Tuesday, September 21, 2004
The difference between Christianity and all of the other religions out there can be summed up in one five-letter word: GRACE! Grace is the unmerited favor of God. What that means is that we as fallen people can not do anything to earn, work for, or put God in a position where He is obligated to bless us either with salvation or any other spiritual blessing. It is completely of Him. Romans 11: 34-36 says, “For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” The entire genuine Christian experience has its foundation on the grace that God shows us. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 says, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” The sufficiency of God’s grace for our daily lives flows from the infinite power and goodness of God.
Our future hope of heaven is based on the grace of God. We can be thankful and rest in the confidence that since God has shown us grace He will complete the work He began (Philippians 1:6). Romans 5:2 says that we stand in the grace of God and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. This means that we live in a position of grace now knowing that we are saved and will remain saved so that we will see the glory of God when he brings us to His heaven. Our hope of heaven is in the grace of God. In Ephesians 2:4-7, the Apostle Paul writes, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Grace is found in Jesus (1 Cor. 1:4, 2 Cor. 9:13-15). Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:9 that in order for us to experience the spiritual riches of Christ He had to become poor. His humiliation on the Cross, through His blood, secured for believers these riches that are only found in Jesus (Eph. 1:6-7).
This grace in our lives causes us to praise God with thanksgiving. Second Corinthians 4:15 says, “For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” Peter teaches in his first epistle that God’s grace is our motivation toward holiness (1 Peter 1:13-17). When we are struggling we can go to the Lord to receive from Him grace to help us (Hebrews 4:16). Paul went to the Lord in prayer on three occasions to ask for alleviation of his trial and the Lord responded that His grace was sufficient (2 Cor. 11:7-10). Finally, let me encourage you with the same words with which Paul encouraged Timothy: “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” We need to live lives of confident strength as Christians. We do this through the reliance on all of the grace that God has given to us, is giving to us, and the grace that is yet future. As we go through life, we can face all things with confidence, hope, and praise, bringing glory to God all because of that five-letter word, GRACE!