By Grace We Have Strength to Stand Against Opposition
A Christian must stand in the grace of God (Romans 5:2). He must be strong in the grace of God. "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 2:1). The Scripture says plainly that is is "good that the heart be strengthened [or established] with grace" (Hebrews 13:9). "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Ephesians 6:10,11). All the armour of God is received by the grace of God. We did not pay for the "breastplate of righteousness" or "the shield of faith" or any other parts of that armour. It is therefore by drawing on the grace of God that we are going to be able to resist temptation and stand against all the temptations and trials that Satan wants to discourage us with and make us fall, if possible.
Under Grace we are not ruled by the Power of Sin
Some imagine that the correct understanding of grace frees the believer to do whatever he wants - to sin against his conscience, against others, against the Word and against God. However, this cannot be correct, since the Scripture says, "Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14). Paul asks, "Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?" His response is clear. "Certainly not!" (Romans 6:15). Grace is not a license to commit sin. It is a force that both pardons us and empowers us to live right, without falling into temptation.
Grace Teaches Us Godliness
Rather than teaching us to sin freely, grace is "teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11,12). Here we see how closely related is the concept of grace with the working of the Holy Spirit. For it is the Holy Spirit Himself who convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:7). It is the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth (John 16:13). It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that "teaches us concerning all things" as we learn to abide in Jesus (1 John 2:27). All these things: the anointing, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of God, are closely related. We can say that the anointing itself is a very special and important expression of the grace of God.
When we sin, it is the Holy Spirit who makes us feel this personally. He gives us an opportunity to repent. When we sin, He helps us to feel that something is wrong. He does not do it by condemning us (telling us that we are now condemned), but by convicting us (showing us where we are wrong), and by removing the fulness of peace and joy from our lives. We should let the peace of God rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). If not, we will sense something is wrong. All this is an expression of God's grace. God wants to lead us to repentance, so that we will neither suffer loss, nor be destroyed.
Grace makes us what we are in God
"But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10) What we are in Christ is because of God's life and power which has been at work in us. No one can make himself a great man of God. Even the callings to be this or to do that in God's Kingdom are by grace (Galatians 1:6). Paul said that God called Him by His grace from His mother's womb (Galatians 1:15). This means that it was God, not Paul, who initiated Paul's being chosen for apostolic ministry. In a similar way, Jeremiah was called from His mother's womb to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). We cannot become special ministers of God without His calling. We can only be what God gives us grace to be. If through His grace we fulfil a special function in God's Kingdom, then it was not on the basis of our merit and work, but rather, because of God's grace - God's gift, God's favour.
Does this leave us without responsibility before God? No, it is very important for us to take hold of the grace of God, so that we can be what God intends us to be. We will see more on this in a later section.