What is grace?.
Firstly, grace is God’s divine ability:
1 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things may have an abundance for every good work.” The first example of grace in the Bible is found in the Garden of Eden. God said to Adam and Eve. In Genesis 1:28 we read, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion ….” We notice that God first blessed them then He told them to be fruitful and multiply. They did not have to do something to be blessed, but from a position of blessing and grace they received the ability to be fruitful. This is grace!
The same applies to us; we do not have to do something in order to be blessed, for the Bible says God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) Even if we feel that we are weak and far away from God, we can still be blessed because of God’s grace. In fact, when we woke up this morning, we woke up with God’s blessing and favor. This did not depend on our prayers or our performance! Therefore, we do not do something in order to be blessed, but from a position of blessing we have the grace to do that what God wants us to do. For example, we do not pray, because we must pray, but because we want to pray. More than that, we pray because we enjoy praying!
We read in Philippians 2:13, “… for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Not only does God tell us what to do, but He works in our hearts to make us willing to do so.
Secondly, grace is the unmerited, undeserved and unearned favor and kindness of God.
The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Everything we receive is by grace through faith. Grace is what God does, faith is what we do. We receive by faith that what God gives us by grace. Romans 3:24 says, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” When Jesus dies for us on the cross, His final words were, “it is finished.” In the original language this means, “I have paid the price in full!”
When we received Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we not only received the gift of eternal life, but we also received God’s favour and forgiveness. In Ephesians 1:6 we read that, “To the praise and glory of His grace by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.” Another translation says that: “We have been highly favored in the Beloved.” God the Father sees us in Christ. We are forgiven, loved by God and He is pleased with us, because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more or less. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s blessings. Jesus has already earned everything for us on the cross. For example, God does not heal us because we have earned our healing by something we have done because Jesus has already earned our healing on the cross for us.
Although there is nothing we can do that will turn God’s heart towards us, however, what we do will turn our hearts towards Him. For example, we turn our hearts towards Him when we pray, read our Bibles and obey His word. Good Christian disciplines are for our sakes, and not for His sake.
How do we receive the grace of God?:
Although we cannot earn the grace of God, we need to know how to receive and experience the grace of God. We read in Romans 5:17b “Those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one Christ Jesus.” Therefore we need to know how to receive the grace of God
Firstly we receive the grace of God through the word of God: We read in Acts 20:32, “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” When we read, meditate and confess the word of God, grace is released into our lives. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12 that the word of God is “alive and quick…” The word quick, come from the Greek word, “energes.” Therefore, supernatural, divine energy flows into our lives when we read, meditate and confess the word of God. The more we do so, the more we will experience the grace of God!
Secondly, we receive the grace of God through the Holy Spirit: In Hebrews 10:29, the Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Grace.” In Acts 1:8 it says, “You shall receive power when the Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be My witnesses …” Grace to witness and preach the gospel is received through the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, we read in Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.” When we yield to the Holy Spirit, grace is released to give us the victory over the desires of the flesh. The Holy Spirit will take away the desires of the flesh when we walk in the Spirit!
Thirdly, grace is released through our relationships with other believers in the church: Through our relationship with other believers, God imparts to us His grace. He has placed gifts, ministries and resources in the church to bless us, to empower us and to help us. We read in Acts 4:32-33, “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; …. And great grace was upon them all.” Through their unity and relationships in the church, grace was released to preach the gospel and to perform miracles.
In Psalm 133:1 and 3, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity … for there the Lord commands the blessing, life forevermore.” In unity and relationships with other Christians, God releases His blessings. In Psalm 36:8 it says, “I am abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house.” God’s resources and grace often flows from God, via other believers, to us.
Fourthly, grace comes through humility and repentance: The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:5, “God gives grace to the humble…” Pride is the greatest obstacle for receiving God’s grace. We also read in Isaiah 57:15 where God says that, “God revives the hearts of the humble …’’ As we humble ourselves and repent, God will revive us and give us His grace.
Furthermore, when we humble ourselves and repent of a particular sin, grace is often released to give us victory over that sin. For example, if the Holy Spirit convicts us of anger and we repent of anger, then grace is released to give us victory over anger. This is one of the ways that we grow spiritually.
Fifthly, grace comes when we acknowledge that we need His grace: Jesus said in John 15:5, “Without Me you can do nothing.” Grace is released when we acknowledge that we need His grace and we cannot do things in our own strength. God said to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” When Paul acknowledged that he was weak in himself, he received God’s grace to overcome his weakness.
We read in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” When we face any situation that is too big and difficult for us, we can always ask God the Father, in the name of Jesus to give us the grace to do so
Sixthly, our greatest source of grace, is the life of Jesus in us. In 2 Peter 1:2-3 we read “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.” As we grow in our love for Jesus, we will experience more and more of His grace. Grace comes from knowing Jesus! The Bible says in John 1:14 that when Jesus came, “He was full of grace and truth.” Furthermore, we read in Galatians 2:20 that “Christ lives in us.’’ We have Jesus Who is full of grace and truth living in us! That very life in us is able to give us the grace for everything we need. Jesus is not only our Lord and Savior, He is also our righteousness, our holiness, our peace and our resurrection life! For example, if need peace, He is our peace, if we need joy, He is our joy, if we need healing, He is our healing, etc. As we believe and receive this wonderful truth, we will experience His grace working in us and through us!
I heard the testimony of a certain pastor who was dying of a weak heart and only had a few months to live. One day he received the revelation that Jesus was not only his Lord and Savior but also his healing and health. Then one day, just as he received Jesus as his Savior, He received Jesus as his ‘’Healing.’’ He then lived another twenty years in good health.
Results of Grace:
1. We will have victory in our Christian lives: We have already read in Romans 5:17, “… those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Our ability to receive the grace of God is one of the greatest keys to victory and to “reign in life.”
2. It will be easy to serve and obey God. Paul speaks about his own ministry and life in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Grace is like spiritual fuel that gives us the energy to do what God wants us to do. That is why Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) When we live under grace, our yokes become easy and our burdens become light.
3. There will be joy in our lives: Jesus said in John 17:3: “But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.” Those who live by grace usually are relaxed and joyful. They love to sing, rejoice, laugh, smile and be happy. On the other hand, those who live under the law are usually sad, serious and have very little joy. Joy is often the manifestation of God’s grace.
5. Our lives begin to change without any effort: Jesus said, “Whoever abides in Me and I in Him bears much fruit.” (John 15:53) We will not try so hard to be spiritual, but we will grow spiritually, automatically. Furthermore, wewill not even be aware that we are growing spiritually even though others will notice it. The Bible says that God works “in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
6. We will be motivated by the love and gratitude. The Bible says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:10) We do things for Him because we love Him. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ compels us.” It is easy to do things for those whom we love and for those whom we know love us. For example, when a boy falls in love with a girl, he will do anything for her. In the same way, when we fall in love with Jesus, we will do anything to please Him.
Finally, there is no limit to what God can do in us, for us and through us when we live under the grace of God, we will be so blessed. 2 Corinthians 13:13, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the [a]communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Amen.