In the Church today there seems to be a universal misunderstanding about the Grace of God. This misunderstanding is causing serious issues in our personal lives and in the unity of the body of Messiah. What is the Grace of God? What can it do for me? Why do I need grace? How do I get it? How can a misunderstanding of the grace of God affect my life in Messiah and the Church as a whole? What does humility and faith have to do with grace? In an effort to keep this short you will need to read other articles on Humility and Faith to get the full benefit of seeing the connection between them.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (All scripture from NAS unless noted, highlighting and bold by author). (Ephesians 2:4-10)
The first thing we must realize is that we are or were at some time in the past dead because of sin. That is, we were not alive to the spiritual things of God and were headed for eternal death. So God, in His love for us, saves us by grace through faith. (We should note in the literal translation of Ephesians 2 verse eight is translated "you are saved" not "have been." This is crucial to understand because grace is actively working in our lives less we continue to sin and fall short of the glory of God.) From what is it that God wants to save us? From our dead way of living which is in transgression of God’s way. And to what are we saved? Unto a living way which is in Christ Jesus. For what reason? For good works, which God prepared for us to walk in. Let us get this straight, we are not saved as a result of good works, but we are to walk in them.
We can learn some interesting things about the word grace from the Strong’s, also note it is a gift.
Grace - 5485. charis, khar'-ece; from G5463; used 156 times; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstr. or concr.; lit., fig. or spiritual; espec. the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):--acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy).
Gift 5486 carisma charisma khar’-is-mah from 5483; AV-gift 15, free gift 2; 17
The Key is we are saved by grace.
World Challenge, Inc., David Wilkerson; "So, examine your life carefully. And remind yourself of these definitions: Grace is Holy Spirit empowerment to become more like Jesus. And growing in grace is increasing in the likeness of Christ through the power of the Spirit. Finally, keep asking the question: "Am I growing more like Jesus by trusting the power of the Holy Spirit?"
Because we were born with the sin nature of the first Adam, which leads to eternal death, we need something to enable us to have the eternal sinless nature of the second Adam, Jesus Christ (Yeshua Messiah) the Lord.
Paul is very clear about these two natures, if we have the Spirit of life. We read in Romans 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
But we still have both natures, Paul goes on –
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—or if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.(Romans 8:5-14)
It is clear from the above scriptures that we need the Spirit of God. We must live by this Spirit in order to put to death the deeds of the flesh (our sinful nature, inherited from the first Adam).
So what is grace?
It is the enabling power of the Spirit of God in our lives. It enables us to walk not after the deeds of the flesh (first Adam’s nature) but after the living example of Jesus the Christ. Grace does not demand; it bestows. Grace promises and performs, doing all we need to do. Grace comforts and makes strong and glad. Grace points to Christ to do all. Grace works in us, all God‘s blessed will. (Andrew Murray)
So why do I need the grace of God?
Without it I cannot be saved.
How does faith have anything to do with grace?
Andrew Murray in his book on Humility writes; "We have only to think for a moment what faith is. Is it not a confession of helplessness, the surrender to God that waits to let Him work? Is it not in itself the most humbling thing there can be – the acceptance of our place as dependent. Who can claim, or get, or do nothing but what grace bestows?"
What does humility have to do with this grace?
"Humility is simply the disposition that prepares the soul for living in trust. Even the most secret breath of pride, in self-seeking, self-will, self-confidence, or self-exaltation, is only the strengthening of that self that cannot enter the kingdom or possess the things of the kingdom because it refuses to allow God to be who He is."(Andrew Murray’s book on Humility; pp 78).
Humility is recognizing the helplessness of our natural born state, which follows the god of this world, Satan the accuser. It is this nature of pride and self-centeredness that must be overcome for us to enter into life. Grace is the empowerment of God in our lives to overcome our self-nature. Faith is allowing that grace to do its work.
So how do I get the grace I need to be a son of God?
… and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.(1 Peter 5:5)
(Click here for our article on Humility.)
If we can fully grasp our total need for the Spirit of God in our lives (which is the Lord). Allowing His power to work out His pleasure in our lives we will cease comparing ourselves with others. We will see His handy work in our lives. We will reflect His light through the good works He ordained that we should walk in, to bring about the unity He desires and to glorify His name.
Will we seek His grace in our life? Will we ask for the humility the very Creator displayed in coming here to die for us, to wash our feet, to serve? Will our faith allow Him to be all in all?
(Grace in the Old Covenant, same LORD)
"Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. "Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. "And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. (AV)(Isaiah 58:8-11)
We need to humbly recognize our need for the grace of God in our life. It is His grace that overcomes our sin nature. By faith we allow Him to work in us the good works He desires.
Why is the church so powerless today?
We refuse to humble ourselves, we allow pride to spring up, we fail to recognize that we still have the nature of the flesh which wars against the Spirit of God which He has given us (and that is grace). We fail to be like Paul and die daily, so Christ can work in us His good pleasure.
If you have Computer Bible Software, do a word search on grace, or look it up in a concordance to see the handy-work of our God. Below are a few examples:
Sin cannot rule over the Grace of God.
The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.(Romans 5:20-21)
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (This is His grace in action.) (1 Corinthians 10:13)
It is the grace of God, which builds up the inner man.
"And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.(Acts 20:32)
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,(Ephesians 3:16)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; (God gives you the grace to do it.)(2 Corinthians 9:8)
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.(1 Peter 5:10)
It is the grace of God, which does great works.
Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands.(Acts 14:3)
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.(Acts 6:8)
And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.(Acts 4:33)
For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)
Only through our Savior has grace come.
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.(John 1:16-17)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.(2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;(Romans 3:24)
God gives us gifts to help unify the body of Christ, by His grace.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;…(Romans 12:6)
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.(1 Peter 4:10-11)
of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.(Ephesians 3:7)
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.(Ephesians 4:7)
The working of God in our life is grace.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.(1 Corinthians 15:10)
yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. (1 Corinthians 15:10 – NLT)
God’s power (grace) is there to help us.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.(Hebrews 4:16)
How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29)
Our whole salvation depends on the Grace of God in our lives. We are responsible for recognizing our need for His grace (which is humility) and then trusting Him (faith) to do what He says. God is conforming us to the image of Jesus (Yeshua), the inner man. Our spiritual life depends on overcoming the nature that gives in to the pulls of this world. We need God’s presence in our lives, He will not dwell with sin. He makes available the grace to overcome sin in our lives, however it is our obligation to avail ourselves to it, we must die to self daily, we must believe He will save us. We need to recognize the leading of the Spirit of God and submit to it. There is no sin that can overtake us if we have His Spirit and are allowing it to reign in us. Read again the 8th chapter of Romans. Ask; seek to understand the need for the humility of Christ. We can have victory in Yeshua; those who overcome will rule with Messiah (Christ) at His soon return.
Grace and peace, blessed be His name (Hallelujah).
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