Last week we ended by looking at what grace is not so as to gain more understanding of the subject of the Grace of God. We found out that grace is neither the ability to fulfill the lust of the flesh nor a way to sin and get away with it. Grace gives you the divine ability to do what is right.
Other things that grace is not are:
- Grace is not a dead theological doctrine. It’s not a theory to give intellectual accent to. For example, with salvation, someone could know Jesus died, that He rose from the dead and never act on that truth and end up spending an eternity in hell. Yes the foundation for our belief is the written Word of God but the written Word was meant to be believed and experienced. The Bible says: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps. 34:8.) For many people, grace is something they read about and study about but they just theorize it and never experience it. The Bible says that Jesus tasted death for every man. He tasted death that we might experience Him and His grace!
Heb. 2:9 (New Living Translation) What we do see is Jesus, who “for a little while was made lower than the angels” and now is “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death for us. Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone in all the world.
Grace is the very person of Jesus Christ Himself.
- Grace is not founded on human performance or compliance to works of the law. Human performance and grace are opposed to each other. We cannot merit God’s love and everything He has offered us. It is based on His graciousness – for God provided it for us in Christ. It is not achieved by our earning it. We’ll study this in detail later.
- Grace is not a passive attitude that God has towards us. He has effectively acted towards us. It’s not enough to know God loves me. It’s vital to know what He has done about it. God has acted. He has sent His Son to take our place, to bear our sin etc. and bear the punishment so we can receive His total forgiveness, adoption and love.
- Grace is not the ability to miserably tolerate a situation. People sometimes go through situations with a defeated attitude and then claim that by the grace of God they’re coping with the hardships. That doesn’t sound like Grace that is sufficient for that situation. Grace is God’s ability to bring you out of trouble.
- Grace is not cheap. We should not show disrespect to the message of grace. Though it is free – to us – it is not free to God. If you receive an expensive gift from someone, it may be free to you but they paid for it. It was not free to them. Sometimes kids and teens abuse things they receive from their parents. But later when they become adults and begin paying for things, they take the best care of them because they realize the cost. Salvation is free to us the recipients but it was not free to Jesus. It cost Him His life; it cost Him His Blood. We should not be flippant about it but have a reverential attitude about it. Grace should make us the most thankful of all people.
As we conclude, let’s begin to briefly define grace; not by what it is not but by what it is.
Grace is what flows to us out of our gracious God. The term gracious refers to God’s aggressively benevolent inclination to show kindness and to bestow favors. It means God is very strong about being good to you. He is yearning to show you kindness. (See Psalms 35:27B, 68:19, 84:11,
145:16, and Luke 12:32.
Let’s continue from here next week. Till then, receive from your gracious heavenly Father and
be consistently thankful to Him.