Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grace Increased


Romans 15:20 & 21 20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

As I sit here drinking my coffee this morning I'm overwhelmed (in a very good way) by God's marvelous grace. Unmerited favor.. Something we cannot earn... something that He gives to us freely because we have given our lives to Him and He is our Lord and Savior. Grace is very hard to wrap thoughts around. Like the virgin birth, it can at times be hard to understand. Why would anyone want to give me something I don't deserve.. why would anyone forgive me of my sins... why would anyone willingly give their life for me? The Lord doesn't give it to us and then take it back... he pours it over our heads.

Grace can also be defined as God's fullness in the life of the believer. God told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). The grace of God in Paul enabled him and empowered him in his weakness. Another verse states, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8). God's grace working in us supplies the sufficiency whereby we may abound to every good work. I like to call grace "God's enoughness." By this I mean that God is enough for us no matter what the situation we face.

Grace is first of all necessary for salvation. Ephesians 2:8 states, "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." One aspect of salvation is called justification. That is the act by which we are declared just (righteous) before God on the basis of the payment Jesus Christ made for our sin. The Bible clearly teaches that we are justified by the grace of God (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7).

But 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. The letters of Paul always speak of a blessing of grace for the believers (along with peace). Just for an example, Romans 1:7 states, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." Paul is speaking to believers who are already saved and on their way to heaven, but he also recognizes that they need grace for living the Christian life. They need God's strength and sufficiency.

A good verse to help explain this grace by which we live is 1 Corinthians 15:10 where 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; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." It was God's grace that made him what he was. It was God's goodness working in him that made him the great servant of God he was.

We also need the grace of God. We need it first of all for salvation. Without the grace of God, we cannot have eternal life. However, we also need the grace of God for our daily walk with God. We are weak and prone to stray. Jesus told us that we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5). But God provides daily strength through His grace working in us. We should seek this grace for living from him. Then, we should believe that He will provide what He has promised and walk with assurance that His grace is working in us.

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