Thursday, April 23, 2015

Grace


Last time on the blog, we talked about some of the attributes of God, and I shared that this is what I believe Paul is talking about when he tells us in Colossians 3 to set our minds on things above. When we center our thoughts on such things as the sovereignty, love, and mercy of God, our earthly troubles will shrink by comparison.

Today, I'd like to talk about just one more of the attributes of God: His grace. God’s grace is distinguished  from His mercy in that His grace is specifically reserved for His elect, while His mercy goes out to “all his works” (Ps. 145:9). The thing I love most about God’s grace is that it has absolutely nothing to do with me. It is his completely unmerited favor in response to my completely undeserving soul (Eph. 2:8&9). It is the opposite of works and worthiness, and defies all explanation as to why it is offered to such lowly creatures as man.

Grace is what gives us the assurance that we are forgiven when we sin. Since we did nothing to earn God’s grace, we can do nothing to lose it. His grace is applied freely to us, every time we sin or fall short of glorifying Him in our thoughts, words, or deeds. This is the Gospel! God’s grace is the antidote to fear because we have this blessed assurance that, even though our sin nature sometimes wins the battle for our minds, it will never again reign in our hearts. We never have to be afraid that He will give up on us, or leave us in our sin. Through whatever trials, pain or sickness we must endure in this life, we always have this blessed assurance of God’s grace.

Another thing that I love about this wonderful attribute of God is that He knows exactly when I will need it on any given day, and at any given moment. He doesn't give me that grace ahead of time, nor is he ever late in bringing it. Have you ever read TheHiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom? It is a great testimony to the grace of God, and I highly recommend it. In that book, there is a story from Corrie’s childhood about how her dad always gave her train ticket to her just before it was time to hand it to the conductor. She had no need of it before that moment, and if he waited till after that moment, it would be too late. He always gave her the ticket at just the right time. This illustration helped Corrie to rest assured of God’s grace, in a moment when she was afraid that she would not have the strength to endure her father’s death. Her heavenly Father's grace would come, in ample supply, at just the right time, even as her earthly father gave her what she needed at just the right time.

God’s grace is also the reason that the church is fully equipped for all of its members’ needs. Ephesians 4:7 says that “… to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” John MacArthur, in his Study Bible, says that “Each believer has a unique spiritual gift that God individually portions out according to His sovereign will and design.” This is how the body of Christ becomes complete, to meet everyone’s needs. By God’s grace, he gives each of us the gifts necessary for “the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry…” (Eph. 4:12).

What could you share today about the amazing grace of God? I would love to hear a story from your own life about how God’s perfectly timed grace made its impact on you. Won't you share in the comments, friend? Some of you may be unable to attend regular worship services, but the body of Christ is in many places, including the little group that reads this blog. Your story may be just “the ticket” to encourage them to endure.