What Are Some of the Aspects of God’s Grace
“What Are Some of the Aspects of God’s Grace”
Grace, we all know, is God’s unmerited favor.
In acrostic fashion we have been taught to define grace as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense … GRACE.
Grace is the goodness of God on behalf of sinners who humbly acknowledge their own deficiency and thus their dependence upon God’s grace for forgiveness and salvation
(1) Grace is a part of the character of God. Grace is most frequently spoken of as a commodity, that is distributed, and such it is. But first and foremost, grace is a description of the character of God, which is displayed by His gifts to men. God is a God of grace, and He desires to make this known not only to men, but also to the angelic hosts.
(2) Grace is epitomized on the cross of Calvary. While the grace of God is described in the Old Testament, it is not defined until the New Testament. I believe that we cannot grasp the grace of God except in the light of Calvary.
(3) 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, and it is well to define it so that the diversity of these forms is taken into account. Since we will discuss some of these later in greater detail, let me briefly enumerate some of the forms which grace takes.
(4) Grace is pure. If we were to describe grace to the chemist, we would say that grace is an element, not a compound. In more biblical terms, grace is never a mixture of divine benevolence and human effort:
(5) Grace is sovereign. Since we have no claim on God’s grace and cannot contribute anything to it, then grace must be sovereignty bestowed. As God said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion”(Exodus 33:19 Romans 9:15 ). The necessary conclusion is that which follows in Romans 9:16
(6) While the Law is the standard of righteousness, grace is the source of righteousness. While the Law defines righteousness, only grace delivers it. The Law was never intended to be a means of obtaining grace; it was given to demonstrate to men that grace was desperately needed
(7) Grace is given only to the humble. When our Lord came to the earth, He came to minister to the poor, the suffering, the needy. To the “poor in spirit” Jesus offered the riches of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus had come to this earth in order to minister to those who were in need and knew it. When Jesus chose to associate with the needy rather than with the elite of His day, it greatly offended the Jewish religious leaders
(8) While sin is an occasion for grace, grace is never to be an occasion for sin. Many of the objections to the biblical doctrine of grace originate from the abuses of this doctrine in the lives of Christians. Any biblical doctrine can be misapplied in such a way as to justify sin in our lives. In Romans 5 Paul taught that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more”(verse 20), but he quickly went on to say that this is no incentive to careless living
(9) Grace is always granted in harmony with God’s other attributes. It is possible at this point to misunderstand the grace of God by supposing that grace somehow is granted at the expense of God’s holiness or His justice. Nothing could be further from the truth. Grace does not set aside the requirements of justice; it satisfies them. The Christian is no longer guilty before God and need not stand under the condemnation of God for sin. But someone does have to pay the penalty for sin. For the Christian that person is our Lord Jesus Christ
(10) Grace is both positive and negative in what it gives. Grace is the outpouring of God’s unsolicited and undeserved goodness upon sinful men. This goodness, however, may not always be recognized, for sometimes it comes in the form of pain and suffering. Paul wrote to the Philippians saints
Common grace is that benevolence which is poured out upon all men, regardless of their spiritual condition:
Saving grace is that generous provision of salvation on the cross of Calvary and the securing of it by divine intervention
Securing grace is that manifestation of God’s benevolence by which Christians are kept secure in spite of sin.
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 Christ-like
Serving grace is the enablement to minister in such a way as to manifest the life of our Lord through the saints as members of His body. It refers to acts of generosity and giving ( Acts 4:33 2 Corinthians 8:1 ). It specifically refers to spiritual gifts (the term “gift” is a derivative of the word “grace”)
Sustaining grace is grace given at special times of need, especially during adversity or suffering.
BIBLE READING: Nehemiah 9:1-38
KEY BIBLE VERSE: In your great mercy, you did not destroy them completely or abandon them forever. What a gracious and merciful God you are! (Nehemiah 9:31)
GOD’S GRACE IS OUR ONLY HOPE!
Israel was devastated by times of intense rebellion and sin. Yet when the people repented and returned to God, he delivered them. God puts no limit on the number of times we can come to him to obtain mercy, but we must come in order to obtain it, recognizing our need and asking him for help. This miracle of grace should inspire us to say, “What a gracious and merciful God you are!”
If there is a recurring problem or difficulty in your life, continue to ask God for help, and be willing and ready to make changes in your attitude and behavior that will correct that situation.
BIBLE READING: Ephesians 1:3-2:10
KEY BIBLE VERSE: He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:7-8)
GOD’S GRACE MAKES OUR SALVATION POSSIBLE
Grace is God’s voluntary and loving favor given to those he saves. We can’t earn salvation, nor do we deserve it. No religious, intellectual, or moral effort can gain it, because it comes only from God’s mercy and love. Without God’s grace, no person can be saved. To receive it, we must acknowledge that we cannot save ourself, that only God can save us, and that our only way to receive this loving favor is by faith in Christ
GOD’S GRACE SHOULD LEAD US TO SERVE OTHERS WITH LOVE
We become Christians through God’s unmerited grace, not as the result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or act of service on our part. However, out of gratitude for this free gift, we will seek to help and serve others with kindness, charity, and goodness, and not merely to please ourself. While no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation, God’s intention is that our salvation will result in works of service. We are saved, not merely for our own benefit, but to serve him and build up the church (Ephesians 4:12).
BIBLE READING: Romans 2:1-16
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Don’t you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin? (Romans 2:4)
GOD’S GRACE LEAVES NO ROOM FOR SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
When Paul’s letter was read in the Roman church, no doubt many heads nodded as he condemned idol worshipers, homosexual practices, and violent people. But what surprise his listeners must have felt when he turned on them and said, “You are just as bad!” Paul was emphatically stressing that nobody is good enough to save himself or herself. If we want to avoid punishment and live eternally with Christ, all of us, whether we have been murderers and molesters or whether we have been honest, hardworking, solid citizens, must depend totally on God’s grace.
Paul is not discussing whether some sins are worse than others. Any sin is enough to cause us to depend on Jesus Christ for salvation and eternal life. We have all sinned repeatedly, and there is no way apart from Christ to be saved from sin’s consequences.
God gives us enough grace for one day at a time and to avoid fatigue and burnout, weariness and fainting in our minds, we must learn to live day by day, one day at a time. That is why Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:34 to meet each days challenge as they come and not to borrow trouble from tomorrow. If we will do that, then at the appointed time God’s grace will be available to us in sufficient supply to help us face and over come whatever may occur in our lives.