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Grace and Peace
Grace and Peace
(These are notes from a Sunday message given a few months ago.It was a worship message, given for about 15-20 minutes. The message is only on Grace; perhaps at a later date, there will be a message on Peace. Grace and Peace is what we Christians need to have, and live by.)
Paul uses this greeting often in his letters: 'Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.' Peter also uses a similar greeting: 'Grace and peace be multiplied unto you.' And we find John also using the same sort of greeting in 2 John and Rev 1:4.
What Grace Means
Grace means that God does everything; He supplies every need, solves every problem, strengthens us in every trial. Grace came to us through our Lord Jesus Christ, John 1:17. A Christian lives entirely by the grace of God. Paul says, in 1 Cor 15:10, 'By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly that them all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.' Three times we find the word 'grace' appear in that single verse. As CH Spurgeon said, our Christian life is 'all of grace'!
We should remember this always: The gospel is the gospel of grace. It is not legalism. We always have a tendency to look at ourselves, and try to find some merit, something worthy, in ourselves. But all in vain. There is nothing good in us, as Paul states so emphatically in Romans 7:18. We live entirely by the grace of God. As we grow in the Christian faith, we will find that we become more and more helpless to live the Christ-life. Remember, He said: 'Without Me, you can do nothing!' John 15:5. We need His abounding grace, at all times, in very situation.
How Grace is Ministered to Us
Grace comes to us through i. The word of grace, Acts 14:3, 20:32. Paul speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus says: 'I commend you, brethren, to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up...' Acts 20:32. Grace comes to us through ii. The Spirit of grace, Heb 10:29. We need to ask for, pray for, grace. James 4:6, 'He gives more grace. Wherefore...God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.'
Three Kinds of Grace
Basically, there are three kinds of grace. i. Saving grace. Eph 2:5, 8. 'For by grace are we saved through faith; and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God', Eph 2:8. We are justified by His grace, Tit 3:7. (Justified means 'declared righteous before God'. It is more than being pardoned or acquitted; the righteousness of Christ is reckoned to us, placed in our account. We are accepted by God just as Christ was accepted by God because of His perfect sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary.)
The second grace is ii. Sustaining grace. 2 Cor 12:9. 'My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' It is the grace given by God to us to bear every burden, endure every suffering that He allots to us. 1 Pet 2:19, 20. 'This is grace with God, that if a man...endure grief, suffering wrongfully.' 'If you do well, and suffer for it, and take it patiently, this is grace with God.' In the KJV the word is translated as 'acceptable', but the original Greek for 'acceptable' is the word for 'grace'. We are sustained by the grace of God.
The third grace is iii. Special grace. This is seen in the gifts given to every child of God. 'To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.' Eph 4:7. 'Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...' Rom 12:6. 'As every man has received a gift (or gifts) from God, even so let him minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.' 1 Pet 4:10. These special gifts of grace are given for the building up of the church, as Romans 12 shows.
The riches of grace are made available by the Lord Jesus Christ to every child of God - saving grace, sustaining (enduring, suffering) grace, and special grace (or gifts of grace). He is the God of all grace, 1 Pet 5:10. We live by faith in His word (promises) and by prayer, so that the Spirit of grace can strengthen us and give us victory over all situations, while providing for all our needs at the same time.
May this short message be a blessing to you all!
© Roland N Oliver/Pratonix