The outworking of biblical grace is experienced in a rich diversity of contexts and opportunities in our lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus. We’re all no doubt continually amazed by, and enormously grateful for, the truth of divine grace extended to us for salvation: that undeserved love and kindness of God that is prompted from His own heart of love, rather than by any merit in those who receive it.(1) That first encounter of God’s grace then introduces us to ongoing experiences of different facets of divine grace that affect our lives. We can think of the grace that prompts practical generosity and thoughtful kindness towards others, as exemplified by disciples in the Church of God in Jerusalem(2) and by the Macedonian saints as they sought the ‘favour’ (grace) of the opportunity to help relieve the suffering of their brothers and sisters elsewhere.(3) Paul himself also knew a special experience of the all-sufficiency of the grace of the Lord that enabled him to continue to endure the ‘thorn in the flesh’(4) and no doubt many of us have similarly known that same sufficient grace in challenging times. As we appreciate the truth that we are imbued with special spiritual gifts by virtue of the indwelling Holy Spirit, these very gifts are described as a ‘grace’ from God and our exercise of them is a demonstration of such grace.(5)

We come then to a very specific instance of the impact of the grace of God on our conversation, our manner of speaking and therefore our relationship with those around us. In writing to the Church of God in Corinth, Paul declared,

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge.(6)

Paul was clearly impressed and encouraged by the enriching effect of God’s grace on the way the Corinthian saints interacted with one another and, presumably, with those around them. The grace of God we experience in our salvation must also impact every aspect of our personality and behaviour thereafter. I recently heard of a young disciple who made a positive impact on his classmates at school because they noticed that he didn’t swear like everyone else did. I can recall work colleagues who made similar remarks to me and it opened up opportunities to explain why – sometimes it’s the apparently small things that make a difference and that people notice. It’s an example of what Paul exhorted the saints in Colossae to embrace with respect to their conduct towards and with others: Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.(7)

In this, as in all aspects of our lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus, He Himself is our great example and inspiration. In addressing their composition, their ‘song of love’, to the heavenly King, the sons of Korah proclaimed,

Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever

How readily we can trace the truth of that in the life and conversation of the Lord Jesus as recorded for us in the Gospels. Indeed, as He embarked on His public ministry with the reading from Isaiah 61 in the synagogue of Nazareth, all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips.(9) May we then also strive to

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.(10)

In doing so, we ensure that the evidence of the grace of God in our lives is seen in spiritually enriched and seasoned speech and conduct that honours the one whose name we bear and whose character and nature we should emulate, to the blessing of those around us.

References: (1) Eph. 2:8-9 (2) Acts 4:32-35 (3) 2 Cor. 8:3-4 (4) 2 Cor. 12:7-9 (5) Eph. 4:7; Rom. 12:6 (6) 1 Cor. 1:4-5 (7) Col. 4:6 (8) Ps. 45:2 (9) Luke 4:22 (10) Eph. 4:29

Craig Jones, Toronto, Canada

Bible quotations from NASB95