“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Eph. 2:8)
This series provides Biblical answers to many questions that begin with the words “Why” or “How”.
Why does God continue to love me, considering the things that I have done? Why should I believe that God hears and answers my prayers? Why would God want to bless me, as many times as I have failed Him? How could God ever use me?
The Bible tells us of the time when the children of Israel, after being under bondage for 400 years, were delivered out of Egypt by the mighty outstretched hand of God. He divided the Red Sea, the Israelites went through on dry ground, and then God caused the waters to return and drown the armies of Egypt.
When they hungered, God gave them manna from heaven to eat, and when they thirsted, He gave them water out of the rock to drink. He led them through the wilderness to a land flowing with milk and honey, but they would not go in and take it because of their unbelief.
Due to their sin and disobedience, God ordained that the nation of Israel would wander in the wilderness for forty years until those who had refused to go into the Promised Land had died.
For forty years the people of Israel continued to sin and rebel against God in the wilderness to the point that God wanted to destroy them all, but Moses intervened.
Yet when the forty years had expired and the Lord was ready to let them enter the land of promise, Balaam prophesied of Israel and said, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.” (Num. 23:21)
How could God say this of Israel after all of their disobedience? The answer has everything to do with you, how God looks at you, and why God will bless you and use you in spite of your failings.
IT IS CALLED GRACE.
In the Old Testament Hebrew it means kindness, favor, or acceptance. In the New Testament Greek it means the divine influence upon the heart and it’s reflection in the life. Many have also translated it to mean unmerited favor.
The grace of God is what causes God to look upon us and not see our failures and shortcomings, but instead causes Him to smile and His “face to shine upon us.” It is what makes us “the apple of His eye.”
But it is more than just God’s attitude towards us, more than just unmerited or undeserved favor.
It is that divine flow from God that washes over our heart and changes our nature. The prophet Ezekiel prophesied:
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Eze. 36:26)
Grace is that divine unction which comes into our heart and mind, changes our will to conform to God’s will, and then empowers us to enact God’s will.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Php. 2:13)
It causes our desires to change and become God’s desires, so that He can then enable us to perform His desire for our life.
“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
The degree of the provision and supply of our needs is in direct proportion to the degree of God’s grace.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2Cor. 9:8)
In writing to the church, the Apostle Paul says that “God is able”, making us to know that this particular degree of grace he is talking about is not already established.
Also, the Apostle Paul talks about “all grace”, whereby we see that we can have a portion of grace or we can have all grace.
Lastly, we see that “all sufficiency” and “abounding” is dependent upon our having “all grace”, not just a portion of grace.
“And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” (John 1:16)
We read here in John that “his fullness” of grace is related to us having “grace for grace”. What does the Bible mean by “grace for grace”?
We see then that there are actually two types of grace. God gives the grace of unmerited favor. This is His attitude towards us.
Unmerited, because we did not earn His favor, but we obtain it because someone else has earned it for us. This unmerited favor then puts us in a position of grace.
Because of this position of grace, God then empowers us with His divine influence upon our heart and its reflection in our life.
It is a divine power that transforms our will to become His will and then empowers us to perform that will.
This is “grace for grace”.
If the degree of our provision and ability is contingent upon the degree of grace, how can we cause this grace to grow to be that abundant grace, so that we can have “all sufficiency in all things” in order to “abound unto every good work”?
The answer is in understanding what God’s grace is, thereby believing in it and causing it to grow according to faith.