Living Grace

The word “grace” appears in approximately 116 New Testament verses. Obviously, grace is not only significant in God’s character and gospel truth, but to a believer’s Christlikeness also. While the meaning of grace is simple enough, the application is to be far reaching as it impacts every facet of Christian life. The New Testament dictionary meaning of grace is to express those things which are beneficial, favourable, and are worthy of thanks. The implication is that grace operates for the benefit of its recipients even though they may not be worthy of what is being offered.

As the apostle Paul was affirming the certainty of believers’ future resurrection, he explains the role of grace. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15). Resurrection grace is for the believer’s sake, for their benefit. Grace is intended by God to be shared, to be spread to an ever increasing number of people. Grace received, and rightly understood, should produce thanksgiving by the recipients, which also extends to glorifying God as it fuels believers’ worship.

Grace is responsible for every expression of God’s lovingkindness shown to mankind, and especially to His believing children. Therefore, it’s only right for Christians to likewise be characterised by gracious love in action. Paul spoke of God’s grace working through the Macedonian churches by their sacrificial giving during times of great hardship to help meet the needs of the poor saints in Jerusalem. But as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you — see that you excel in this act of grace also (2 Corinthians 8:7). Grace is both intentional and spontaneous because it flows from hearts saturated with God’s love (Romans 5:5). As with other Christian qualities, grace should be pursued with passion, not for self-gratification, but for the benefit of its recipients and God’s glory. Grace gives evidence that we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Scripture portrays the quality of grace at every level of human character as desirable and beneficial as it displays God’s merciful heart. Therefore, see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled (Hebrews 12:15). Nothing good ever comes about through the absence of grace. In fact, the author of Hebrews cautions us, that in the absence of grace, bitterness can fill the void, which only ever contaminates the body of Christ.

In 1 Peter 1:13, Peter reminds his readers that alert Christian living is forward looking as you set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Just as God’s grace saves us, sanctifies us, and keeps us secure in Christ, so it will bring to fulfillment all of God’s eternal purposes upon Christ’s return. Which Paul affirmed to the church in Philippi, I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). Therefore, may Peter’s closing words be true in our lives today, as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:18).

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