“Marvelous grace, infinite grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.”
– Julia H. Johnston
Recently, I’ve heard too much about dying grace. I don’t know how interested God is in that particular use of his unmerited favor. After all, he provided the gift to aid his children in living for him.
Many people confuse mercy with grace. They are closely related. Mercy keeps God’s judgment at bay. Grace offers us assistance and privileges we could never earn.
A deeper understanding of grace will strengthen our ability to endure through hard times. More than enduring, we will be able to rejoice when God’s grace abounds in our hearts.
Grace for Eternal Life
“For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
Without grace, we will never inherit eternal life. Justice demands that we pay the penalty for our sin nature. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), after all.
Even though we deserve to die, God extended grace to us. This gracious gift cost the life of His Son. The wage for sin had to be paid. Jesus willingly paid it.
A more beautiful demonstration of grace will never be shown. It reminds me of the acronym I learned for grace years ago: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
Our opportunity to reach Heaven rather than Hell is only by the marvelous, infinite grace of a loving God.
Grace for Earthly Living
God’s grace to us doesn’t end after salvation. He knows our human frailties. Our blunders never surprise him.
Hard things come. A mountain larger than Everest looms before us. We have no ropes, harbingers, Sherpas or oxygen tanks. In short, we don’t have what it takes to climb.
Enter God with his wonderful gift of grace. It will be the strongest rope, the surest harbinger and the stoutest Sherpa.
The perfect Biblical example of this is from the life of the Apostle Paul. He had an infirmity (discussed before here). He prayed for God to take it away.
“Lord, get this thing out of my life. It’s hindering my ability to serve you effectively. I would be able to do so much more if you healed me from this affliction.”
Yep. I’ve prayed similar prayers. I don’t expect Paul’s was too much different.
God answered, too, because He always answers. What he said has the power to change how you live for Him.
“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9a).
God didn’t say “Rest in my strength.” His answer wasn’t “Have more faith.” There was no condemnation of Paul because he demonstrated weakness.
God reminded Paul of the gift of grace. In his never-ending supply box, there is grace. What is it? Whatever we need for that moment.
If only we could respond like Paul, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9b).
Rather than asking God to take away the hard things, we need to ask for grace. Maybe even more grace.
Only then can we realize the most important truth of all “when I am weak, then am I strong” (1 Cor. 12:10b).
When I’m at my weakest, God can shine through. His grace becomes strong arms to bolster me up and thick legs to march onward.
The next time something seems too hard to handle, don’t pray for strength or faith or wisdom. “Lord, give me grace.”
Up next week: Grace: Mistaken Identity