As the apostle John considers the incomparable person of the Lord Jesus being full of grace and truth, he adds that from that very fullness of grace we receive one blessing after another! (1) It’s such an extensive range and it should impact our lives daily.
Paul is on the same page; his letter to the Ephesians notes these riches of God’s grace that are lavished on us. That’s with God’s full understanding of what the result will be and it is to the praise of that essence of God: His glorious grace. (2) God is generous. ‘Lavished’ implies that there is so much; we are being flooded by grace.
Paul explains to the Romans that grace is an essential element of our ongoing lives for the Lord; it’s our stand. (3) He also notes that the Colossian saints understand God’s grace in all its truth. (4)
The following examples of that extensive range of grace blessings help us to know more of that truth. We will need to be open to receive such grace:
Comfort – being indwelt by God, the Spirit of grace. (5) He is given as that deposit who guarantees, through His continuous presence in each believer, the reality of the inheritance promised until we meet our Master. (6) Every day grace!
Benevolence – in an ‘other-worldly’ manner, giving to God freely with joy, such as in the early days of the Church Age in Acts. ‘Much grace upon them all’ resulted in any of their fellow disciples in need being helped with magnificent gestures of selflessness. (7) It was later seen in the Macedonian churches, who despite severe trial gave generously as they received God’s grace. (8) That’s a standard to realise.
Scripture – on the beach at Miletus Paul prayed to God that the Ephesian elders would be kept by the word of his grace so that they could be built up in the days ahead. (9) It’s a great prayer to echo!
Triumphant lives – having pointed out to the believers in Rome that they had once been dead, Paul writes that the abundant provision of God’s grace is a vital element in living victorious lives, so we are led in triumph in Christ. We will reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. (10)
Doing the good works God has set up for us to undertake. Paul told the Corinthian church that God was able to make all grace abound to them, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (11) No gaps! We can see Paul looking for help to achieve this in his prayer request in Colossians 4:3-4. Surely this is a clue to us in receiving such grace.
Needy times – previously in this series we read about Paul’s difficulty with his ‘thorn’.(12) The answer to his prayer about that is evidence to trust Hebrews 4:16 – confident of grace to help us in time of need.
The writer of Hebrews later points out that we need to watch out that we do not miss the grace of God (13) as we live out our lives for the Lord. Here are three ways this could happen:
By missing opportunities to experience its potential, as Paul explained to Corinth. God helps us now, so let’s avail ourselves of that and not sidestep it. (14)
By not recognising that we have received amazing grace to fulfil God’s specific purpose of service from us. Those in churches of God in Myanmar frequently commence their reply to the question, “How are you?” with, “By God’s grace …”. It would appear that Paul and Barnabas recognised how God’s grace had helped them on their first missionary journey, as it was relayed to Luke how prayers in Antioch had been answered. (15)
By not recognising how God’s grace is impacting others. It stood out to Barnabas when he went to Antioch. It made him rejoice and ‘engage’ his own gift – encouragement. (16)
Let’s continue to ask for this available grace, (17) be strengthened by it in our lives, (18) allowing us to be strong. (19) The phrase,‘there but for the grace of God go I’ has great scope!
References: (1) John 1:14,16 (2) Eph. 1:6-8 (3) Rom. 5:2 (4) Col. 1:6 (5) Heb. 10:29 (6) Eph. 1:14 (7) Acts 4:33-34 (8) 2 Cor. 8:1-3 (9) Acts 20:32 (10) Rom. 5:17 (11) 2 Cor. 9:8 (12) NT Issue 3, 2023; 2 Cor. 12:7 (13) Heb. 12:15, NIV1984 (14) 2 Cor. 6:1-2 (15) Acts 14:26 (16) Acts 11:23 (17) Acts 13:42-43; 2 Cor. 9:8 NKJV (18) Heb. 13:9 (19) 2 Tim. 2:1
Tony Jones, Aberkenfig, Wales
Bible quotations from NIV 2011 unless stated otherwise