The grace of God and the God of all grace
Grace is an attribute of God, Neh. 9. 17; Ps. 111. 4. It is eternal, and unchanging, for God is eternal and never changes, 2 Tim. 1. 9; Mal. 3. 6. Grace is God’s unmerited, unsought love and favour, freely bestowed upon guilty sinners who deserve nothing but wrath, judgement and eternal punishment. How wonderful it is to meditate on the amazing grace of God. In eternity, believers and other created beings will learn more and more of the beauties, greatness and riches of God’s grace which will be revealed in the kindness He has bestowed, and will yet bestow upon us, ‘through Christ Jesus’, Eph. 2. 7.
God is ‘the God of all grace’, 1 Pet. 5. 10. As He is sovereign He bestows grace on whom He will, Exod. 33. 19. Grace comes from the ‘throne of grace’, Heb. 4. 16, and in the exercise of His sovereign grace God chose believers in Christ ‘before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love’, Eph. 1. 4. What a debt of gratitude and love believers owe to the God of all grace!
The grace of God, who is infinitely holy, righteous and just, is revealed solely in and through His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the the One who came into the world to suffer and die as the substitute for sinners, 1 Tim. 1. 15. The grace of God has been manifested in the coming of the Lord Jesus, and those who repent and accept Him as Lord and Saviour are saved eternally, Titus 2. 11; John 3. 36.
Our salvation can only be on the basis of grace not works
No man can keep the law of God, for we are all sinners by nature and practice, Rom. 3. 23. The law condemns us, and no one can be justified by keeping the law of God, Rom. 3. 20. The glorious truth is, however, that ‘where sin abounded, grace did much more abound’, Rom. 5. 20, and now believers are saved by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Eph. 2. 5, 8, 9. Being unable to keep the law, we can only be saved by grace alone, and can contribute nothing to our salvation, Rom. 4. 4, 5; 11. 6. Believers are ‘justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus’, Rom. 3. 24. Because of our sin we would have been condemned to eternal separation from God, but the God of all grace has instead provided the means to bestow upon us eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, Rom. 5. 21. Here and now, by grace, we are forgiven and saved from the penalty of sin and are being saved from the power of sin, Rom. 6. 14. One day, again through grace, we shall be saved from the presence of sin, 1 Thess. 4. 16, 17.
It isn’t only for our salvation that we need the grace of God
We owe all our blessings in this life and in eternity to the grace of God, Rom. 5. 15. The Lord Jesus Christ is the One through whom it all comes for though He was rich yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich, 2 Cor. 8. 9.
The Holy Spirit is referred to as the ‘Spirit of grace’ in Hebrews 10. 29, and it is He who, in grace, revealed to us our terrible, hopeless and helpless condition as lost sinners, and He who led us to repentance and a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now that we are saved, God is able to make grace abound towards us so that we ‘always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work’, 2 Cor. 9. 8. By the grace of God, and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the believer is enabled to do the good works which God planned beforehand for that believer to do, Eph. 2. 10; John 14. 17. We need to look to Him for the grace that enables us to be there for others.
Thus, the God of all grace longs to bless us more than we might ask for or imagine, Eph. 3. 20; Ps. 81. 10. As believers we can take comfort and rejoice in knowing that, no matter what the circumstances, His grace will be sufficient for us, 2 Cor. 12. 9. So again, we need constantly to draw upon this grace and be aware of it’s sufficiency to take us through life. The only way to prove it is to test it.
Grace provides a new liberty, not licence, in which to walk
Being under grace and not under the law, we have freedom, but with freedom comes responsibility. Our new freedom and liberty do not give us licence to do things contrary to the will of God as revealed in His word. Grace teaches us that ‘denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’, Titus 2. 12, 13. The believer who is living close to God will experience such love and gratitude in response to His grace that he will want to serve out of love, doing far more than if he had been motivated by fear. Our service for the Lord is the outcome of the operation of His grace in our hearts. Although on the one hand we have the responsibility of proclaiming the glorious gospel of the grace of God, we do it out of and through the grace that He provides, Acts 20. 24; Mark 16. 15. Our speech then should be ‘always with grace, seasoned with salt’, Col. 4. 6. Our lives should be ‘to the praise of the glory of his grace’, Eph. 1. 6, and we should be steadily growing in grace and ‘in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’, 2 Pet. 3. 18. It was when Barnabas saw the evidence of the grace of God in the lives of believers at Antioch that he was glad, Acts 11. 23. This was the proof he needed of the reality of their conversion. It is through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit that we can show, not only as individuals, but also as local assemblies of the Lord’s people, something of the grace of God to the suffering world around us.
Grace is that which will mark all our days and the glory to come
Paul said that he was the worst of sinners, 1 Tim. 1. 15, and ‘in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing’, Rom. 7. 18. Throughout his life Paul was very conscious of the grace of God that had saved him and used him. Indeed, the grace of God was one of the truths that dominated his thinking, and references to grace appear at the beginnings and endings of his letters to believers.
In the exercise of sovereign grace, the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to believers to use in service, 1 Cor. 12. 11; 15. 10. One day, believers will receive rewards for the use of those gifts, yet nothing will be attributable to them for any results that have been accomplished; it will all be only by grace, Rev. 22. 12. How great and wonderful then will be our joy and rejoicing in this ‘God of all grace’.