4:10
"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift."
As believers, we have all been given grace to serve, grace to be good stewards, Grace to be diligent in what we do for God. The Bible tells us “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Each believer has received a measure of grace, in order to serve diligently, ask the Holy spirit for help if you feel inadequate, because you have a measure of grace to serve.
- Sustaining Grace - 2 Cor 12:9-10, Heb 4:16
There is sustaining grace, sometimes we feel we can do all things in our own strength, sometimes we feel we can live a life of holiness, because we are saved, speak in tongues and know the scriptures. When Paul was feeling all beaten and battered he cried out to Jesus three times. Jesus said “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul then goes on to elaborate on his understanding of God’s grace, "Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong”.
The Bible also encourages us, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need”. It is God’s grace that sustains and enables us to live a life of holiness it has nothing to do with us but His sustaining Grace.
Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
How glorious and marvellous is God’s grace to those who have an understanding of it.
The more accurately we define it, the more we can live by it and stay victorious.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…... sustain and keep us. Amen.