Grace through Faith

“And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” (2 Corinthians 6:1)

All of mankind is blessed with the marvelous common grace of God the Creator. God has always shown His grace to all people in all parts of the world regardless of their belief in His sovereignty and the validity of His Son Jesus as the Savior for mankind. In 1924 the Reformed Church defined what is known as the three points of common grace.

The first point of common grace is that God has a favorable attitude towards all humanity regardless of their righteous or unrighteous behavior. It is a part of the grace that God shows to all of His creation. “The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:9)

Jesus taught that we too should have this attitude towards our fellow man even when they may not be hospitable towards us or in open rebellion against us. For the Christian to not be set apart from the ways of the world and not act in the context of the love that God has shown towards us would be hypocrisy and disobedient to the command that we are to love our enemies. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44-45)

Secondly God by the work of His Spirit and without renewing the heat of man restrains the complete breaking out of sin. If God did not restrain this sin the god of this world, the Prince of the Air, then human life in society would not be able to flourish as it has from ancient times. “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)

The third point of common grace is that God without renewing the heat of man can influence a man so that he is able to perform for the civil good of all of mankind. “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1)

The meaning of grace is the unmerited divine assistance that God gives to mankind for their regeneration in the sanctification process. Another way to see God’s grace is His benevolence to the undeserving. Without God’s grace no man could be saved from God’s wrath which all men deserve. It is by God’s grace that man can be saved. “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.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Saving grace results in the sanctification of the Christian. Sanctification is the process that a man can be conformed to the image of Christ. The Image that man was originally created in. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)

When one calls upon the name of the Lord and accepts Christ as their Savior and follows Him in faith, God at that moment of their salvation creates in them a new creature. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The Lord is faithful and true and will not forsake one of His own. He who has begun the regeneration work will complete that work in His children. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

For the believer God’s grace is the overflowing favor that God shows towards His children that can be counted upon and is available to the believer as needed. In the world all will have trials and tribulations and for the children of God it is no different. But the Christian can have this confidence that all this will work for their good according to His plan and purpose for their life. (Romans 8:28) It is a test of our endurance and patience when these trails come upon us. The Christian is the servant of God and when afflictions, hardships and destress come into our path it is a time to have faith in the promises of God. “But in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses.” (2 Corinthians 6:4). We do this by faith, the ability to believe in the unseen until it becomes a present reality. Our faith is the pipeline in which the grace of God flows into our lives.

Too many times through our self-pride we seek God last when these trials come into our life. The truth is that it is God that we should seek first every time and in every situation great or small. Prayer is the key, the Lord seeks our fellowship and we often deny that fellowship by not having an active prayer life. Life may seem long at time but still situations come quickly and therefore we have the need to follow the Apostle Paul’s advice to pray constantly. God is Almighty and cannot be tired by our prayer. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Prayer is the key to our healing in spirit, mind, and body. When Jesus was passing by a woman who had a hemorrhage and believed that He could heal her touched His garment and was healed. Jesus knew that she had done this and told her two important things. “And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” (Luke 8:48) It was her faith that had made her well. Faith is the pipeline to God’s grace. Jesus also told her to go in peace. This is not the kind of peace that the world gives that comes and goes with circumstance. This is the peace that is everlasting and surpasses our understanding. She had the peace that Christians have when they learn to trust in the Lord in all things.

The Apostle Paul had what he identified as a thorn in the flesh. We do not know what exactly this thorn was but it was something that He asked the Lord to remedy. God did not take the thorn away but used it to strengthen Paul’s endurance and trust in Him. This would have been a tremendous challenge if God had not also promised Paul that His grace was sufficient for all his needs. The power of God is manifested through the weakness of men. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

As we go through the trials and tribulations of life, the good times and the bad, we should give all praise and glory to God. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) Do not forsake Him who will never forsake you and take your burdens to Him in prayer. Not later, not when you have time, but in the moment of your need. The circumstances of life will take you where they will but draw on the sufficient grace of God through faith in whatever condition you may find yourself.

The proof in your life that you are drawing on the grace of God is that even if you are completely humiliated before others you will have His peace and display His grace through you. Never hold back and always give God your best for His glory for it is your service in His Kingdom. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Colossians 3:23).

The Christian has found the greatest treasure, the Kingdom of God. We are never to be diplomatic but to use it for His purposes. The riches of His glory are far beyond the pittance of this world. The wealth of His Kingdom that we have is not comparable to any that we can imagine. Within the custody of God we can be impoverished triumphantly.  “As sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.” (2 Corinthians 6:10).

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 26, 2017

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