Grace has become a such a common term in Christian circles that I often wonder if we really grasp its meaning. In our churches, we sing the hymn “Amazing Grace”, but do we ever think about the lyrics? Are we aware of the story of John Newton, the writer of the lyrics of the beautiful hymn? There is no condemnation in these questions, simply a desire to raise awareness of how often Christian terms cross our lips and the lips of others without too much thought as to their meanings. As far as grace is concerned, its definition is the blessing and favor of God.
Grace to Live
“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” Philippians 1:21 (ESV). The Apostle Paul’s words remind us that Christ is very present in our every-day lives, even in the mundane. Further on, in the book of Philippians, Paul discusses his ability to do all things through Christ, even walking on difficult paths. Life is challenging whether it’s dramatic, mundane, difficult, or filled with ease. As humans, we tend to take what we consider small blessings for granted yet there is a beautiful grace given to us by Jesus to enjoy life despite current circumstances. If life is quiet and boring, live there because that season will pass. If life is difficult and challenging, lean on Jesus because that season will pass. If you have sinned, or if you keep stumbling into the same sin, turn to grace that not only sets you free, but gives you the power to overcome the sin and stumbling.
God Gives Great Grace
“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all,” Acts 4:33 (ESV). The Apostles were given great grace to give their testimonies of what they had seen Jesus do, and what they knew He could do in the hearts and lives of anyone who surrendered themselves to Him. Thousands upon thousands of people have endured harsh circumstances, prison, and torture for the sake of Jesus. How can a human endure such circumstances? The answer is great grace. God never asks of us what He will not give us the ability to accomplish.
I have discovered great grace in my own life. There have been circumstances that I have passed through such as the death of loved ones, financial calamity, loss of jobs, loss of friendships, and betrayal that I know I could not have walked through with my sanity in tact had it not been for that great grace.
Grace to Die
When Paul’s time came to die, he knew he was simply shedding the robe of flesh so that his soul and spirit could be with the Lord. If any fear tried to take over, grace overcame it. Paul told Timothy, his son in the faith, that he had fought the fight, finished the course, and kept the faith. He knew a reward was waiting for him. He faced physical death courageously as have many martyrs before and after the time of the Apostle Paul up until the present time in which so many of our Christian brothers and sister in the Eastern part of the world face intense persecution and martyrdom daily. How do people endure this insurmountable challenge? Grace!
How about you? Are there ways in which the great grace of Jesus Christ has kept you through difficult times? Do you acknowledge His grace to lead you through the every-day life and the mundane? Do you know His grace can take away every doubt and every fear? Since we have this awesome gift, let’s use it rather than leave it on the shelf while we live in defeat. Grace was given so we could live and live victoriously.