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Understanding the Grace of Our God ~ Part 2

 

Super Abundant Grace

The apostle John begins his Gospel with an introduction of Jesus Christ and who He was[is].  He tells us that Christ was with God the Father from eternity, that Jesus is the Word Incarnate and that all things were made by Him; and then He states that He is Grace and Truth and that grace comes through Jesus Christ.

In the following passage is John’s testimony of what Christ was [is] like. This passage speaks of the grace and truth that is in Christ and that, indeed, He is full of the grace of God; John describes the grace that is in Jesus in terms of “grace for grace” meaning “grace upon grace”, or an ABUNDANCE of grace.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God. 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 1:8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 

1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace [charis] and truth came by Jesus Christ.

In this passage charis [grace] is used four times and all four times it is ascribed to Jesus Christ. In verse 14, John, in his description of Christ, says that He is full of grace and truth; in verse 16 John further states that it is because of Christ’s fullness of these things that we can receive of His grace. Then John adds “grace for grace” which simply means “a super abundance of grace”.

A more modern translation renders this as:

John 1:16  1:17 For the Law was given through Moses, but grace [the unearned, undeserved favor of God – charisand truth came through Jesus Christ. (AMP)

John describes Jesus being “full of grace and truth” inferring that He is the epitome of grace, loving-kindness,  mercy, beauty, pleasantness, favor, truth; and all the things that are attributed to the meaning of charis and chesed. 

Verse 16 says in modern language: “For out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift].” 

It is from the superabundance of His grace that we receive grace, and there is an endless supply of His graces [gifts] even after the initial gift of pardon and forgiveness of sin for the repentant.  

We can conclude then that it is from our relationship with Jesus that we receive MANY beneficial gifts toward salvation, and not only salvation, but everything we need on our journey toward salvation.

When God initially calls an individual (which in itself is an act of God’s grace), it is because of what God WILLS for that individual and not because of anything that person has done. God intervenes on a person’s behalf to open his eyes to see God’s truth and to understand His Word. This is a priceless gift that is completely apart from anything that a man or woman could do to deserve God’s calling.

If that person answers God’s call upon his life, repents of his past sins and turns to God in faith; then the next gift is the gift of mercy upon the application of Christ’s sacrifice and the forgiveness of those past sins. God then gives the gift of His Holy Spirit which guides the person in the understanding of God’s laws, precepts, principles, statutes, judgments, and the whole Word of God.

The indwelling of God’s Spirit empowers that person to live righteously and to keep all of God’s commandments. Being forgiven and justified by faith the called-out enter into a relationship with their Lord and Savior and they set in their minds the commitment to stop sinning and to move forward toward a new life with Christ, building on the relationship by being firmly established in Him.

God’s grace is not just in the calling and the forgiveness of sin, but His grace goes on and on and if we abide in God’s presence and seek His gifts as John 15 admonishes us to, God’s grace keeps flowing to us in all kinds of wonderful and marvelous benefits; it is a life-long gift for those who please God!

What John is declaring is just a short sentence “[out] of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace“,but there is so much involved in just these few words when it comes to the grace of God.  We are taught throughout the Bible of the many benefits that are ours through the loving-kindnesses of God. 

Because God loves us and created us for His glory and to be His children He lavishly POURS out His gifts upon those who are beloved by Him. His gifts are not only for this life, but for those who please Him and belong to Him are given the promises of what He has planned for those who stay steadfast to Him. We know from all the promises contained in God’s Word that He has a wonderful inheritance laid up for all those who are faithful to the end; that inheritance involves a world that will be full of all goodness and righteousness.

If we have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we are connected to the source that supplies us with a continuous flow of favor, grace, blessings, spiritual gifts, the fruit of His spirit, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, power, forgiveness, healings, protection, and the list goes on and on.

Do a Bible study of all the ways in which God pours out His gifts upon His people and you will be amazed and full of awe and gratefulness. I know now why charis is associated with praise, joy, thanks, benefit, favor, gift, grace, joy, liberality, pleasure, gratitude. All of these things come to us through God’s GRACE and STEADFAST LOVE and because we are His. But this is only if we are zealously walking as He walks and if we are living in the light of His truth.

The realization of the grace of God, what it truly is, makes us want to worship and adore Him even more for all that He does for us and for all that He gives, giving to the point of His sacrificial death on the cross which makes it possible for us to be spared the death penalty ourselves. We could never repay Him for all that He gives us and He does not expect us to, but only that we appreciate what He does to the point of desiring to live for Him with all of our hearts and not for the god of this world.

Grace upon grace means that Jesus is the very personification of grace [agape love] and from His grace He supplies our every need (not necessarily our every desire) as He is making us into His very own image. He is not bound to give us anything; neither is He obligated to do what He does for us and He does not owe us anything for anything that we could possibly do in our own strength. 

Grace and mercy go together for when we accept God’s grace we receive favor that we do not deserve and God’s grace in the form of His mercy spares us from the penalty of death; and since all mankind has sinned, all who have ever lived deserve to die.

Ephesian 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

God supplies us with our every need just as He supplied food and protection for the ancient Israelites on their journey to the physical Promised Land. Through the grace of God we are given all things necessary for life and according to His purpose for us. It is His desire that we achieve entrance into His kingdom as a spiritual son or daughter and to live with Him forever; therefore He gives us everything we need to make that possible if we seek those things and ask for them.

Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

David knew much about the grace and loving-kindness of God and Psalm 103 is a reflection of God’s grace that He pours out on His people.

 Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:  103:3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;  103:4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 103:5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 103:6 The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 103:7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.  103:8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 103:9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 103:10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 103:11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

Grace flows from both God the Father and from the Son. God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

2 Thessalonians 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

It is very important for all of us to recognize grace in the form of God’s blessings and benefits which He so lavishly bestows upon us, and to be constantly thankful for them. God does not treat us as we deserve (Psalm 103:10). He blesses us”immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). All we can do is be thankful and praise such a loving and generous God and we show our gratefulness by serving Him and obeying Him.

All of God’s benefits and gifts are freely given toward His glorification and His purpose of creating us to become complete in His image and to fill a position in His Kingdom so as to serve and help others. The writers of Scripture used charis in many other situations, but they applied it especially to mean the free unmerited pardon of God; but God also showers us with His gifts and powers, given to us to meet our spiritual needs and to help us fulfill His expectation of us.

As we saw from last week’s study, the grace of God is definitely not a license to keep on sinning as most of the modern “Christian” world purports. Yes, grace is unmerited pardon and mercy, but rather than giving us permission to continue in sin, the opposite is true!

Although we could never repay God for what He has given to us, we owe Him everything, even our very lives. How do we repay Him? Paul tells us that we must become a living sacrifice and allow God to refashion us into His image, taking on the very mind of God which is to internalize God’s divine nature within ourselves and taking on the character of God; and it is all to His glory and not our own. 

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Deuteronomy 14:2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Grace leads us to salvation by means of washing us clean from our sin through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, and it is grace that empowers us to stay free of sin. Without grace we would cease to exist. With grace we have a wonderful hope and know that God through His freely given gifts makes it possible to someday live with Him as a member of His own family throughout eternity.

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

As we journey toward the Promised land, God loads us up with grace upon grace (a fountain of grace that flows from Him) which enables us to overcome our human nature and to become in the very image of our great God thereby glorifying Him and not ourselves. God graciously gives us all things that we need to obey His commandments and do good works.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

You may ask: but if we have to obey God in order to keep what He freely gives us, is that not a way of earning it?  What! does not Philippians clearly say that we have to work at our salvation?

Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ] 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Verse 12 may appear to be saying that we must work out our own salvation but the very next verse says that it is God which effectively works in us: “both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in us the longing and the ability to fulfill our purpose] for His good pleasure.” (AMP)

In other words, it is really God that is doing the work (working within us) but it is the believer’s responsibility to do what he has been called by God to do, and to live by every Word of  God; God even gives us the means to do so with the gift of His Holy Spirit.

God begins the good work He is doing in us, and if we yield and participate in that work, it is the Lord that does the finishing of that work until the day Christ returns [or the day we die].

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Grace for Ministry

It is God’s grace that enables and empowers men and women to serve in ministry. It should be at the very core of their ministry to faithfully demonstrate and administer God’s grace [agape love] in its various forms.

Romans 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Romans 15:15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,

1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Can a Child of God Fall From Grace?

God shows us through Israel’s experiences in the wilderness that many failed to reach the physical Promised Land even after they were called out of Egypt. This is a lesson intended to help keep us determined to stay in alignment with God’s awesome purpose and avoid falling from grace. The account of the Israelites in the wilderness is an analogy of how it is possible for believers to fall away from the truth, just as some Israelites never made it to the Promised Land because of their refusal to trust and believe in God and His promises.

Numbers 14:2 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 14:23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:

There are many places that show that we can forfeit the grace that has been given to us and we can even lose God’s Holy Spirit if we neglect so great a salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2:2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

1 Samuel 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 

It is the ones who ENDURE to the end that are saved.

How do we insure that we do not neglect our calling and shipwreck our faith? Paul gives us advice on how we are to lay aside every sin and to look to Jesus, and here again, Paul reiterates that it is Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. 

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Yes, we can fall from God’s grace. The Bible clearly states that those who have been given the Holy Spirit and given a chance to become a son or daughter of God can lose out if they despise the precious gifts that have been given to them, just like Esau who for a bowl of pottage gave up his birthright. Because Esau was the first born son, the birthright was his without any effort to obtain it on his own, but because he did not value what had been rightfully (and freely) given to him he lost it.

Genesis 25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

A Parable About Grace (In my own words) 

Once upon a time there was a very good king who was also very rich. He owned much land that was a good land, with many gardens, orchards, vineyards, babbling brooks, verdant hills and valleys. This king had two sons that he loved very much. One day he wanted to bless them so he gave each one a small parcel of his land. Each parcel was of equal value and there were gardens, vineyards, and orchards on each piece of land along with a fairly nice house in which each of the sons could live in.

The first son thanked his father and immediately set out to care for the land. He pruned the trees in the orchards and trimmed back the grape vines. He cultivated and fertilized the soil for the gardens, planted seeds, and worked hard to keep the gardens and vineyards free from weeds and thistles. He made sure that all would have plenty of water by installing an irrigation system.

As for the house, he enhanced the looks of the house by fixing it up and painting it in attractive, bright colors and then built on addictions to make his house larger for his growing family.  He also built other buildings with nice apartments so that he could hire servants and provide them with places to live, and in this way he could do even more with the land that his father had given to him. 

His orchards, gardens, and vineyards produced so much produce and wine that he was able to take truckloads to the local villages and give food to the poor and elderly. Whenever the son needed advice or even supplies to better care for his land he went to his father and his father freely gave him everything he needed.

On the other hand, the second son was too busy to thank his father, he was too distracted by the things going on at the local villages to spend that much time caring for his land. The trees in the orchards and the grape vines were not pruned properly, the weeds took over the garden and when rain was sparse he had no way of keeping his gardens and vineyards watered so they all dried up. He had no time and was not interested in keeping his house well maintained and before long it became dilapidated and filled with mice and termites. As far as giving food and wine to the poor, there was nothing to give for the land became barren.

After many years the king became very old and one day he knew that he was about to die but he felt very responsible for his kingdom and toward the people in his kingdom. He very much desired that his kingdom and the people in it would continue to prosper and to be cared for after he was gone. Which one of the sons do you think he left his kingdom to?

Both sons had been given a gift of land without doing one thing to earn it; they had freely received their land as gifts from their father and at any time they could have asked their father for even more gifts to help them better care for the land (for which the father freely gave). One son took proper care of the gift he was given and even built upon it, while the other son neglected his gift and let it go to ruin.

It is the same with God; He freely calls certain ones to become His sons; He freely gives them a portion of His Holy Spirit; He gives spiritual gifts and whenever they need advice, or wisdom, or knowledge, and the means to grow and produce, God freely gives them what they need.

This is how GRACE works. It is not a license to keep sinning or to just sit around and do nothing to care for the gifts God gives us. God freely gives to us to see what kind of stewards we will be of the gifts freely given to us and if He will be able to trust us to help His Kingdom flourish and prosper when it is here in all of its fullness on earth.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 

25:16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 25:17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 25:18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 

5:20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 

25:22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 25:24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 

25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.  25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 

Notice that it was through God’s grace that these servants received their talents, they did not have to earn what was freely given to them by their Lord, but God did expect them to work at increasing, growing, and enhancing the talents that they had been given; in other words to be good stewards of the gifts that He so freely gives.

The idea that we never have to work or do anything to enter the Kingdom of God is just not biblical.

Adam was given the Garden of Eden free of cost; he did not have to earn it or pay for it but then God gave Adam a job to do; he was to dress the Garden and keep (maintain) it and not only was he to manage the Garden of Eden but he was also to have dominion (stewardship) over all the other living creatures.

Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Genesis 2:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God they were thrust out of the Garden that God had so freely given to them, for they had proven to God that they could not be trusted to obey Him in all things. Their rebellion cut them off from God and they lost their privilege to live in His presence for God cannot live with willful rebellion.

Even though it is God’s work in us that is making it possible to be made into Christ’s image and to make us fit for eternal life, nevertheless, God give us works as stewardship of His gifts that we are to do as our responsibility and to maintain our relationship with Him. It is sin that separates us from God and if not repented of, the sin, in effect, steals the things of God which were freely given to us.

Matthew 25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…

Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

The apostle John tells us that some day we shall be like Jesus Christ. And if He is a God that is merciful, gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, these are the things we must be  in the process of becoming if our goal is to become like Jesus; to have the mind He has and to be made in His image.

1st John 3:22 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Gospel of Grace

Paul wrote a lot about grace, God’s unmerited favor given to the undeserving.

Romans 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

And wherever the apostle traveled, he spoke about the wonders of grace; he call it the Gospel of Grace.

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul knew firsthand from his own experience what it meant to be freely forgiven and to be set free from the controlling power of sin. He described himself as the worst of sinners because he persecuted and imprisoned many believers (both men and women) prior to his conversion. He never forgot what God had done for him and he continuously brought it up in his epistles how he was the chief of all sinners, not even worthy to be called an apostle. The realization of the grace that he had been given in spite of the kind of person he had been kept him humble.

Acts 22:4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Once we accept Christ’s atoning sacrificial death on our behalf, the penalty for our sin is considered to be paid in full, and the power of sin over us is broken. When we go on to receive God’s Holy Spirit it comes and dwells in us and we become dead to sin replacing sin with becoming spiritually alive in Christ. The Bible compares our conversion experience to receiving a heart transplant and becoming a new person.

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Paul admonished those who have received this grace to continue in the grace of God.

Acts 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

It is God’s grace that is able to take our weaknesses and convert them into godly strength. It is only by God’s working in our hearts and by His Holy Spirit working within us that we are able to do anything that is of any value on our path toward God’s kingdom.

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The apostle Peter exhorts us “to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)

God’s Gracious Loving Kindness

The Person that showed His glory to Moses and pronounced that He was a God abundant in mercy and graciousness, longsuffering and goodness, full of lovingkindness and truth was Jesus Christ for we are told in the New Testament that the Rock that was with the Israelites in the wilderness and providing for them was Jesus Christ. This is the God who talked to and showed Himself to Moses.

1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Jesus is the epitome of what it means to be full of grace, who is merciful and shows steadfast loving-kindness; He is our example of what it is to be filled with grace; to be like Him must be our number one goal in this life.

Romans 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Everything we are and everything we hope to be is because of God’s grace. Think about it; even our birth into this life was a gift freely given to us by our Creator before we were even conscious. We ourselves had nothing to do with the fact that we came into this world. Life itself is an unmerited gift and likewise so is eternal life. The grace of God is the means by which we can live forever with Him in His Kingdom and it will be because of what Christ has done, and not because of what we do… and it is all because of God’s unmerited favor.

Grace is God’s undeserved favor, His unmerited love. It is something that God gives us, or does for us, or enables us to do, that we did not in any way earn, or deserve, or merit. Everything we do in our Christian walk is done by God’s grace. We are to live by God’s grace freely given to us.

Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

When we come to understand what Grace is really all about, we come to see that it is the greatest gift ever given to mankind because grace entails all that God is and it is He alone who provides the way to eternal life for those who choose to receive His free gift and then follow Him throughout eternity.

The reality of what God’s grace has done for us should fill each of us with eternal gratefulness. Not only has it provided for our salvation if we are among those who rise up in the resurrection to spiritual life, but it also enables us to live a rich abundant life in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

John 10:10 ….I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

God’s grace is available to those He has called to be His children at all times and for every problem and every need we may have, but we must go to Him to receive it

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

God’s grace comes to us entirely unbidden and even when we are hopeless sinners (Romans 5:6-8). Grace represents, not just a one-time unmerited pardon for our sins, but a multitude of benefits and graces which are entirely unearned and continuously bestowed so that we might be made into the sons of God. This is truly humbling and makes us want to never go back to a condition of not being under God’s grace. God’s grace frees us from slavery to sin, guilt, and shame. God’s grace allows us to pursue all that is good and righteous and to integrate those things into our lives. It is by God’s grace that enables us to be all that God intends us to be. The grace of God is truly a priceless gift!

The Grace of God That Extends Out Through Eternity

“Yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich”.

Before Jesus Christ came to earth as a tiny baby in the flesh He was rich beyond any words of human expression. If one could count all the riches of this world together and multiply them many times, the total sum would be but a grain of sand in comparison with what He had. Jesus was rich beyond all imagination!

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus had it all, all the riches of eternity along with the glory that He had with the Father and yet He gladly gave it all up for you and for me so that through His poverty we could become rich. Not with the temporal riches of that which can be gained in this physical world, but with everlasting spiritual riches that are promised throughout Scripture.

Jesus did this not out of duty or obligation but because He loves us and wants us to become joint heirs with Him. If we are keeping His commandments He calls us His friends.

John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

In these verses we see the heart and mind of Jesus and what He feels towards those who love Him enough to keep all that He commands. If we are keeping His commandments, Jesus considers us as His friends. Not only did Jesus call us His friends because of our love toward Him, He also tells us in many places that He also has made us joint-heirs with Him; He wants to give us an inheritance.

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

God the Father and Jesus Christ made the predetermined decision to share the inheritance with those who belong to them. The Book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of the things that we will be freely given as an inheritance. But we must always keep in mind that even though we are joint-heirs with Jesus it is not about what we deserve; rather it is all through the grace of God that we are to inherit these things.

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 

21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 

21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

In John 17 Christ prayed that God the Father would restore Him to His previous glory that He had before He came to earth as a man in the flesh.

John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Jesus describes the union He has with the Father and prayed that those whom the Father had given to Him would be one with them as well. He prayed that His disciples would share in the kind of glory that His Father had given to Him.

John 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Philippians 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

If we belong to Christ, we are not simply sinners saved by grace, we become friends of Jesus, children of God and partakers of Christ’s inheritance. If we endure to the end we will be made into the very image of Christ and share in the glory that He has and it will be for all eternity. All this because of the abundant grace of God. “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for [upon] grace.” (John 1:17)

Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Jesus gave up all to come to earth and to die for our sins. In Isaiah 53 the prophet Isaiah describes the selflessness of Christ in being willing to die on our behalf that we may be healed (spiritually) and have life eternal.

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The fact that Christ died for us is also stated in 1 Corinthians 15:3:

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

This is all because of God’s grace and because of His steadfast love for us. “Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor that ye through His poverty might be made rich.” Because of what Christ has done for us, God has granted that we may inherit all things with Him and have everlasting life if we embrace all that He is about.

David knew from the depths of his being what it meant to be freely pardoned and to receive God’s grace when he repented of his sins, including the sin with Bathsheba and Uriah (See Psalm 51); and no one writes more about praising God for all His wonders and for all of His loving-kindnesses.

Psalm 30:11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; 30:12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

When David came to understand all of this he was filled with awe and wonder and wrote many songs of praise for His Great Redeemer. Can we too praise God as David did with all of our hearts for what He has done for us?

Psalm 149:3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. 149:4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. 149:5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;

God’s grace is the most powerful, life-changing force in the world. It is a miracle, Brethren. Do we often stop what we are doing within each day and think of our calling and of all the gifts that have been so freely given to us as a miracle, the miracle of GRACE?

Even when we were sinners with no hope, God the Father gave His only begotten Son, making it possible that we could be spared the sentence of death and instead of dying go on to eternal life to live with Him in His Family forever. God’s grace is not only miraculous, it is also an EVERLASTING grace that will go on for all eternity for those called to be His obedient children. What should our response be to this miracle that we call grace?

Just as we trust in Christ’s substitutional death for our salvation, we are to live a life of trust and dependence upon Him. It is our faith, expressed through obedience, that pleases Him.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Someday the earth will be covered with the effects of God’s grace [outpouring of agape love]. There will be no more evil in the world; decay and destruction will be a thing of the past. The world will become a beautiful place to live where Jesus Christ and His righteousness will reign supreme forever.

As we saw in the previous article, according to Strong’s Concordance the definition of “grace” includes “acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace(- ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank(-s, -worthy“. How fitting that grace is all of these things, for the effects of the kind of grace that God offers to mankind will eventually bring about all these things upon the earth.

Grace is the means that brings about salvation and it is the opposite of license to keep sinning. Grace is about unmerited pardon which opens the way to righteousness and salvation and ultimately the whole world will be filled with the beauty of God’s grace. This will bring about much joy, delight, abundance, liberation (from evil and all of its effects) and rejoicing (thankfulness) for all that God has done. It is through the power of grace that God is recreating mankind for all those who will receive it.

Isaiah 45:8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.

God extends His favor over all those who will accept His offer of grace and come to love Him with a steadfast love and commit in their hearts to live the rest of their lives for Him. The grace of God will be poured out on His children throughout eternity. He wants to shower us with all good things. His grace is an everlasting grace.

Zechariah 4:7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace [The Hebrew word for grace here is chen – Strong’s #2580 means: favor, gracious, pleasant, precious, well-favored. From chanan; graciousness, i.e. Subjective (kindness, favor) or objective (beauty) — favour, grace(-ious), pleasant, precious, (well-)favoured.] unto it.

What an awesome and loving God we have!

Have a meaningful and great Sabbath and also Feast of Pentecost, my friends, 

 

Constance

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