Friday, January 6, 2012
"MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT"
Good afternoon to All!
I have had a lot of thoughts running through this head of mine this last week. I've had thoughts of sorrow, grief, mercy, and grace to name a few.
I have spent a lot of time trying to work through my grief in my writings, but now I feel prompted to write about the grace of God.
Many of us tend to take the grace of God way to lightly. We look at it as a "free pass" to live our way, without considering the ways of God. We know Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and we are thankful. Yet some leave it at that . They pick and choose the scriptures they want to live by. They don't want to read about what God expects from us. We were created for HIS PURPOSE.
(8) For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. (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.
(10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
What is Grace?
Simply put, Grace can be defined as God's unmerited favor. God's grace is something God does for the benefit of His people just because He loves them. Grace can never be earned, it's totally free, but at the same time it is for those who love God and want His will in their life. Even though God's grace is for everyone, He does expect us to accept it with the understanding that we will love and appreciate Him for it.
If we only received JUSTICE from God we all would be dead because all of us have sinned Romans 3:23, 6:23, and the "wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23, yet God offers us a pardon (MERCY). Jesus died for us so that we could live, but His death can be our "salvation" only if we accept it. Just like the prisoner above, we can turn it down or we can accept this pardon that God offers John 3:16.
God's Grace is "the power of God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves", but it also aligns us with God's Ways. It teaches us how to live for God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
OK, this is ALL well and good. I read most of this on line. It had this and much more about the beauty of God's grace. It spoke constantly about the "free gift of grace" which saves us from our sinful ways to be united with God in Heaven for eternity.
What it did not cover is "what God expects from us for that grace".
I also delved further into my Bible. It seems that people like to talk about the love of God and what He wants to GIVE us, They seem to think that God is LOVE, so everything He does is free for us that we owe Him nothing in return. That since He is LOVE that He just GIVES, and GIVES and GIVES, expecting nothing back. How mislead they are.
YES! He is LOVE. But, I have a question for you. When you love someone, and you CONTINUALLY give and give and yet RECEIVE no love in return, how does that make you feel? Don't you get discouraged? Disappointed to the point where you finally give up?
I know that Psalm 84:11 says "For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that WALK UPRIGHTLY
(caps are mine). Acts 11:23 says: "Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
While grace is God's unmerited favor to us, 1 Corinthians 3:10 continues to show us that grace is not "just a free gift", but it is a teacher. This verse says 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.
It is speaking of witnessing and being good stewards of God's Word. God ultimately gives the increase and draws people to Him, but we are to do our part and plant seeds (His Word) and let someone else water, (come along and add to what we have the and nourish the knowledge which we have already planted, and then allow God to do the rest.
It is saying how we must be careful how we present His Word. We must make sure it is the Total Truth so that we deceive no one. Jesus Christ is the only foundation on which God's Word shall be based. Grace and the Holy Spirit will teach us if we will open ourselves up to it.
This verse tells me that grace is teaching me how to build my foundation, my relationship with Christ.
According to Titus 2:11-14 says, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL (caps are mine) men, (12) TEACHING us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people (set apart for His purpose), zealous of good works.
This is SOME of what the Bible says about grace:
It is Freely given, Psalm 84:11, Acts 11:23; 13:43.
It EMPOWERS men for service, 1 Corinthians 3:10; and 15:10.
It Enables men to lead the Simple Life 2 Corinthians 1:12
Here is something that people tend to OVERLOOK:
God's Word does say that He bestows grace upon Sinful Men, as in Titus 1:12-13: "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me as faithful, putting me into the ministry. (13) "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief".
This again tells me that we must allow the grace of God to teach us, listen to the Holy Spirit and be guided to the ways of righteousness for grace to be effectual.
It may be rendered ineffectual.
2 Corinthians 6:1 KJV says,We then as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. Galatians 2:21 KJV says I do not frustrate the grace of God:
for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Ephesians 3:7 says "Where of I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
James 4:6 reminds us "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
1 Peter 4:10 explains "As ever man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
The Amplified version states the above verse in this manner: "As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God's many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor.
In reading all of these scriptures and more, this tells me that God is merciful and has given us this gift freely, yet grace is not to be taken lightly such as "we can live the way WE want to and do things OUR way, and God's grace will be there to make things all right. NO, God's grace is free to those who LIVE for Him, and respect His Ways and "Walk uprightly".
It kind of reminds me of God loves me for who I am no matter what I do. God loves us this is true, but He sees us not as we are, but what we will be when He is done working within us. He sees the beginning FROM the end. He wants to change us so that we will be ready for that eternal Home of His when He comes to receive us. We cannot go as we are, because there is NO SIN ALLOWED IN HEAVEN. Therefore we MUST change.
It is not a "FREE PASS" to heaven.
Have a Blessed Day!