The Glorious Grace of God
By Todd Baker
By grace, Christ makes us loved and accepted in God as His holy people (Ephesians1:6; 1 Peter2:10). Even after believers are saved and they sin and fail God, they are prone to think of themselves as unworthy and beyond the reconciling reach of the gracious hand of God. But Christ loves us despite our sins and moral shortcomings as His chosen and cleansed people.
Though we should say as the Shulamite bride to the Solomonic bridegroom: “Look not upon me because I am soiled,” Jesus our heavenly bridegroom says instead: “Behold you are fair my love.” By grace, in God’s sight, we are loved because of being clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Grace is offered through the Gospel that Christ and the Apostles preached and the Church preaches today.
In Acts 20:24, the saving grace of God is called “the Gospel of the grace of God.” Gospel simply means good news. The good news is that Jesus Christ died in our place on the cross for our salvation that we should not perish in the lake of fire, but have eternal
life with Him. The source of the gospel of grace is God’s love for sinners; the object is Christ Who died so that many could live; its subject is the sinner bringing God’s love, peace, joy, and life to him or her. It is by the preaching of the Gospel of grace that believing it we are saved. But those who disbelieve it are perishing in their sins even as they presently live.
“For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.... for it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21).
God the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of grace, continually ministers God’s gracious love toward us as we fellowship with Him in prayer and the study of His Word (Romans 8:15-16; Hebrews 10:29). The prophet Zechariah predicts that when Jesus returns to this earth at the Mount of Olives (a hill that looks east towards Jerusalem) in power and great glory, the Holy Spirit will give to the Jewish people “the Spirit of grace and supplication” enabling them to finally repent and accept the long rejected Jesus of Nazareth as their Lord and Savior (Zechariah 12:10).
Grace is a sovereign act of God whereby He kindly elects many to be saved while permitting many others to remain in their sins. The Bible calls this “the election of grace” (Romans 11:1-7).God used the nation of Israel as an example for all, electing some to the grace of salvation, while allowing others to be blinded in unbelief and left to perish in their sins because of their willful rejection of Jesus Christ.
The grace of God freely bestowed on sinners is not based on our intellectual, physical, or moral abilities but solely upon the sovereignty of a mercy showing God in electing some by grace to receive eternal life (see Romans 9:14-16). Grace is boundless in its saving power. The cross of Christ contemplates and concludes all sin. It forever and completely absolves the believer from every sin. The grace of God is thus limitless in forgiving power (see Ephesians 3:17-19; Colossians 2:13).
Grace is God’s unrestrained infinite love abundantly showered upon us. Divine grace is the supernatural dynamic power of God that enables and keeps us. God’s grace enables us to live godly in this present evil world system (Titus 2:11-12). Those who truly receive saving grace will consistently exhibit such in an upright conduct before God and man. The lifestyle of a born-again Christian will be morally conformed to the ethical image of Jesus Christ and above reproach. This translates into holy living.
“For God has not called us into immorality, but to holiness”(1 Thessalonians 4:7).
God’s grace enables us to bear the trials and infirmities of everyday living; the testing of our faith; and the constant opposition faced by the world, the flesh, and the devil. In spite of all this, Jesus assures every believer:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9; 4:6-16).
Whatever enemy or obstacle may come our way the Word of God promises us that we are “more than conquerors” through the Lord Jesus Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37).
The grace of God abundantly enables us to establish His will in whatever He has called us to do (Ephesians 3:20). Through the power of Christ that indwells us, God is able to do superabundantly above what we ask, think, or expect. This divine superabundance far exceeds the greatest abundance man can produce or offer.
Grace given by God before and after salvation is not given first to save us, but first to glorify God. So in the end it is by the sheer, unbounded kindness of God that any of us are accepted of Him. God’s grace enables us to walk our salvation out and produce good works acceptable to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (see Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:12-13; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
The great Reformer Martin Luther wrote, “One is not saved by doing good works, but a saved person does good works.” These good works are done after spiritual regeneration, and are wrought by the new nature after the image of Jesus Christ. By God working in us and through us we are able to render good and acceptable works before Him, but only after we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit producing His fruit expressed in our lives.
All of which owes to the grace of a compassionate, saving God and nothing more. God’s grace keeps the believer in Christ from permanently falling away from the Lord (Jude 1:24; 1 Peter 1:2-5). 1 Samuel 2:9 states, “He will keep the feet of His saints.”
If we should stumble or fall into sin, the grace of God empowers us to stand again and resume our walk with the Lord. We stand approved and righteous, not by our own merits or strength, but by faith in God’s grace given to us in Jesus Christ—“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein you stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). Proverbs 24:16states:
“For a just man falls seven times, and rises again.” That is because “God is able to make him stand” (Romans 5:2).
We are warned from God’s Word not to stand in our own self-sufficiency:
“Let him that thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
It is by God-given faith alone that any Christian stands at all, “For by faith you stand” (2 Corinthians 1:24). Christ promises every believer, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
No person, demonic, or human, no circumstance however adverse is able to separate us from the unconditional love Christ has for the Church (Romans 8:31-39). None are able to wrench the elect from the heavenly Father’s hand (John 10:27-29).