Sunday, January 17, 2010

What Are We Going to Do With Grace?

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about grace. The Bible has much to say about grace, and if you are like me, you have probably heard any number of sermons on this topic. I love every verse in the Bible about it, and many of the sermons I have heard has been powerful. However, in some ways I feel like it may be one of the least understood gifts from the Lord that we have. I don't claim to have the whole thing figured out, but I want to take a fresh look at a different aspect of the Lord's grace in this blog post.

As I mentioned, there are many references to grace throughout the Bible. We see in a few places that the Lord "gives His grace to the humble" (see Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6 and I Peter 5:5). The apostle Paul opened nearly all of his epistles, and closed some of them, by speaking grace over the readers. Romans 5:20 tells us that where sin abounds, grace does that much more abound. We know that God's grace is always sufficient for us, according to II Corinthians 12:9, and these are just a handful of the multitiude of scriptures that teach us about the Lord's wonderful gift of grace.

Probably the most common understanding of grace is that it is akin to mercy. It has been said that mercy is "when we get what we do not deserve, and we do not get what we do deserve." Most people would probably define grace the same way, and rightfully so. In this aspect of grace we can see the Lord's mercy revealed. We can see His gracious forgiveness and everlasting lovingkindness. At this level His grace covers our shortcomings. He accepts us in spite of our weaknesses, and He is patient with us as we begin to grow in the Spirit and make mistkes along the way. This is a very precious side of grace, but as awesome as this aspect is, it is really just the beginning.

There are whole different levels of grace that the Lord is inviting us to explore. As we have already experienced the Lord's saving power, His grace is now available to us to launch us further into depths that many never access. At this level, we not only experience the Lord's gracious understanding in the areas of our weaknesses, but we also begin to tap into His power to bring strength and victory in those areas. We begin to live our natural lives supernaturally. Previously we experienced the Lord's grace that made up for our natural limitations. Now we experience His grace that peels away the layers of our natural limitations.

Titus 2:11-12 tells us that "the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age." There are times when I would be happy to just make it through the present age, but the Lord's grace enables us to live at a level higher than the present age. So, what are we going to do with this grace? What do you need to overcome in this present age? There is grace for that. Is there anything we are struggling with that seems to keep us earthbound? There is grace for that. What's keeping us from being all that God has called us to be? There is grace for that. We have already experienced the Lord's saving grace. Now we are accessing his supernatural enablement that lifts us higher than our earthly limitations and propels us more and more into the nature and power of the Lord!

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