Much has been said by Bible students about the grace of God. . . .but not too much! Not enough will ever be said about it! In Genesis chapter 6, the degeneration of the fallen race of mankind is laid out in vivid detail, followed by the pronouncement of the holy God that He would “. . . destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But then we read, ”Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:7,8) This is the first mention of grace in the Bible. In the Old Testament, grace is mentioned in 38 other verses; in the New Testament, 124 times. We refer to this New Covenant as the dispensation of grace. The simplest definition of grace is “unmerited or undeserved favor”. There are some instances in the Bible where men extend unmerited favor to each other, but it is “God’s grace” toward His rebellious creation that the Bible focuses on, and that I want to focus on here.
A UNIQUE PHRASE
Several months ago, as I was doing an in-depth study of the Book of Hebrews, I came across a phrase that jumped off the page at me. The phrase, “LET US HAVE GRACE” in Hebrews 12:28. I did not remember ever seeing this phrase before. I found the reason was that this is the only place in the Bible where it occurs. My thoughts? What does he mean, “have grace?” I found what I consider to be the good and correct answer in Adam Clarke’s commentary, where noted British theologian and biblical scholar explains that the expression means, “let us keep, or hold fast, the benefit or gift of grace, that is, the heavenly kingdom which God has given us.” This explanation opened up an enhanced understanding and appreciation for God’s gift of grace. We are to cling to God’s grace in any and every circumstance.
Grace is the gift of God’s favor – His undeserved favor! “Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9) To the Ephesian Church, Paul wrote concerning Christ’s redemptive work, “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7) This means now, and in eternity. In the first chapter of the Ephesian epistle, Paul reveals that we have all of the blessings of salvation, “. . . according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Ephesians 1:5b) In other words, God extended His favor to us, not because He had to, but because He wanted to! It is man’s responsibility and privilege to seek God’s favor, but He freely offers it. It is His gift to us.
THE BIBLICAL CHALLENGE
The apostle reminds his readers how men and women of faith had endured through trials and temptations; how they held fast to the promises of God against incredible odds, all by the support of God’s grace. Then at the conclusion of chapter 12, he encourages us, “let us have grace.” At times we are challenged by circumstances to turn aside or falter in our Christian walk. We need to remember to hold fast to grace. Let me suggest some ways we can do this.
- Remember we are saved by grace through faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9) It’s not according to works, or ceremony, or the law, but by His grace.
- Rehearse grace. That is, talk about it over and over, and let it be a part of every possible conversation. If those of us who experience grace don’t talk about it, who will?
- Rejoice in His grace. In Ephesians 1:3, 6, we are taught to praise God’s grace. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. . . To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Other believers need to witness our praise, but so do unsaved people. Most of us are painfully aware that our countenance sometimes doesn’t reflect our gratitude for grace.
- Reflect grace. When the Church in Jerusalem got news about how the Lord was working and blessing among the Gentiles, they sent Barnabas to go as far as Antioch of Syria, and bring them a report. The Bible says, “When he (Barnabas) came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. God’s grace is reflected in the church and the lives of all believers, and it is a witness to all who see it.
- Rest in grace. Trust it. Rely on it in times when doubts and troubles arise. When Apostle Paul sought relief from what he referred to as a “thorn in the flesh,” the Lord reminded him, “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) God’s grace was sufficient for the apostle; it is sufficient for us, as well. LET US HAVE GRACE!
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