“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Rom 16:24
Study of Paul’s prayers is very interesting. Along with his preaching and writing he also prayed for the saints constantly. He knew its God who changes the hearts and minds of people.
One of the repeated prayers of Paul is for christians to enjoy the grace of God always. ‘Grace be with you’ was part of his salutation and benediction in every letters. He knew the importance of grace in a believer’s life.
As we are approaching another New Year it’s appropriate to consider the abundant grace that we enjoyed in the past and prayerfully seek the same for the days to come.
Like many other biblical terms, over-familiarity often forbids us to grasp the full meaning of grace. We know it as the ‘unmerited favour of God’. Yet to fully get hold of what grace exactly is we need to know what grace does in a person’s life.
1. Grace saves. Eph. 2:8
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Salvation from sin and its consequences have been the yearning of man from the fall. All his efforts to attain it through his own efforts were futile. In his wretched and hopeless state the grace of God saves man through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Unless one comes face to face with his sinfulness and unworthiness, he will not value the grace of God. Notice what Apostle Paul says; he was the chief of sinners, a blasphemer, persecutor and injurious, but the exceeding abundant grace of God in Christ saved him. Cf. 1Tim 1: 13 – 15.
2. Grace teaches. Tit 2: 11 - 13
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness…..”
Grace that saves also leads us in our day to day life. God in His grace continue to instruct a Christian how to live a godly life in this wicked world, looking forward to the coming of Christ.
3. Grace strengthens. 2Tim 2:1; 2Pet 3:18
“You therefore my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Our spiritual strength and growth also depend on God’s grace. To fight spiritual battles and serve the Lord, a Christian needs strength in his inner man. That also does not come from self-efforts or determination.
4. Grace sustains. 2Cori 12: 9
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul speaks of some kind of infirmities in his body. He pleaded with the Lord to remove this ‘thorn in the flesh’. But the Lord’s response to his prayer will always comfort and strengthen all who go through such weaknesses. “My grace is sufficient for you”. His grace is enough to support and sustain us in all our infirmities.
5. Grace equips. Colo 4:6
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt…”
Grace supplies the right word and mood as we speak. The Lord spoke gracious words. Cf. Luke 4:22. So, should be the terms that come out of us. Our expressions should not be harsh or corrupt. Eph 4:29. Grace of God equips a Christian to speak edifying and encouraging words.
Not only in relation to communication, in every area of spiritual life and service, the grace of God empowers and equips a Christian. Cf. 1Cori 3:10; 2Cor 8:1 etc.
So, grace of God refers to all the blessings and benefits we get through Jesus Christ our Lord, freely and lavishly. It is this goodness of God Paul wishes every believer to enjoy daily.
From the above mentioned gracious acts of God we can notice the importance of grace in everyday life of a believer. Apostle Paul knew it very well. In 1Cor 15:10 he says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…” He acknowledges that all what he is and what he has done is only by God’s grace. If that is the testimony of Paul, what else can we say! Oh, the grace, the wondrous grace that saves, empowers and upholds.
Remember, grace is visible! God’s people can perceive the grace of God manifest in a fellow Christian. Luke says about the early Christians, ‘great grace was upon them all’. Act 4: 33. It was obvious in their life and ministry. When Barnabas visited Antioch to see the newly formed assembly, he saw the grace of God. Act 11:23. So, any born again child of God can detect the grace of God flowing through the lives of God’s people. It’s found in their words, activities and the entire lifestyle.
Is it true about our life? Is grace manifest in our everyday life? Do not forget, we can waste the grace of God and even ‘lose’ it! Cf. 1Cori 15:10; 2Cor 6:1; Heb 12:15. Absence of divine grace in a believer’s life is disastrous. All kinds of fleshly thoughts and activities spring up to destroy our practical life and testimony. Cf. Heb 12: 15. That’s why how important it is to abide in the Lord and experiece His grace moment by moment.
Praise God, enough grace is available for a child of God. If only we draw near to the throne of grace constantly and confidently, we will find sufficient grace for all our need. The Lord Jesus Christ our Great High Priest who is able to sympathize with us in all our weaknesses is there to help us in every need. Heb 4: 15, 16. That means, absence of grace is our own failure, for we deliberately chose not to draw from this fountain of grace.
As we prayerfully enter in to a New Year, let us consider the grace of God manifested through the Lord Jesus Christ and praise God for all His benefits. It was His grace and grace alone that has brought us so far and let us continue to stay close to the Lord and His grace for the coming days as well.
To all our esteemed readers, prayer partners and well-wishers, we wish you a blessed and Christ – centered Happy New Year 2017