Bible Truths – What is Grace?

What is the Grace of God?

Grace is the love of God shown to the unlovely; the peace of God given to the restless; the unmerited favor of God. “Grace” is the most important concept in the Bible, Christianity, and the world. It is most clearly expressed in the promises of God revealed in Scripture and embodied in Jesus Christ.

Grace transforms our desires, motivations, and behavior, in fact, God’s grace grounds and empowers everything in the Christian life.

Hello again, I’m Randy Gaudet, founder and director of All Thailand Experiences. Those who have read my profile know how I first came to Thailand and my association with missions and churches since 1989.

We use funds from our tours to help the needy, change lives and spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We teach about the Holy Trinity, Love and Grace because of Jesus Christ and to tell Christians they are free from the Law, sin and death.

At most churches in Thailand the old covenant law is being taught and that Grace is not available to you if you break the law. We are training pastors about the New Repentance as written in the Bible with help from Pastors Nathan and Salila Gonmei at Abundant Grace Church in Chiang Mai.

On all our All Thailand Experiences Christian teaching blogs I will point to scriptures and explain the meaning on the topic. As our mission is to reach Thai people we will then watch or listen to Pastors Nathan and Solila give a sermon on the topic in English and Thai Languages.

Today we’re going to talk about What is the Grace of God?

The gospel of the grace of God is the message everyone needs. The word of grace is proclaimed from every page of the Bible and ultimately revealed in Jesus Christ. The last verse of the Bible summarizes the message from Genesis to Revelation: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all” (Revelation 22:21).

2 Peter 3:18, NIV: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him  be glory both now and forever! Amen.”

Verse 18 in the conclusion of Peter’s letter is an encouragement to keep growing in Christ. Specifically, Peter urges his readers to grow in two areas: The grace of Jesus, and their knowledge of Him.

To grow in grace does not mean to get more and more of God’s grace, necessarily. Grace, by definition, is unearned, unworked for. By His grace, God has forgiven our sins and given us full rights as His children in Christ. We can’t get more of that. But living under the grace of Jesus provides us a huge opportunity to grow spiritually stronger and deeper. Peter wrote in chapter 1 that we are not missing anything we need to lead the life God calls us to. Now it’s time to do it.

One way we grow under the grace of God is to grow in our knowledge of Christ. This implies two ideas. One of these is knowing more and more about Christ in our minds: information. The other is getting to know Jesus better and better in our relationship with Him. Both contribute to making us more productive servants (1 Peter 1:8).

Peter describes Jesus as both our Lord and our Savior. To really know Him, we must continue to grow in our understanding of what it means to live in relationship to Jesus as Lord and as Savior.

And we, like Peter, will reach a single conclusion: Jesus is the one who is due glory both in this moment and forever.

  1. Salvation (saving Grace)

Ephesians 2:8, NIV: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–.” Verse 9, “not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Those who are saved by Christ do not deserve this salvation. It is only by mercy, and by grace, that God chooses to forgive. In this section, Paul will repeat the claim that human effort has no impact on salvation whatsoever. No Christian can brag about their ”goodness,” since we are saved entirely by the grace of God, not by our own good deeds.

Paul repeatedly emphasizes that salvation is accomplished on the basis of grace, through faith. Good works, human effort, and our best intentions will never be enough to earn salvation. Every person is marked with sin, both deliberate and accidental, and for this reason we deserve to be separated from God. Only through His mercy and grace can we be saved, leaving no room for bragging. This also means that all who are saved, Jew and Gentile alike, are part of the same spiritual family. There is no cause for hostility between believers; we are all unworthy, and all saved by the same kindness of God.

Paul ended the previous verse with the teaching that salvation is a gift of God. Here, he continues with yet another reminder that works do not and cannot save us. Good deeds are important in the lives of believers, but they do not provide salvation. It has been said we work as a result of our salvation, not to provide our salvation. Paul’s Jewish upbringing had emphasized devout adherence to the law as the means to please God. He was faithful to his religion, yet did not know God. His salvation came when God revealed Himself to Paul by grace and Paul believed and was saved (Acts 9).

One reason for Paul’s frequent reminder about the futility of works is noted here, as well. If salvation could be earned, those who earned it would brag about their success in obtaining it. Paul certainly had experience with those who felt that their deeds had earned them a special favor with God (Philippians 3:2–11). The truth is, only He can provide salvation, He alone is worthy of all glory and honor. We exist as His servants, completely dependent upon Him for life and salvation.

Grace works in different ways to accomplish different things in our lives. The quality of  good fruit in your Christian life depends on how well you understand and walk in the Grace of God. You cannot experience His greatness and power in our lives without studying the Grace of God in scripture and excepting the truth about the Grace of Christ. Without Grace it is impossible to live the life God has planned for us.

  • Sanctifying Grace.

Sanctifying grace is God’s power and ability to purify us through Jesus Christ and live a holy, fruitful and abundantly blessed life in a corrupt world.

Titus 2:11, NIV: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”

This verse turns the focus of Paul’s letter from the Christians of Crete to a discussion of the grace of God. The mention of the appearance of grace is a reference to Jesus Christ and His appearance on earth (John 1:14). The grace Jesus brought was responsible for “bringing salvation for all people.” In the past, talk of salvation was primarily focused on the Jews, as God’s chosen people. However, with the coming of Jesus, the message of salvation was spreading to both Jews and Gentiles. This concept is especially important in this letter, since Titus was a Gentile and led churches on Crete, a Gentile territory.

Paul develops this theme of human unity elsewhere in his writings. He wrote that being Jewish or Gentile, free or slave, male or female was irrelevant: all are equal in Jesus (Galatians 3:28). In Colossians 3:11, Paul says again that race and ethnicity are meaningless, in terms of our relationship to Christ.

Titus 2:12, NIV: “It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”

 Two main areas are presented here in verse 12. First, God’s grace is involved in teaching us to turn away from worldly, unrestrained, godless behaviors. The Greek of this verse uses two words with similar meanings. One is translated as “ungodliness,” or “godlessness,” the other as “worldly passions,” or “worldly lusts.” Ungodliness is simply anything which contradicts God’s will or His nature. God’s grace helps believers in Christ to reject ungodly living. In addition, it helps us reject sinful desires. God’s grace trains us, or teaches us, to avoid behaviors that are sinful.

The second major point made in verse 12 involves living with self-control, morality, and godliness. “Self-control” is an idea frequently mentioned in Paul’s letter to Titus (Titus 1:8; Titus 2:2–6; Titus 2:12). It emphasizes the importance of a disciplined life. This attitude was in sharp contrast to the lazy, self-focused lifestyle of many people in Crete (Titus 1:12–13). The Greek dikaios is translated as “righteously,” or “upright,” and literally means “proper,” or “right.” “Godly” is the polar opposite of “ungodliness,” mentioned earlier in the verse. This is from the Greek eusebos, meaning “virtuously,” or “piously.”

God’s Grace empowers us to have the ability to turn away from the sinful and lustful ways of the world and live right and proper. This power is a free gift from God. You don’t have to earn it or work for it, just believe it was given to you freely by the blood of Christ on the cross.

The more you study the Word the more Grace empowers you. The things of the world you enjoyed doing in the past that ruined your life and stole your joy will be interesting to you no more. You will start to enjoy the abundant life full of Grace with peace and joy restored and you will thank God for His Sanctifying Grace every day.

Romans 5:20, NIV: “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,”

We have peace with God, and we stand in His grace. We rejoice both in the hope of God’s glory and in our temporary suffering. We have hope that will not disappoint, because God has already proved His love for us. Paul then compares the work of Adam in bringing sin and death into the world with the work of Christ in dying for sin in order to offer God’s free gift of grace to all who believe. Jesus, hung on a tree—a phrase implying crucifixion—paid for our sin, making it possible for all who believe to reign with Him in eternal life.

The work of Jesus Christ on the cross released Grace into our lives so growing in (studying) Grace is growing in (studying) Jesus Christ. We must understand Grace as it is written in the scriptures and not taught by man. Our growth in Christian life depends on our knowledge of the Grace of God. No matter what anyone tells you it is impossible to experience the abundant Christian life without the knowledge of Grace.

  • Strengthening Grace (living victoriously).

Strengthening Grace is God’s power and ability to help us live victoriously when dealing with challenges and circumstances of life. Grace strengthens us so we can live in victory over the powers of the devil. When we are born again we are not immune from challenges and circumstances. Thank God we have His power to strengthen us.

Romans 5:17, NIV: “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!”

Paul now writes, those who receive the abundance of God’s grace and the free gift of righteousness will themselves reign in life (now) through Jesus. In other words, receiving God’s justification by placing our faith in Christ not only frees us from the kingdom of death, it allows us to rule in the kingdom of life alongside Jesus, as the very children of God. Some translations add the word “will” before reign, since the Greek word here—basileusousin—is in the future tense. This verse very likely points to a future time when Christ’s kingdom will be fully established on earth, although our status as His co-heirs is already established (Romans 8:17).

It’s essential to notice, however, that Paul has added a qualifier in this verse: This freedom from death and life in Christ is available only through Jesus and only to those who “receive” the abundance of God’s grace. Not everyone escapes death’s reign, because not everyone receives, by faith, God’s gift of life (John 1:12).

Those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through Jesus Christ!

When you are born again you reign in life, you reign over sin and destructive addictions. You reign over sickness and disease. You reign over poverty and lack. In other words, you reign over anything that holds you back from experiencing the abundant life that Jesus died to give you!

The Lord’s desire is for you to reign in life. The more you receive the revelation of the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, the more you will experience His abundant provision for every area of your life. Now, we know that faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of Christ (see Rom. 10:17, NASB), so keep on hearing the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness preached. The more you hear, the more you will receive.

Most Christians are sincere however they are not experiencing true power of abundant Christian living or life because their understanding of grace is missing. The true Christian life is impossible without the knowledge of Grace.

  • Sharing Grace.

Sharing grace is God’s power and ability to meet all our needs and then we have joy giving to others. This also opens our heart to others in need. This grace is more than sufficient in all things by the grace of God, overflowing with abundance so we can share God’s blessing with others.

This is a supernatural gift of God as most people are hoarders, keeping everything for themselves and selfish as that is part of the sin nature. By our own strength we cannot be generous. Through grace God gives us the spirit to give when needed.

2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

Why would someone be hesitant to give to meet the needs of others? One reasonable concern might be fear that we won’t have enough left over to meet our own needs. In this way, giving for Christians becomes an act of faith, trusting God to meet our needs while becoming the method by which He meets the needs of others.

Christians can afford to trust the God who loves us. He has already proven Himself faithful by giving us His grace through our faith in Jesus. He has given us all things forever in Christ. That knowledge should help Christians to be convinced He can be counted on to continue to make all grace abound to us. He will make it so we have more than “enough” of all things at all times so we can accomplish the good works He wants to see from us.

Christians who give generously are convinced that the source of their provision will not run out—because that source is God Himself.

Paul’s explanation of benefits and opportunities tied to generous giving. The key point is that godly giving is a Christ-like act of grace. God does not intend giving to be done as an obligation, or under a cloud of legalism. Rather, it should be inspired and driven by a willing and cheerful heart. Giving is an opportunity for believers to participate with God in meeting the needs of the poor. God increases the ability of believers who give generously to give even more. This results in increasing His righteousness on earth, as well as in causing thankfulness to Him to overflow. He will be glorified by those who receive the gift and pray for those who give. God will always provide enough to supply all we need to do what God has designed for us to do.

The more we study selfishness, the more clear it is that this quality is actually a sin. With selfishness comes a sense of entitlement. And we who are born depraved sinners are entitled to nothing except for the wrath of God. All we have and are is because of God’s mercy and grace.

Striving for your own self instead of the needs of others is very wicked in the eyes of God. It is the breeding ground for all sorts of other sins. At the heart of selfishness is an absence of agape love for others. It doesn’t take any sort of self control to be selfish. Rather, we as Christians live lives that are to be in complete control of the spirit.

In 2 Corinthians we learn that Christ died for us, so that we might no longer be bound by a life of complete selfishness. After we are saved, we need to grow in sanctification. This is the process by which we are made more like Christ. We learn to be more loving, kind, brotherly, sympathetic and humble.

I encourage you to pray for humility and the love for others. Remain in the heart and mind of God (The Bible). This will help you to have His heart and mind. I encourage you to preach the gospel to yourself. Remembering the great love of God changes our heart and helps us to love others more. Be intentional and creative and find different ways to give and love others.

God empowers us by His grace to be saved, to become righteous in Christ, to live Godly lives, to live victoriously, to have abundance and be generous to others. When we understand and cooperate with His grace we experience an abundant life most Christians don’t know and never experience.

Your life should be exciting, full of God’s power and blessing. If not, you do not know the true meaning of grace. You do not have the revelation of living by the grace of God. If you try to live the Christian life in your own strength you will be disappointed. Trying to live the Christian life without grace is like driving your car without gasoline. Because of this there are many Christians who do not understand grace have given up on God.

  • Serving Grace

Serving grace is God’s power and ability to serve Him and others with His divine gifts freely given to us.

1 Peter 4:10, NIV: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

Christians should not excessively invest ourselves in a world that is passing away. Believers should not divert ourselves with whatever pleasures we can find to indulge in. Instead, we should manage our minds for effective praying and love each other deeply, including sharing our homes and food with Christians in need.

Now in this verse, Peter says we should take a very different view from others in the world about anything we might call “ours.” First, he implies that we must see whatever we have as a gift from God. After all, we have nothing which God has not given to us (James 1:17). Second, we should see whatever we have been given as an opportunity to serve other Christians. In other words, we should not view anything which is “ours” as off-limits for use in serving other believers.

A steward is one entrusted to manage the property of another. Every good thing we have is ours only by God’s grace and intended to be used for His purpose. To fail to use God’s gifts to us to serve each other is to fail to be a good steward. Wisely using everything we have to serve each other is part of fulfilling our purpose as God’s set-apart people.

The Bible gives some serious warnings about living in the last days. As the time for Christ’s return for His church draws ever closer we are warned to be clear-minded and self-controlled. We are exhorted to be sober in deed and watchful in prayer. We are to have fervent love for one another knowing that love covers a multitude of sins and we are to extend gracious hospitality to all those with whom we come in contact – and to do it without complaining.

One further admonition is to be diligent in the correct and wise use of our spiritual gifts. We are called to faithfully administer our own particular gifts of the Spirit – for each gift is a holy stewardship which Christians receive from the Lord.. for the building up of the saints and to the glory of God.

Christians are given spiritual gifts to fulfill a special function within the body of Christ. Each member receives at least one spiritual gift and Peter calls us to be good stewards of all we receive from the Lord. Our gifts differ according to the grace God gives to each of us, and we are instructed to exercise them in accordance with the proportion of faith we have received.

But we are called to test the spirits to see if they are of God and the spiritual gifts we receive from the Lord must be used correctly and administered according to Biblical principles, for we can dishonor the Lord and discredit our testimony if they are are administered selfishly, incorrectly or inappropriately.

The inflow of our spiritual gifts from God should result in a beneficial outflow of His grace to others. Gifts are not for our own selfish gratification but for the edification of the body of Christ. The grace that pours into our lives should become a channel of God’s blessing, which in turn is willingly poured out in service to others… for His greater glory and praise.

Created by Randy Gaudet with contribution from Abundant Grace Church, Chiang Mai Thailand

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