Posts Tagged ‘Grace’

ENABLING GRACE

Monday, December 20th, 2010

DAY 279

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you…”
2 Corinthians 12:9

We are familiar that grace is God’s unmerited favor to us. Some call it saving grace because we have been saved by the gift of God, not of ourselves. In addition to this grace, there is another grace called enabling grace.

God does much more than save us. He fully equips us with everything we need in this life. He gives us the ability and power to live our lives in righteousness and holiness. And added to this is enabling grace to carry out the work of the Kingdom of God as seen in Stephen; “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power …” (Acts 6:8).

Another definition of grace is help. God’s enabling grace is to help us desire extraordinary and excellence in running the race. Grace cannot function in us when we live in our own strength, ways and thinking. The old has to die and every day we must find God’s provision in our weakness – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

HIS GRACE

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Day 259

“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness”
2 Corinthians 12:9

Many Christians wonder about besetting sins in their lives. In addition to besetting sins, Christians face character flaws, poor judgement with important issues (getting themselves into bad situations like financial or job loss, hurting relationships, etc.), and other maladies that beset them. They believe that God cannot use them, they are defeated and surely will not see eternal salvation.

There is a power greater than sin and failures. When you consider God’s people, it is very evident that many of them struggled with sin throughout their lives. Moses murdered a man, was a coward, and expressed great anger. David was adulterous, murdered a man, and never invested in his children leading to rebellious and wickedness in some of them. Peter attempted to hinder the Lord and denied Him three times. Martin Luther expressed anger continually, was anti-Semitic, filled with resentment and quit preaching for a while and didn’t want to be pastoring. Recent famous saints in the past hundred plus years suffered from constant depression, had massive business failures, were cold towards their wives, etc. The list is endless.

Francis Fenelon, a French mystic, wrote, “I have found God leaves, even in the most spiritual people, certain weaknesses which seem entirely out of place.” We do not understand this except to know that God has a long history of redeeming our sinful failures and most terrible and botched messes and turning them into opportunities for His kingdom. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not
be disqualified for the prize”
1 Corinthians 9:27

FULL OF GRACE

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Day 212

“We have received grace upon grace”
John 1:16

John says, “We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” [John 1:14]. He is the glorious one, who from the very beginning was with God and through Him all things were made. He is the Son of God by nature and from eternity and exalted high above angels and prophets. He is the beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased and He is full of grace and truth.

He is full of grace, unmerited favor for us. Out of this fullness we have all received grace upon grace. His grace for us is infinite, boundless and without limit. It is a continual supply coming out of His fullness. When grace is used, more replaces it. There is no end to it. Paul says in Romans, “…where sin abounded grace abounded much more” [5:20]. Grace is greater than sin. Jeremiah says in Lamentations that His mercies and compassions “are new every morning” [3:23].

The law served to show our sinfulness and God’s holiness. Jesus Christ revealed God’s grace, mercy and compassion. Through His grace we find forgiveness and are able to live holy lives. Through His mercy the effects of our sins are covered. Through His fullness we come to know God our Father.

“And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way . . . until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”
Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:13

THE CROSS AND RESURRECTION

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Day 204

‘And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”
Romans 1:4

The cross demonstrates the love of God for us.

The resurrection demonstrates the power of God for us.

The Holy Spirit was at work in the humanity of Christ starting from the incarnation, through His earthy life and in the resurrection. He lived in Him experiencing the fullness of humanity. And He dwelled with Him in His sufferings and death and rose with Him in the resurrection. The Holy Spirit experienced the fullness of Christ in every aspect and when Christ entered the gates of heaven in exaltation to sit at the right hand of God the Father, that same Holy Spirit came to indwell every believer.

Now, through the resurrected Christ “. . .we have received grace …” [verse 5]. Christ is our only mediator with God. This grace is a gift from God, based upon what Jesus Christ has done. We neither deserve nor can we earn His grace. He has chosen us and it is His decision to give us grace. And what God gives cannot be taken away, for He is immutable, never changing in His character. So, we have a reservoir of grace that is ours to use and it is new every morning [Lamentations 3:23]. This is His faithfulness.

Today you have a new reservoir of grace from God. You are equipped with everything you need to live in Christ. The Holy Spirit that experienced humanity in Christ and resurrection power now dwells in you. With Paul, we can say, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection …” [Philippians 3:10].

“Now to Him who is able to establish you by my gospel
and the proclamation of Jesus Christ . . . be glory
forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
Romans 16:25-27

HIS SPECIAL FAVOR

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Day 195

“I will extol Thee, my God, O King;
and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever”
Psalm 145:1

The greatness of God’s favor towards us is unsearchable. We do not know the depth of all His works on our behalf. These are of such a magnitude that it would be hard to contain the knowledge of it all. Who is a God like our God who first loved us? Where in all this earth and throughout our lifetime has such a profound and deep love ever been seen? There is nothing in our humanity that is able to come close to expressing this greatness of our God.

This greatness is magnified by His special favor to His children. He first loved us when we were unlovable. His goodness brought graciousness, compassion and mercy to us. These came to us in gentleness and because of it He has made us great in Him. Yet, even as His children, we sometimes are unaware of how He keeps us. We easily live within ourselves. But, His goodness is to all and His tender mercies surround us in our life. He upholds all that fall and raises up those bowed down.

The Israelites in the wilderness forsake Him, but He continued to give them provision. He satisfies the desire of every living thing. Even in our sins, He is kind to us, patiently waiting for us to see the error of our ways. He even seems reluctant to chastise until there are no other options. This is His greatness and His glory towards us. His love is beyond understanding.

“My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord:
and let all flesh bless His Holy name for ever and ever”
Psalm 145:21

FOOLISHNESS AND THE IMPOSSIBLE

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Day 175

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than
man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God
is stronger than man’s strength”
1 Corinthians 1:25

Peter was a fisherman, Matthew a tax collector, Paul an eloquent statesman. Moses murdered a soldier in anger. David was a very young teenager, Gideon was farmer, Ruth a foreigner whose husband died, Rahab a prostitute. The list goes on, but each person was chosen and called of God and the end result was He used each one in a way that was opposite of who they were at the time He called them.

We are always trying to put God in a box. He will escape every time. We become victims of our own nature by believing we know everything. Our doctrine is perfect, theology correct and practice consistent, but in the end we know only in part and all of our wisdom is foolishness. We believe ourselves invincible and self-sufficient, but in the end all our strength is weakness.

No man has seen God. No man knows God wholly. We know in part. He has given us His wisdom and His strength. We will walk in righteousness if we lean on this. And more than all, He has revealed His grace and mercy to us through love. What more could we ask? His glory is our resting in Him, living our lives through Him, knowing and relying upon His love.

“I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”
Galatians 2:20

SOVEREIGN GRACE

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Day 169

“The Lord reigneth;
let the people tremble”
Psalm 99:1

God’s plan and purposes were not defeated when man fell. His plan and purposes are not thwarted by the wickedness of man or by the devil. The world, the flesh and sin do not change, delay, or defeat God’s plan. No, there is nothing, absolutely nothing on earth, in the universe or the heavens that can or will stop the fulfillment of God’s Divine plan. God is sovereign and rules over all according to His purposes.

The Lamb was “slain from the foundation of the world” [Rev. 13:8] with the explicit purpose to rescue man from sin and wickedness. God had provision before man knew he needed it! In fact, neither man nor the devil can resist God. The psalmist declared, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain” [Psalm 76:10].

All this magnifies His grace. In spite of rebellion, wickedness and sin, grace is offered free to us who are undeserving and not worthy of it. Not only is grace free, it is sovereign – it is bestowed on whom He pleases. He breaks down the walls of sin and resistance. He stands against the opposition of the human will not to serve Him. He subdues the flesh of man and in love causes us to love Him. It is irresistible grace. And our being chosen manifests His glory.

“He hath chosen us in Him before
the foundation of the world . . .to the
praise of His glory of grace, wherein He
hath made us accepted in the Beloved”
Ephesians 1:4-6

RESTRAINING GRACE

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Day 168

“He sent His word, and healed them,
and delivered them from their destructions”
Psalm 107:20

Jesus has told us that “out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” [Matthew 15:16]. Christians sin. Some continue to sin. Some backslide. Anyone who has read the Bible can easily see that God’s people struggle with sin. Some of the stories expose all of it, such as David’s lust leading to adultery and then murder. Yet, he was God’s man.

Does God love you less because you sin? Does He abandon you? Condemn you? Far from it for His love is unconditional. And love covers a multitude of sins. He Himself said we are to forgive seventy times seven. He is a jealous God and He will not permit His children to be lost. We may go the course when we sin, but God will bring us to an end. Hosea clearly outlines this.

His love causes Him to put a restraining grace on us where we can go only so far. He said to Job, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further” – He has set boundaries that we cannot cross. And His love compels Him to pursue us. In His time He will send His word and heal us and deliver us from our own self-destruction. It’s called grace (help) and mercy (covering). In the end we will glorify Him for His goodness.

“O Give thanks unto the Lord,
for He is good: for His mercy
endureth for ever”
Psalm 107:1

THE POWER OF GRACE

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Day 166

“While we were still weak, at the right time
Christ died for the ungodly . . . But God
proves His love for us in that while we
still were sinners Christ died for us”
Romans 5:6-8

Even if we understand grace, it is still difficult to grasp the fullness of its meaning to us. There is a never-ending drive in the nature of man to believe he must do something to gain anything. But the ultimate and complete truth about grace is that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, we can do to gain it. God has given us grace freely, and as John Timmer says, grace is a scandal. It is a scandal to man.

Was Paul looking for God as he rode his horse to find Christians and punish or kill them? Was Matthew looking for Christ while collecting taxes? Were you looking for Christ when he came? No, we were dead in our sins! Yet, God comes to us before we go to Him. Yes, it is God who seeks us. He found Abraham as an old man, Moses on the backside of a mountain, David in the pasture, Gideon hiding, Zaccheus in the tree, Peter fishing, and Lazarus in a grave. Not one of these, including you, can or could do anything to make yourself right with God.

Grace, oh, what a great offense against our arrogance, pride and self-sufficiency! It is God Himself that has made you right through the bloody sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ! He came to us. He first loved us. He initiated the process. He called us out of death by grace. And the power of that grace saved us.

“To the praise of the glory of His grace,
wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved”
Ephesians 1:6