What is God’s grace? Is it many things? One thing? Well we surely know that without it, we would not have a path to Him. You usually hear unmerited favor in conjunction with grace, which can be further boiled down to receiving something that you simply do not deserve.
Let us look at some passages in the New Testament where we can see the Grace of God in action:
- The grace of God was upon Jesus in his early years, supplying Him with what He would need later to become our Savior.
- Luke 2:40: “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”
- In Acts, there are a number of instances where it mentions how apostles were connected or commended to the Grace of God. References made to the results of God’s grace are also mentioned as something that can be seen and recognized. In Acts 11:19-23, we learn about the spiritual landscape amidst Christian persecution.
- Acts 11:19-23: “Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.”
The grace of God in that passage is something that can be witnessed, it is the result of preaching and teaching, the aftereffect of people having their hearts exposed to God’s Word and the Holy gospel. When Barnabas saw the results of their preaching, he was glad. Notice also that it says that the Hand of the Lord was with the Hellenists when a great number believed. Here the Grace of God is expressed as God’s making a path so that His Word and its’ influence could grow.
- Now let us take a look in Acts 13:43: “Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.”
Here in chapter 13, the grace of God is mentioned as a path of service for the Lord. Paul and Barnabas were encouraging the Jews and proselytes to continue believing in Christ and in God’s plan, because it would ultimately bring them salvation (Titus 2:11).
- In Acts 14:24-26: “And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.”
Finally here in Acts 14 we see that Paul and Barnabas’ ultimate responsibility was really to bring souls to Christ. Because of their having completed this work, the grace of God brought them back to Antioch, where they could continue.
These examples from the book of Acts are important because they show God’s grace in action. As the apostles are spreading Christ’s gospel, God is also heavily involved, working to clear obstruction, give love and encouragement and ensure that the path is free and clear for willing souls to receive Christ. God’s grace is embedded in every step of the salvation process!
- It was by God’s grace that Paul was able to leave a life of persecuting Christians and make the contributions he was able to make. Despite his hard work, he was ultimately blessed with the title of “apostle.” As a prime example, Paul leaves the credit where it belongs, with God.
- I Corinthians 15:10: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
- In Hebrews 2:9, we see the Grace of God allowing Jesus to die for us all.
- Hebrews 2:9: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
- But we must also remember that the grace of God is something that we must reach for. Yes, it is true that God has made a way for us to reach Him, but access to His grace requires action on our part. We must become a Child of His through baptism and we must also maintain our stature as His children through a devout and righteous life. Heed the message in Hebrews 12:12-15.
- Hebrews 12:12-15: “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;”
- And our spiritual gifts are also given to us by His grace. Using them is a great blessing and honor. Let us read from I Peter, in chapter 4, verses 7-11.
- “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
If we are His children, we are living in His grace, right here and now. We should never forsake that grace through bad choices, ill behavior or lack of love for one another. It is sometimes easy to forget this truth. Let us do what we can to remind ourselves continually that we are all living as Christians by God’s grace.