“For it is by Grace that you are saved, by means of faith. It’s not from you, it’s a gift from God. “ Says the Bible in Ephesians 2: 8 (KJV).
Through this text and many others in the Bible, we understand that there is clearly a parallel between Grace, Salvation and Faith.
We can say that these are the fundamentals of our life as a child of God. But the basis remains the Grace of the Father towards Men.
How does Grace operate? How does it manifest itself? How does Grace obtain salvation for us? First of all, what is Grace?
What Is Grace?
Grace is a Divine Favor
Grace is the favor that God grants to those who deserve judgment. By Grace, the love of God leans favorably towards us to draw us towards Him. The Grace of God cannot be earned by our efforts or by our good works, and even less by our good resolutions. It is simply the gift of a Father who is Love. We are not worthy of it, so it is not due to us, we only grant a pardon to a condemned person.
Because of the Adamic sin, we have been reduced to the condition of condemned, as waiting on death row.
Because the Bible says in Romans 6:23: “the wages that sin pays is death” .
This is when Divine Grace comes in.
The Lord has freed the Word by which we have obtained Grace. The Word was made flesh and canceled every condemnation that weighed on our life.
The Bible says that the Word became Sin and thus we were saved from the death that awaited us! Yes, in Jesus is Grace! For, “… Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” says John 1:17 (KJV).
In other words, Grace is “the free gift that God grants, which is eternal life in union with Jesus Christ our Lord ( Romans 6:23 B).
We can perceive divine Grace as a kind of package graciously offered by our Heavenly Father. How does this provision work in our favor? Is the Gift of Jesus enough to make us benefit from Grace?
What we get by Divine Grace
We said earlier that Grace is a (free) gift from God through our union with Jesus Christ. It is reflected in many ways in the lives of God’s children. The first and foremost is obtaining salvation.
Salvation is the Father’s plan to bring His children back to Himself. The Bible says in Galatians 1:15: “But God set me apart from before I was born and in His grace called me to know him. .”
Yes, it is in His Grace that God, having known us in advance, called us to Him. We were convinced by the Holy Spirit that He graciously offered us and began the process of repentance.
From now on, we are no longer defiled by sin but are heirs of God, His children. We were thus regenerated and adopted by God. Romans 8: 16-17 (SEM): The Holy Spirit himself and our spirits together testify to us that we are children of God. And since we are children, we are also heirs: heirs of God, and therefore joint heirs with Christ.
Another gift conferred by Divine Grace is justification. Romans 8:30 (KJV) says: “ Those whom he thus intended he also called unto him; those he thus called he also declared righteous , and those whom he declared righteous he also led to glory ”.
Justification according to God is the forgiveness of our sins. We are now in the eyes of God of the righteous. Not by our own merit but by His Grace.
Another benefit of Grace is recorded in Heb 4:16 (KJV): “Let us therefore approach with confidence the throne of grace, in order to obtain mercy and to find grace, to be helped in our needs. “. We therefore have the assurance of being helped in our needs. Let us no longer approach the Father in an attitude of condemnation. We come with assurance, with humility certainly, but with the quiet assurance of the child who speaks to his Father.
Grace finally grants us a glorious transformation. The Apostle Paul is a very telling example of the transformation that the Grace of God brings about in us. He testifies to this in I Cor 15: 9-10 (KJV) by saying: “For I am the least of the apostles, I am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I have persecuted the Church of God.
By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me was not in vain; far from there, I worked more than them [the apostles] all, not me however, but the grace of God which is with me
From a persecutor of Christ’s followers, Paul became a staunch defender of Christ to the point of paying for him with his life! He recognizes that this transformation could only have been possible by the Grace of God through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
However, the Bible contains examples of characters to whom God granted Grace but who did not stay there (Ananias and Sapphira for example). This leads us to wonder about how to live and enjoy Grace.
How to benefit from the Grace of God?
We read earlier in the Bible that God grants us His Grace, an inheritance through the Holy Spirit. Imagine that a distant relative bequeathed us a land which belonged to him. The bequest is readily available, but what will happen if we do not take possession of it? Well, we just won’t enjoy it. We would have deprived ourselves of it. It is the same with the Grace of God.
The Bible indeed says in Hebrews 12:15 (KJV) “See that no one is deprived of the grace of God “. If God puts His Grace at our disposal, it is our responsibility to take hold of it and bring it back to our life. How? ‘Or’ What? To answer it, we will look at five keys to grasping the Grace of God.
1. Die to oneself and be born in Christ.
In Ephesians 1: 13-14 it is said: “And in Christ you also have heard the message of truth, this Gospel which brought you salvation; yes, it is also in Christ that you who believed, you obtained from God the Holy Spirit… It is this Spirit which constitutes the deposit of our inheritance while awaiting the deliverance of the people which God acquired . Having received and accepted the message of the gospel of Christ, we have freed ourselves from the Law.
Like Paul, we can say, “I died to the law, in order to live for God. I was crucified with Christ; and if I live, it is no longer I who live, it is Christ who lives in me… ” Galatians 2: 19-20 (KJV).
This is the starting point for enjoying Grace. We are now born in Christ and for Him. Believing in Jesus prepares us to live Grace.
2. Know what Grace brings us.
As we said above the first point, to take possession of the inheritance, it is already to know the existence. It is said in I Cor 2:12 (KJV): ” Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we may know the things which God has given us by his grace”.
Yes beloved, if you gave your life to Jesus, multiple benefits are offered to you (a package).
You must realize them by receiving revelation by the Spirit of God in your life. Many, without this knowledge, are wasting away spiritually.
Many Christians are in total ignorance of the benefits of Grace such as (total) forgiveness of our sins, spiritual gifts, the fullness of the Holy Spirit etc. They lead a tough, bland Christian life of personal struggles and frustrations.
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We can make this prayer of the Apostle Paul our own in Ephesians 1: 3; 17-18 “ Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all kinds of spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ! Q ue the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of, and it illuminates the eyes of your heart, that you may know what is the hope who clings to his call, what is the richness of the glory of his inheritance that he reserves for the saints ” .
3. Reject bitterness!
Bitterness is a block to the manifestation of Grace in our life. Indeed Hebrews 12:15 (KJV) says: “See that no one deprives himself of the grace of God; so that no root of bitterness, sprouting, causes trouble, and many are infected ”Bitterness and lack of forgiveness hamper our prayer life and disturb the peace not only in oneself , but in the body of Christ. It’s a bit like a kind of barrier that we ourselves put at the hand of God.
4. Activate our faith.
If we have recognized Jesus as Lord and as Savior, it is therefore because we have faith, we would say. And that’s true. But we have to activate it to enjoy the benefits of Grace. Ephesians 2: 8-9 (KJV) says, in effect: ” For it is by grace that ye have been saved, by means of faith. And it doesn’t come from you, it’s the gift of God. It is not by works, so that no one can boast ”.
Faith is a setting in motion to grasp the heritage. Beloved, we must believe that this gift is for us and that it is real. If this is real to us, we will reject any form of legalism. Because once again, we will never be able to do anything to deserve what God gives us: no technique, no method. Let us be humble and receive the grace of God like a child receives a toy from his daddy.
Let us reject the pride which prompts us to think that it is our “efforts” that put us for the benefit of Grace. This is also a seduction of the enemy because, says the text of James 4: 6 (KJV) , ” … God resists the proud, But he gives grace to the humble “.
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5. Let us have reverence for God.
Hebrews 12:16 (KJV) cites attitudes that could deprive us of the Grace of God: “ let there be neither fornicator, nor profane like Esau, who for a meal sold his birthright” The PVV version said, “Let there be no one who breaks his covenant with God or despises holy things like Esau.” For a simple meal, he sold his firstborn right. “
The lack of reverence for God, the contempt for holy things is a serious drift! Indeed, it distances itself from God and deprives of His Grace. May this never be our case!
Grace is not a reward. But, if we accept it into our lives, it becomes a supernatural ability that comes to the rescue of our human weakness. Do you remember the evildoer on the cross next to Jesus? Let’s look at their exchange in Luke 23: 42-43 (KJV):
He [the evildoer] said to Jesus, Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.
Jesus answered him, Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.
In a few words, Jesus said more and better on the cross than a long speech. This robber does not beg Him, does not implore Him, does not make a long prayer, does not fast, but simply says with sincerity and humility, “Remember me, my King” . He recognized that Grace was beside him on the cross, he received it and was saved.
Maybe you had a dissolute life before you came to Christ, maybe you even relapsed after you came to Him, maybe you backslid and returned to a life that you know how to displease your heavenly Father … Know that nothing is lost. No one is too far away to be beyond the reach of God’s love.
Come confidently before the throne of Grace and receive the hand of your Father. However, never, never will the Grace of God be manifested at the expense of His righteousness. Indeed, Titus 2: 11-12 says: “For the grace of God, source of salvation to all men, has been made manifest.” It teaches us to renounce ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live in the present century according to wisdom, righteousness and godliness.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is part of the benefits of Grace. He teaches God’s children to walk in love (for God and for neighbor) and to cultivate awe and attachment to God. He teaches us how to enjoy the Grace of God.