God's Grace Is Pure
God's grace touches and affects every aspect of a believer's life. It impacts our growth, stability and service, and not just our salvation. The principle of grace is as fundamental to Christianity as that of justice to the Law, or love is to marriage. The doctrine of grace distinguishes the Christian faith from every other religion in the world. Rightly understood and applied, the doctrine of grace can revolutionize one's Christian life.
Grace is mentioned 170 times in the Bible. Grace, by definition, is the unmerited, or unearned, favour of God. In other words, grace is God doing good for us that we don't deserve. Grace can also be defined as God's sufficiency or God's fullness in the life of the believer. Not only are we saved by the grace of God, we also serve the Lord and live the Christian life by the grace of God.
In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul testified, "But by the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain." It was God's grace that made him what he was. It was God's goodness working in him that made him such a great servant of God. We also need the grace of God. We need it first of all for salvation. Without the grace of God, we can't have eternal life. We need God's grace for our daily walk with Him. We are weak and easily led astray. Jesus told us that we can do nothing without Him, but God provides daily strength through His grace working in us. We need to believe that He will provide what He has promised and walk with assurance that His grace is working m us.
Jesus, in both His words and His works, demonstrated grace. He didn't come to judge or to condemn, but to forgive and to save. Grace is epitomized on the cross of Calvary. Only God's grace through Jesus Christ can save man. To think of ourselves as sinners doesn't degrade us. The Bible is not written to condemn, but to tell of our worth. The laws of God are not designed to fill men with guilt and rob him of happiness. The Psalmist said, "What is man that thou art mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour."
While grace has always existed as a part of the character of God and was epitomized on the cross of Christ, it is expressed in a wide variety of forms. Grace takes many forms in the Bible. Common grace is that benevolence which is given to all men, regardless of their spiritual condition. Saving grace is that generous provision of salvation on the cross and the security of it by divine intervention. God is gracious in making provision for the salvation of all men and in commanding its universal proclamation. He is also gracious is delaying judgement, thereby giving man ample time to repent.
Securing grace is that manifestation of God's benevolence by which Christians are kept secure in spite of sin. Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained our introduction by faith into His grace, and we live in hope and the glory of God.
Sanctifying grace is that grace which works within the true believer in such a way as to bring growth, maturity and progress in the process of becoming a true, practicing Christian. Serving grace refers to acts of generosity and giving. It specifically refers to spiritual gifts. 1 Peter 4:10 states, "As each one has received a special gift, use it serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
Sustaining grace is grace given at special times of need, especially during adversity and suffering. As told in Hebrews 4: 16, "Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need."
We see that grace is manifested in a variety of ways. Grace seeks us and saves us. Grace keeps us secure. Grace enables us to serve and to endure the tests and trials of life. Grace will bring about our sanctification in this life and will ultimately bring us to glory. From beginning to end we are the object of divine grace.
So how do we understand the purpose of God's grace? We know it's designed to relieve sinful man of a guilt-stricken conscience. Isaiah said, "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, where waters cast up a mire and dirt. There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked." It means that sin robs man of inner peace and happiness. God's forgiveness is extended through the blood of Christ.
God's grace also gives man strength to live the Christian life. When Paul was tormented by Satan he asked God to get rid of his difficulty and God said, "My grace is enough for you," meaning God doesn't let Satan tempt us more than we are able to stand.
We want to dedicate our lives to God, imperfect though they are, but our abilities are spent on so many little things. Our calendars are crammed with many activities. We fritter away our money on frivolous things. We need God's help in separating the important choices from the impossible ones. It's difficult to answer God's call to do good in a world that is filled with temptation.
God's grace assures Christians of constant forgiveness. No Christian can live life absolutely free of sin. But, if we try to walk in the light of the Gospel, we can be assured of forgiveness. The ultimate goal of God is to destroy sin and its consequences once and for all. There is a constant battle being waged between good and evil, but God assures us that the victory over evil belongs to Him.
As Christians, we each have a grace that God has given us. He has plans for each and every one of us, and these plans belong to each individual alone. God has good plans for your life, to use you as His servant and as a blessing to others. Moreover, God enables us to fulfill what He has called us to: this is the grace of God.
The Apostle Paul's life clearly shows the grace of God. God had a plan for Paul's life, even though it seemed unlikely at first. Even though Paul sought to destroy the Christian church, God's grace intervened. Galatians 1:13-16 tells us this, "For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God, and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man." Paul deserved punishment, but God had mercy on him and instead used him to build His church throughout the Roman world.
God has always saved in exactly the same way. He told Noah to build an ark and Noah, through faith, was obedient to God's command. God told the Israelites in Egypt to smear lamb's blood over the lintels of the doors to avoid the death of their firstborn. Naaman was told to dip seven times in the Jordan River to be healed of his leprosy. Through faith, Naaman was obedient to the commands and was healed.
The circumstances of our lives are not fair, but God judges us fairly. He judges us according to the grace He has given us - our background, our surroundings, the resources we grew up with, our opportunities to learn about God and obey Him. There is no denying that some people have been given more opportunities than others, but with these opportunities comes responsibility. What matters is what we do with what God has given us.
God's grace has brought us all here today. By His grace, some of us have made it through difficult times, because God was watching over each and every one of us. But the fact is, all of us have taken God's grace for granted at times. We have chosen temporary things over eternal things. We have preferred other things over God, but the good news is that God gives us more grace. He gives us the chance to repent. If you feel despair because you've taken God's grace for granted, know that His grace is sufficient for you. God never wants us to sin, but He is always ready to restore us and put us on the right track again. The secret to staying in the grace of God is humility. We need God; without Him, we can do nothing.
The grace of God is freely and fully extended to men and women of every generation. We must come to the realization that we are sinners. We must bring ourselves to understand the nature of sin and its worldly and eternal consequences. We must recognize the remedy for sin, the blood of Christ. Then we must respond in faith, and only then will we be resurrected from the grave of sin.
Many things in life will fail us. Friendships will blossom and then die. Health can be an elusive thing. Riches and wealth will often remain just beyond the reach of your fmger tips. Those we love will pass from the scene leaving a void in our hearts hard to be filled. However, there is one thing that every child of God possesses that can never fail, never end, never run out, never run dry and that will never be found to be insufficient, and that is the grace of God. Yes, the road may be long and dreary, the days may be filled with difficulties and struggles, but rest assured that there will be grace sufficient for every need and every trial. That is the promise of God. The grace of God is like the melody line of a beautiful song. As a rule, only one note carries the melody, and all the other notes serve to compliment that one note with a harmony. Grace is the dominant note in God's dealings with us. His justice, His holiness and His omnipotence are all an integral part of the music of His character and activities, but your grace stands apart and above them all.
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