If you haven’t memorized this verse yet, I highly recommend that you do. It is foundational to your relationship with Christ:
“For by grace you have been saved by faith, and not that of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)
What is grace? The answer to that was drilled into my young mind: Grace is the unmerited favor of God. It cannot be earned. We can do nothing to achieve it, or make ourselves worthy to receive it. No one can boast that they were able to win God’s favor by their works. It is freely given. Everything we have received from God has been given to us by grace!
The Apostle Paul modeled himself as one of the greatest recipients of God’s grace. He wrote:
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15 NKJV)
Paul called himself the chief of sinners! He had brutally persecuted the Church before he had been saved. Then on the Damascus road, Jesus confronted him. Amazingly, Paul turned his life around and did more for the Gospel than any other apostle before him. What was his secret? He told us when he wrote:
“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.” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV)
Paul attributed all of his success in the ministry to the grace of God upon his life. We can also do this, because grace is freely given to us as well.
One day, as I was meditating on this verse, the Lord gave me another definition for grace: Divine assistance. God freely gives us His assistance to do everything He has asked us to accomplish. This means that everything we are and everything we do is a result of God’s grace upon our lives. We are saved by grace, we are justified and sanctified by grace. We are also anointed and empowered by grace to serve the Lord. We do not have to earn His assistance, it is freely given.
When it comes to holiness, God’s grace is also there to help us live a holy life. We cannot live a holy life without the grace of God. We need His assistance to overcome sin, the world, the flesh and the devil. God never expected us to do that without Him. It also doesn’t happen overnight, we have to grow in grace. The Apostle Peter wrote:
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’ (2 Peter 3:18 NKJV)
We have to learn to grow in our dependency upon the grace of God in our lives. If we try to do things in our own strength, we will soon fall flat on our faces. When we learn to depend upon the Lord to assist us in everything we do, we soon discover we can live an overcoming life. God does not want us to be burdened down by sin, failures and the cares of this world. He wants us to be overcomers!
As we grow in the Lord, we often look at others who are more successful in their spiritual walk than we are. Why does God seem to favor others more than us? The Holy Spirit taught me a little secret years ago through the following verse:
“And of His fullness we have received, and grace for grace.” (John 1:16 NKJV)
The version I read that day used the words: “grace upon grace.” We can all receive grace upon grace simply by asking God for more. It is all about how much we depend upon Him!
Finally, here is one of my favorite verses on grace:
“Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)
God does not expect us to come timidly to His throne. He wants us to come boldly to the Throne of Grace! He is ready to give us all the mercy and grace we need to help us in any situation we face.
You are holy, dear saint!
P.S: Thank you for your prayers, while I visit my friends in Belgium this week.
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]