All who are saved have had a unique encounter with the grace of God; recognizing that if not for His proceeding grace, which had been working in us at the time of our conversion, there would be no conversion.
Initially, we are taught that we are saved by grace, i.e. it is according to God’s favor, mercy, and goodwill where upon receiving His grace, through our faith in Christ redemptive work God has freely forgiven us our sins and exonerated our trespasses, therefore we have peace with Him; His enmity and wrath has been turned away from us because He has placed us in Christ.
Neither is grace or faith something that can be found in ones human nature, these are non created virtues that come from above as the Holy Spirit moves upon the heart and spirit of men. The religions of men come from dark forces or are the inventions of the mind. Truth, faith, and grace can only be received, where these virtues are the basis of the only true religion as one is born into a new realm, the kingdom of God. It is shortsighted and myopic to call this birth, into this kingdom, as a “religion”; certainly it is much more and reaches into every facet of ones life.
A new birth is not realized by simply reading scriptures, neither do faith or grace become a reality in ones personal experience without an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Listening to the emotional pleas of a preacher, to be saved, again without an interpersonal encounter with the Spirit and receiving from Him both faith and grace remain lifeless. Therefore, our justification, regeneration, and certainly our sanctification is truly based in this personal encounter and subsequent fellowship with God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in Christ. In other words, if our conversion is only dependent upon much reasoning’s of verses in scripture or an emotional response to a preachers emotional cohesion’s without having an initial and personal intervention with God and His grace, this assumed conversion is only theoretical, and is only an invention of men. We cannot separate our salvation from a personal God who willed it so, and who directly and personally, through the Spirit, has extended His grace to us personally, and in this manner we are His elect… Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand…
Therefore, I believe what we need to realize and acknowledge is that God’s grace is much more than mere words on a page, nor is it a greeting to begin a letter, as some believe when Paul begins His letters with … Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, God’s grace is more than an abstraction, a doctrine, or religious concept.
The Church today must understand that God’s grace is something that continues to be extended to all of us… speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God and is that important spiritual sustenance that maintains our daily life in an inner condition that is acceptable to God…. let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear, is something we can grow in… grow in grace, and is multiplied in our lives… grace unto you and peace be multiplied. Thus when we adhere to the instructions and mentoring of the Spirit grace will sustain and establish our hearts… for it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.
God’s Grace is more than meager knowledge of it, instead it is an inward knowing and can be recognized and realized in our spirit… the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace is the immutable expression of Gods goodness and goodwill toward us who believe Him, and is His extended hand and capability in Christ to raise us out of our current sinful and fallen nature.
Grace, as well as all of Gods other innumerable attributes are characteristically full of His life and power, in other words, when God communicates any of His innumerable attributes, and especially His grace, He also communicates something of Himself; i.e. because God is living, His word is regenerative at its coming to us, into our inward most deep parts. Therefore God’s grace is alive and full of every aspect and definition that one could possibly characterize as good, goodness, or goodwill toward those whom He has given it to, and is something that continues and sustains us throughout our lives… as he had begun, so he would finish in you the same grace also.
However, and for many, the grace that God has extended at their second birth is where their experience with grace ends, and when they come across the word grace in scripture they relegate this grace to a onetime event in their past. For others, they speak of God’s grace as if it were some kind of human positive emotion, and when it has run its course, they say they do not have grace for the task in hand any longer.
The grace many acknowledge that they have cannot be identified nor recognized as living and abiding, subsequently overflowing into their personal daily life. In other words, a common experience with grace for many is that it eventually ebbs in their lives, and because of personal indifference or atrophy this same living active grace they once knew, the grace that initially saved them, diminishes though it was meant for each of us to live by… looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God. Though God’s grace is given in various portions and many ways to the church for work and service … good stewards of the manifold grace of God… it is also meant that we daily live by it… I have written briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. J.C. Ryle explains the effectiveness of grace in our life,
Christ would have His people show that His grace is not a mere hot-house plant, which can only thrive under shelter, but a strong, hardy thing which can flourish in every relation of life. It is doing our duty in that state to which God has called us–like salt in the midst of corruption, and light in the midst of darkness
We seek God that we might know His grace, we know His grace that we might serve Him, where in most, this servitude is not necessarily in preaching or evangelizing but with reverence and godly fear as we go out through our normal day at work or home. It is the Holy Spirit who will instruct us in these things as we set our minds upon Him. God’s grace continues to come to us as we listen to the Holy Spirits instructions and obey them. …let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. We can recognize from the previous scripture that without God’s grace we cannot acceptably serve Him in the manner we ought to have, in godly fear and reverence. Any attempt on our part to stir up, in our own human nature, i.e. emotions, mind, will, or energies that we might believe or perceive to be a “godly fear” or reverence will fall flat. We must understand that anything that is required by God, if it does not originate in His Son, or has come from the Holy Spirit in His giving understanding or wisdom is worthless and a waste of time.
Christians today fret over many things simply because they have not found God’s grace and peace in the manner that is presented in the gospels. Therefore, we can recognize the absence of grace in our lives in several ways and manners; one is our occasional feelings of condemnation, conviction, or a sense of being distant from God. I hear many say that they feel distant from God, and for good reason, because they have no inner recognition of Him, or His grace, yet if only they would set their mind upon the Spirit, that they might not walk in accord with those things that sever us from the reality of God’s grace all would be well with them. Has God’s rejected us, NO, but if we are to know Him and His grace we have to obey for “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
For another Christian they are completely blind and dull to either Gods existence in their personal life or His grace. These are so full with this life and the things in this world that there is no room for God and His grace. It is only through crisis that they will seek Him, or it is only when they want something from Him will they give Him any acknowledgement. The idea that they are disobeying scripture does not enter their minds. In their spiritual apathy they believe all is right with them and the world, and they will continue on their path until God in His mercies attempts to correct them, that is, if they are correctable.
For others, recognition of the absence of grace is found in all their religious activities they busy themselves with. Though these folks know they cannot earn their salvation or God’s grace, and they will freely say they are not, yet what is resident in them is a compulsion to do something for God and of course it is “by faith”, believing that the more they do the more they are exercising faith and are in the grace of God. What lies behind this compulsion is an attempt to earn what has already been freely given, and that is the grace of God, in all its many expressions and manifestations.
The fourth person is as Paul and the other Apostles describe them to be, those who are growing in grace … see that ye abound in this grace …grace and peace be multiplied to you. A God given grace that is communicated where in its coming and taking residence in us provides us with an assurance and deep sense of security, providing you with an assurance that all is right with you and God, and this same grace is what acclimatizes and establishes your heart in this assurance and security. For this active, living grace will not bow nor is diminished in the least to either internal or external doubts, accusations, or temptations to question whether they are forgiven and saved for they are resting in God’s grace and peace.
And finally, we need to look at Paul’s life as recorded where it was said that he was full of grace and great grace was upon him. This being the case we can see from where came his passions for the church and his preaching of the gospel even in all that he suffered. We can recognize that for Paul God’s grace had not only been words on a page (Old Testament), but something dynamic in him that he personally recognized and experienced.
Though this generation of believers are struggling with all kinds of personal problems, sinfulness, and with their churches, we see that we are a people with many dysfunctions where we are blaming everyone and everything for our many and varied problems yet God’s grace remains extended to all of us as the spiritual remedy for all these personal struggles. what needs to be understood is though on the one hand we wrestle with our personal sins it is our heart that is the problem. On the other hand, it is the light of heaven that reveals to us our sinful heart. Therefore, the more you see and understand the sinfulness of your own heart the greater is your appreciation and dependence upon the grace of the lord
Though we are certainly not Paul, or any other Apostle, we have our own particular giftedness and personal life where God’s grace is extended to us to face all our personal and service challenges; God has no shortages of His grace, in Christ. We recognize that we all are living different lives and have our own particular and individual set of personal problems, but God’s grace is available to each of us, that is on His terms. My personal experience has been that though I have failed in many different ways, each time I would finally recoup from my failure and seek God again His grace was always there waiting in Christ. So we should know that God’s grace in Christ is always there, for the elect, we only have to reach out for it in the manners and ways that the bible and the Holy Spirit teach us to do.
In like manner as the scriptures tell us that the just shall live by faith, where it is an active healthy faith, posed toward the Spirit in us, and toward the throne of Christ. We are told how grace will be received and maintained, where the author of Hebrews explains to us to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence, the assurance of faith, and with our conscience sprinkled with blood. What should have become most evident is though a redemptive grace has been given through a single event a grace to live by is continual.