Grace is the unmerited favor of God, which He freely bestows on them whom He has a special love. It is a favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men. Those who receive it are the ones whom God elects to eternal life through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is called the special grace of God, which is distinguished from the common grace, which is universally given. Common grace is bestowed on all mankind because of the Creator’s sustaining care for His creation; also known as the general providence (Matthew 5:45).
Grace originates from God. The Apostle Peter writes, But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you (1 Peter 5:10). And God gives grace to His children. The psalmist says, The LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11).
The Riches of God’s Grace
God’s grace has been so rich towards sinners. Through one man’s (Adam) disobedience sin entered into this world. Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul says, where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:20-21). Paul explains it further: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:3-7). The riches of God’s grace is seen in the fact that it begins from God and comes to us through His Son Jesus Christ, our Saviour. It precedes all human decision and endeavor. Grace always means that it is God who takes the initiative and implies the priority of God’s action on behalf of needy sinners. Grace is not earned or merited by a sinner, but it is freely and lovingly given to him who has no resources.
The Display of God’s Grace in Christ Jesus
The richness of God’s grace is displayed through His Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Apostle John declares in 1 John 4:10, 19, Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. We love him, because he first loved us. The Apostle Paul adds, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Romans 5:8, 10). Paul again writes, And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:18, 21).
The Effect of God’s Grace
Christians are indebted to the immeasurable riches of God’s grace displayed in Christ Jesus because the Apostle Paul says, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:5-9). By grace through faith, sinners become recipients of God’s mercy and all their sins are forgiven once-for-all. They stand before the presence of the most holy and righteous God for ever reconciled by the finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. Christ’s death on the Cross has become the propitiation for our sins, ie, Christ bore in His body the punishment due us for our sin; in so doing He satisfied God’s just demand that sin be punished (1 John 5:2). Hence, we are covered by the imputed righteousness of Christ.
By the grace of God, the whole of our redemption is already achieved and sealed in Christ Jesus, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified (Romans 8:29-30). This understanding of God’s grace should be a source of the utmost confidence, strength, and security for every believer. Paul says in Philippians 1:6, He who has begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Paul is convinced that the work of grace that God began in the believers at conversion will be divinely continued until the return of Christ.
The Strength of God’s Grace
God’s regenerating grace is dynamic. It not only saves but also transforms and revitalizes those whose lives were previously broken and meaningless. This is illustrated by the experience of the Apostle Paul. Paul testifies of the grace he received in his life, But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (1 Corinthians 15:10). Paul ascribes all to the grace of God, not only his conversion experience, but also the whole course of his ministry and pilgrimage on earth.
God’s grace is sufficient for all believers in their trials and struggles of life. This sufficiency flows from the infinite power and goodness of God. The Apostle Paul describes it the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power (Ephesians 2:19). Those who draw near to Him through Christ, He is able to save them to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25). In all their trials and afflictions, God’s grace continues to be unfailingly sufficient for them (2 Corinthians 12:9). The Lord has promised, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (Hebrews 13:5-6). Amen.
Grace Greater Than Our Sin
Marvelous Grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!
Sin and despair, like the sea-waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater yes, grace untold
Points to the Refuge, the mighty Cross.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! there is flowing a crimson tide
Whiter than snow you may be today.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are looking to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?