Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 9 - Grace Has Given Us All We Need - 30 Days of Grace

We have looked at a general definition of grace as seen in the Old Testament and then in the New Testament.  So what is the work of grace in our lives, and what has God done for us by grace? Let's look at some verses that sum up what God's grace has done for us:

1 ...To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Peter 1:1b-4 

What is God acting by in these verses?  He is acting by or through His righteousness and the righteousness of Christ!  The righteousness of God is the power and force behind all His acts of grace in our lives.  His love moves His heart to act in grace (undeserved favor), and it is by His righteousness that His grace works in our lives - not through OUR righteousness!  We don't have to be righteous in order to be loved or graced (favored, accepted, empowered) by God!  It is HIS righteousness that matters, and by His perfect goodness He moves in our lives and helps, saves and blesses us!  So how does He bless us?  Let's see...

How do these verses describe our faith?  Our faith is precious!  We have received or been brought into a state of faith that is of equal standing with all other believers in Christ.  That is the first work of grace in our hearts!  God moves in our hearts and stirs us and implants a seed of faith in our heart so that we can believe the gospel.  We don't even have to muster up faith on our own - it is a gift from God, it is the faith of Christ Himself given to us!

Next we see God gives us grace and peace. How much grace and peace?  A multiplication of grace and peace, in abundance! God showers on the grace and peace and makes it ours!  He pours out the grace - His freely given favor, acceptance, and acts of blessing; and He pours out the peace - the wholeness, tranquility, rest, and perfect harmonious relationship of oneness with Himself!  Wow!  

How does He pour out these things on us, how does He minister this grace and peace to us?  Through us coming to know Him and His Son Jesus!  (Notice it doesn't come by our working hard, earning it, or striving to be good enough to get it - it just comes by simply knowing Jesus!)  So God by grace gives us the gift of faith so we can believe and come to know Jesus, and He pours out His grace and peace as we have this knowledge of Christ!  We actually come to know Christ when we become a Christian.  We are brought into a wonderful fellowship and relationship with Jesus!

What has God, in His divine power, given us as a gift by grace?  He has given us everything we need for life and godliness!  How much has He given us?  Everything!  Everything we need for life, and everything we need for godliness!   So do we need any more or anything else than what He's given us already?  NO!  Are we lacking or deficient in any way?  NO!  Do we need to strive to get more, have more, etc. to really be successful in life and Christian living?  NO!  Do we have less than others or need to compare ourselves to others in any way to see if we are short on some virtue or gift?  NO!  Is there anything more we need to become, do, attain to, strive for, or reach?  NO!  If we already have everything we need in Christ, we don't need to do more, be more, attain more, or have more.  We have all we need and we are all we were meant to be, just by knowing and having HIM!

This is such a wonderful and big way of saying what God's grace does for us!  He gives us faith, brings us to know Christ, and then He pours out the grace and peace in our hearts and gives us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness!  Wow!  It's a full package deal!  We aren't trying to get anything from God, then, for HE has ALREADY given us all we need for life and for godliness!

Through what means does He give us this grace gift of everything we need?  It is through the knowledge of Christ!  We have come into a personal relationship with Christ and through HIM, we have received it all!  Thus we see that where are all these things, everything we need?  They are all in Christ Himself!  Christ Himself has, holds, and IS all these things!  HE is everything we need for life and godliness!  So the big grace gift of God, the everything we need for life and godliness, is really what?  It is really Christ Himself!  HE is all we need and everything we need.  All that's needed for life and godliness is wrapped up in a Person, and we have come to know that Person!  We have been brought into constant, unbroken fellowship with that Person.  We have come to know that Person in a real, personal, deep way by real experience!

Is this all our doing and by our work?  How does this knowledge come about?  It comes through Him who called us - it comes through God's work of calling us to Christ!  It doesn't come by our straining and striving to do enough good things to get on God's good side so that He will let us come into Christ's presence.  No, it comes through God's calling! Through His choosing us and calling us to come to Him!  Through His drawaing and wooing and making the way!  He wants us to know Him and brings us to Himself, shows us Himself, introduces us to His Son so we can know Him.  He isn't hiding Himself but revealing Himself to us!  It isn't us who had to call and search for God, but He who called us and came and searched for us and brought us to Himself!

Why did He call us?  It was by His glory and goodness!  In other words, it is the essence of who He is (His glory) and His nature (good) that brought Him to call us and bring us to know His Son!  It was by grace!  It was a free gift!  And not only that but some translations say He called us by and TO His glory and goodness, meaning that is not just why He acted in grace but also what He brings us to in grace - He brought us out to know and participate in His glory and goodness, to know and experience His glory presence and His wonderful goodness to us!  He lavishes His Presence and His good gifts on us!  What a wonderful God and what wonderful grace!

Through His glory and goodness, what has God graciously given us?  He has given us His precious and great promises!  He has given us His word telling us His will, and we know He'll keep His word, for He is always true to it.  So we know His promises are SURE, and CERTAIN, and He is so faithful that we can call them already DONE!  The Bible says that all the promises of God are Yes and Amen ( in other words they all come true and come to pass ) in Jesus, so in coming to know Jesus, ALL the promises of God have come true for us already!  We are standing on fulfillment ground!  They have all been made ours!  

What have these promises done for us?  They have made us partakers of the divine nature!  Wow!  Talk about a grace gift!  We, through becoming a born again believer, now have a divine nature rather than a sin nature!  We will talk more about this later, but for now, it means that we have been made righteous and good!  We have God's nature inside and we share His own nature!

How is this possible since we had been such sinners?  We have escaped the corruption in the world through evil desires!  In coming to know Jesus, God has delivered us from the corruption, decay and death in the world that came through evil desires of the sin nature!  He has rescued us from that existence, that nature, and the effects of that nature (sin and curse and death).  Christ's death has taken away our sin and cleansed us, so that we could now have a new life and nature, starting afresh with no sin nature or sin problem or sin punishment/effects. His resurrection has brought us to new life in Him!  We have been lifted into the new creation life of Christ and born again with His nature!  

This is just an overall summary of what God's grace has done for us in Christ.  God, by His grace, has truly given us all we need!  He has brought us to faith in Christ and brought us into relationship with Christ.  He has brought us into the fullness of everything Christ has and is.  He has brought us into the life and nature of Christ!  We have truly been graced and favored, and this is all a wonderful gift of God that we didn't have to earn or deserve or work for in any way.  It was abundantly given to us through the work of Christ, His work of grace.  

Let's dig in more into this work of grace that Christ has done for us and all He's given us!  Next time, let's start that grace excavation and really go deep and uncover the riches of His grace in His gift to us through Christ - let's dig into the gospel of grace and His finished work for us, which has given us a whole new identity  and riches in Christ!

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14