It’s Monday Grace!
Way back in the beginning of this ministry, I wanted to provide a definition of grace. Of course, the term has been a part of the church discussion from ancient times and there are many books written on it. So, I did my own Bible study and read a lot of good theology.
When it all came together, I had a very simple definition that could be stretched to as much detail as I wanted. Here you go:
Grace is what God does. The activity of God is all grace.
If I need to add something to that, I would add two words: for us.
Grace is what God does for us. The activity of God for us.
Sometimes I say it this way:
Grace is the activity of God’s love.
Now, I know this is simple. I’m a simple guy. I think simple is best. No matter how smart you think you are or what vocabulary you have or what level of education or experience you have reached, the gospel message is meant to be simple. Grace is simple.
But it doesn’t seem so simple, does it? It can’t be. How could so many people misunderstand grace if it is so simple? Why would people talk about too much focus on grace if grace is what God does? How could there be so much disagreement about something so straightforward? Who could disagree with the “activity of God’s love”?
Perhaps those who want to depend on their own efforts would find it hard to trust that God’s activity would be enough. Perhaps those who want to add their works or merit to what God does would not think that grace was enough. Perhaps those who look at others with judgment and condemnation would decide that the love of God is not enough.
From the beginning, God wanted His people to know that the activity of His love for them would always be enough. Adam and Eve had everything in the Garden. Everything God wanted them to have was freely given to them. They didn’t have to work for the things they needed. Think about that. They may have worked, but just for the joy and fun of it. Perhaps it was an amazing thing for Adam to plant seeds and watch the process of growth. Perhaps they worked with the animals and learned something of the creativity and compassion of God. Work was not about acceptance or necessity.
Even after they sinned, God provided for them. Things changed, but God still wanted to take care of them. If they continued to walk with Him, He would give them what they needed. He blessed their families. He saved them from the evil around them. He led them to a good land where He would bless them.
All God wanted was for them to look to Him and trust Him. When He brought Israel into the Promised Land, it was all supposed to be good. The land would produce easily for them. Enemies would be quickly subdued. They would have peace and prosperity. All God wanted was for them to let Him be their Lord.
But, the human heart compromised by sin developed its own wisdom and strength. It found ways to serve itself. People learned to trust in themselves, their armies, and their leaders. They even made their own gods, who would serve them the way the people wanted.
When they pushed God away, they also pushed away His grace, His activity on their behalf. They didn’t need it, they thought. They could do better. It was not enough for them. But they could find no peace without it. Apart from God’s grace, they struggled without satisfaction.
When Jesus came, He offered to reestablish our relationship with the Father. In Him, we are reconciled. Our sins are forgiven and we are restored to the place we should have apart from sin. In other words, God’s love acted to call us and save us.
So, when I say that God gives us grace, it includes everything He wants us to have. Knowing our weakness and our flesh, He offers to provide everything we need. Salvation is a gift from Him., an act purely of His grace. All we are asked to do is receive it. God gives us His grace for salvation.
What about everything else? Does God give us the grace to follow Him? Does He give us the grace to obey, to avoid sin, to look to the Spirit rather than the flesh? Think about it. We can’t do those things on our own, in our own strength and wisdom. So, God gives us everything we need, everything He wants us to have. Victory over sin, freedom from evil, new life and new joy—He gives us what He wants us to have.
Now, what about other things, the things we need in this life? That’s harder, but only because we are so used to striving for those things. Money, health, relationships, position, whatever it is that causes our concerns. We are told that we need to work harder. God will only help us up to a point, they say. But what if God’s grace is sufficient in everything, even the temporary things of this life?
I believe God gives grace for all our needs. He gave the most practical things in the Garden. He promised to provide for daily life in the Promised Land. In Heaven all our blessings will come from His hand. And He wants us to look to Him for everything today.
Even the trust. If you have trouble trusting Him, ask Him for the trust. If you have trouble believing Him, ask Him for the faith. Look to Him for everything. Then watch to see what He does.
So, when we say that God gives grace, we mean that God is active in our lives giving us whatever we need. Whatever He wants us to have, He gives us. That’s good news!
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9