Friday, October 9, 2009

The Grace of God- Part 5


WHAT WE MUST DO IN RELATION TO GRACE

1. Believe. The Scripture tells us that Apollos helped those who had "believed through grace" (Acts 18:27). Even the faith which saves us comes through God's grace. We don't produce faith - we receive it as a gift from God. "For by grace you are saved, through faith, and that [faith] not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8).

Nevertheless, we must choose to exercise the faith which God has given us (Romans 12:3). God has given us the grace to believe. We need to use that grace in whatever measure we have received it until now.

By the grace we have, we must believe God - His Word, His promises, His commandments, His judgments.

2. Receive. God's Word says, "much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17). Paul says in Romans 1:5, "We have received grace and apostleship." God may give grace, but we must also be willing to receive it.

Grace must be received as grace. It cannot be received as payment for good behaviour or good works. If we are thinking to receive grace from God on the basis of our good behaviour or good works, we will not be able to receive it as grace. We will therefore not be able to receive it at all. This is why God many times seems to greatly bless a sinner recently turned to him and gives them a great ministry, while seemingly ignoring many "good church people" who have been struggling faithfully for years - but with a wrong mentality concerning grace.

3. Continue in It. "Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God." (Acts 13:43). It is vitally important that all of us, especially those who have recently turned to God and trusted in His grace, continue in the grace of God. We need to allow God to keep guiding our hearts to the place where He can continue to work in us by His grace. In the moment when we cease to allow God's grace to work in us, in the moment when we no longer abide in Christ through disobedience; in that moment we start to dry up as Christians and that life of God in us begins to lose its effectiveness. God will not force us to remain in His grace. It is something He gives us the power to do, but we must choose to go on. Don't give up!

4. Use and Manage it. "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1 Peter 4:10). Every born-again Christian has received a spiritual gift, and should use it. We have all been given grace to serve somewhere. God's grace takes many forms. There are many different anointings. A steward or manager must use what has been entrusted to him and multiply it. Otherwise, he is not being a good and faithful steward.

This means that whatever gifts and abilities God has given us by His grace, we should use them for His glory. God's grace and blessings were not given simply for us to sit in church and feel good. Rather, they were given that we might not only be blessed, but also be a blessing.

5. Spread It. "For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God." (2 Corinthians 4:15). Grace and peace will multiply as more and more people spread it. We can spread God's grace through giving, through preaching the gospel, and by "speaking such a word as is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29). It is the privilege and responsibility of every true Christian, and not just of a special few, to spread God's grace to as many as possible. When we to this, more and more people will give thanks to God, and so pleasure will come to the heart of God.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GRACE

In the light of all that we have seen so far it is clear that it would be difficult to over-estimate the importance of God's grace as far as our lives are concerned. Without grace we would not only be useless as Christians in God's sight - we would also be lost. There is no work that man can do to make him "good enough for God". Everything that we do outside of God's grace is worthless. Everything good that comes in us and through us is only by the grace of God.

It is therefore very important that we respect God's grace and follow the Scriptural warnings not to sin against the grace of God. To sin against the grace of God has serious consequences. If we wilfully go on sinning against God in this way, we "insult the Spirit of Grace" and "no sacrifice for sins remains" (Hebrews 10:26,29).

It is good to see the whole Bible in the light of grace, and not of law. If we read the Bible only in the light of law, it will condemn us, but never set us free to please God. By reading and interpreting the Bible in the light of grace, we may have hope for this life and for eternity - because we see the reality of forgiveness and blessing in Christ. At the same time, if we properly understand grace, it will lead us to God and away from sin. To see grace as an enouragement for sin is to "turn the grace of God into lasciviousness". This false understanding of grace is very dangerous.

We therefore see that it is good for us to study, understand, receive and apply the grace of God to every aspect of our lives.

SINNING AGAINST THE GRACE OF GOD

There are a number of different sins against the grace of God mentioned in the Scriptures.

1. Setting Aside the Grace of God (Galatians 2:21)

This is teaching that efforts to adhere to moral laws are all that is required for us to please God. It is a denial of our need for God's partnership in our transformation.

2. Receiving God's grace in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1)

This implies it is possible to actually receive God's grace, and yet fail to take hold of it and flow with it in such a way as to allow any good fruit to result.

3. Turning the Grace of God into Lasciviousness (Jude 4)

This is teaching that we can sin sexually, live to please our flesh or commit other sins and somehow the grace of God makes it so that we are still right with God while we go on like this.

4. Falling from Grace (Galatians 5:4)

This is to reject Christ after you have known Him, and turn back either to a system of rule-keeping and self effort, or to slide into sinful and rebellious ways, hardening the heart to God.

5. Falling Short of the Grace of God (Hebrews 12:15)

This is to fail to come up to the mark God has enabled you to attain by His grace.

6. Insulting the Spirit of Grace (Hebrews 10:29)

This is to speak against God, His ways, His system of salvation through the cross and the Holy Spirit.

7. Turning Aside from Grace (not continuing in it)

This is to get our eyes off God and go after other things.





Remain blessed

2 comments:

Faith Imagined said...

You really have a great way of explaining and breaking things down. I have to go back and read the other parts of your 'Grace of God' series.

K. Frangeskos said...

Dear chevonee,
What an amazing and insightful blog you have...
It is beautiful to read. You write very well too. I have added myself as a follower to your site. I look forward to reading more from you.

Also, thank you for visiting my blog, Jesus Knows You Best.
Please visit again...I left you a message under the post "Never Give Up Faith In God Or Yourself"

God always puts good people in our lives...and you are one of them.

Sincerely,
K. Frangeskos at
Jesus Knows You Best

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