Where has the grace of God to serve gone? Why have we so quickly misplaced, or failed to receive, the free gift of the grace of God He has for us? The church today is not seeing the miracles, healings, and spiritual gifts God has for us because we have limited the grace of God to only salvation. The following verse tells us of the early church that … great grace was upon them all;
Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
How often have you read the epistles and mistakenly considered that the request for grace to the church at the start of the epistles contained a mere greeting? Consider Romans 1:7, I Corinthians 1:3-8, II Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, I Thessalonians 1:1, II Thessalonians 1:2, I Timothy 1:2, II Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3, Hebrews 4:16, I Peter 1:2, II Peter 1:2, II John 1:3, and Revelation 1:4. In each of these the Apostles seek for grace to be given to each recipient of the epistle. An almost equal list can be found at the end of each of these epistles seeking grace be upon them. These epistles are written to churches or individuals who have walked with God, and are not calls to salvation. It is true that grace came by Jesus;
John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
But where in this scripture does it limit the gift of grace to only reconciling us to the Father? In fact the Word says of Jesus as a child;
Luke 1:80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Jesus had no need of salvation, but the Word says the grace of God was upon him! There is grace for all spiritual needs, if we will seek Him for it. Let us take an opportunity to look at the gifts of grace in the GRACE TO section.
GRACE TO …
Grace to save through faith in Jesus is the accepted purpose of grace to the church today. Several scriptures can, of course, be used to establish this, including;
Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
When there was a dispute among the early church as to whether the Gentiles must be circumcised and keep the law, Peter expounded the following;
Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
Paul then expounds as to how death came upon man, and that the grace by Jesus abounds to life;
Romans 5:13 – 17 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one unto condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:20, 21 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Grace to save is the greatest miracle in our lives, but grace does not end there.
We each know what was in us, resulting in our failures and bondage to sin. After we have come to a saving faith in Jesus, where do we now get the deliverance from the sin we once yielded to? We need to come to the throne of grace to be delivered;
Hebrews 4:15, 16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
God will not only help in time of need, He will build us up, and prepare us for an inheritance;
Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified.
His grace building us up will prepare us to overcome in the trials we will face.
Knowing that our righteousness is as filthy rags, how can we serve God acceptably, or be blameless? Our overcoming is by His grace extended to us;
Hebrews 12:28, 29 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.
I Corinthians 1:4 – 8 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Peter 5:8 – 10 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
In Paul’s first epistle to Timothy he acknowledges that his ministry is through Christ Jesus and the abundance of grace;
I Timothy 1:12 – 14 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
The grace of God made Paul spiritually a wise masterbuilder;
I Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
Paul also acknowledges in the following scripture that … I am what I am … by the grace of God;
I Corinthians 15:10 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.
Paul acknowledges in these scriptures that he had become an apostle only by the grace of God. We know Paul was abundant in working for the Lord; in travels, in preaching, in power, in writing. Yet when Paul states that he laboured more abundantly than all the other apostles, he humbly notes it was not of himself, but by the grace of God which was with me. With his knowledge of this, and just before Paul tells Timothy to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ, he begins by exhorting Timothy to be strong in grace;
II Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
This availability of grace is lacking in ministers today because they do not understand the depth of this grace, do not seek it, and do not receive after the due order. Paul humbly gives the glory to God, and this humbling of self must be present to walk in his grace;
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
I Peter 5:5, 6 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
If you humble yourself in obedience to Him His grace can work through you. You need to recognize what He has done for you and give the glory to God. There can be nothing of reliance on self if you want the grace and full power of God to work in your ministry;
II Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Scripture provides that by the grace given to us will we find our gifts;
Romans 12:6 – 8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Ask For Grace
The Apostles sought at the beginning and end of their epistles for grace to be on those who read the epistle. We also know (II Timothy 3:16) that all scripture is given by inspiration of God. Therefore the Apostles were inspired of God to seek for that gift of grace for the reader! We each need to be seeking for the grace of God to be on us, and all those around us!
In reading II Corinthians 8, verses 1 – 6 speak of grace for giving. Verse 7 then speaks of abounding in many things, and exhorts to …abound in this grace also. By stating this grace also, it is apparent there is grace for each gift mentioned. Please consider the verse;
II Corinthians 8:7 Therefore as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
There is grace for everything! There is grace for faith. There is grace for utterance and knowledge. There is grace for all diligence. There is grace for love. If we begin with requesting grace for … all diligence… we will go a long way to victory when we receive. For if we find diligence we will find the ability to receive for the other gifts of grace. If you have difficulty receiving these promises from this scripture, please consider the following verse from the ninth chapter;
II Corinthians 9:8 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:
God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you may have all sufficiency in all things, and may abound to every good work. Please seek and find this grace of humbly asking for these things to be given to you and your church. And we might find the promises and gifts freely available from God to each one;
II Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.