The Love of God (part 4)
Greetings precious people. I trust all is well with you and that you have been blessed by our studies on the Love of God. I usually state this at the end of each article but I feel compelled to state it now. If you have anything that we can pray for and with you about, please let us know. We have a number of prayer warriors here that are called to pray for people like you and i. God does listen and answer the prayers of His people. God wants what is best for your life. Listen to what God says in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
In our last study we looked at what the Bible, Godís Word, tells us concerning two major aspects of Godís Love, His Grace and Mercy. Mercy is God not giving to us what we deserve and Grace is God giving to us what we do not deserve. Salvation comes by way of His Mercy and Grace. Ephesians 1:6-7, "To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Titus 3:4-7, "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior"
We understand clearly from the Scriptures that it is solely the Mercy and Grace of God that saves a person from the penalty of sin. But what part if any does the Mercy and Grace of God have in our daily lives? This is what I would like to examine today in this article.
The Apostle Paul, who wrote many of the books in the New Testament, had this to say concerning the importance of the Grace of God in his daily life. In 1 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." It was the Grace of God that made Paul what he was. It was nothing of his own doing; he attributed every good thing in his life as having come from God. James tells us in James 1:17, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."
As you know, the New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. The word for Grace is ĎCharisí, which has the meaning of acceptable, favor, grace and gift. How fitting of a description for what Grace is and does in a persons life. It is the Grace of God that makes us acceptable to God; it is His favor shown to us which we could never earn; and it is a gift.
It is the Grace of God that enables us to live the Christian life. We do not have it in ourselves to do it. We would fail time and time again if it were not for His Grace. Every time I rely on my own strength and power I am headed for failure. But when I rely on and ask for the grace of God, I can do what God has called me to do no matter what the task may be.
In Paulís second letter to the Corinthians he reminded them of the abundance and power of the Grace of God in their daily lives. 2 Corinthians 9:8, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." Read that again precious people, it is the Grace of God that enables you to live for the Lord.
It is the Grace of God in both the good times and bad that enables us to press on. Paul had gone through more persecution and suffering for being a Christian than just about anybody. On top of all this, he was afflicted with some sort of physical infirmity that made his life difficult. Listen to his account of this. In 2 Corinthians 12:1-9, "It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ (this without a doubt was Paul himself that he is referring to here) who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows-- how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me. And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Listen carefully to Paulís response to what God told him in that He was not going to heal him. He didnít whine and whimper, sulk and pout. Rather he said, "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
It is in the good times as well as the bad times that we need the Grace of God. In the good times so that we do not begin to think that all that we have is because of our doing, 1 Corinthians 4:7, "For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" and in the difficult times that we may get through them.
It is because of Who Jesus is and what He has done and where He is that we can receive all the Grace we need to make it through this life. In Hebrews 4:14-16, "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Do you know Him intimately and personally? If not, you can, you must! Are you going through a difficult time? Call out to Him; ask Him to give you the Grace and Mercy that you need. He may not deliver you out of your difficulty like He didnít with Paul, but He will be with you and deliver you through the difficulty. He is an ever-present Help in time of need. His Grace will get you through.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail email@example.com
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine