From the Pastor’s heart
Zec_12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Grace is often spoken of without realising that it is a Spirit of God that is released to us on earth. When attributing character to God it must be seen as an embodiment of Spirit rather than an idea or a concept. When we attribute Spirit to God, we attribute His nature to Him. The fact that all of God is delivered through His Spirit requires a manifestation to understand Him. Therefore, the embodiment of Spirit in the natural takes on the form of the word in the written and spoken form. The word is Jesus, revealed as God and His character. Col_2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. This verse clearly defines the embodiment of the Godhead in Jesus. Now, ordinary men can see God in Jesus, whereas previously He remained invisible except at times when He manifested.
By virtue of His embodiment grace is seen in physical action even though it is the Spirit of grace. We see this embodiment of grace in Christ our Saviour. Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Joh 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. Joh_1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
The importance of grace in today’s understanding has been often eroded to mean many things it is not. The license ministers of God have given themselves through teaching grace has destroyed much of what God is trying to get the Church to understand about grace. We must draw our examples from the nation of Israel. Please note that Israel is even till today shut up under the Law and do not enjoy the grace of God which is openly available to them. They are blinded by other concepts that they hold onto dearly.
This begs the question; “What is grace”? It is defined as the unmerited favour of God. The meaning is brought out as, man not deserving anything that comes from God but is given grace to have something of life from God through God’s favour and not man’s worthiness. If man is an unworthy vessel to receive anything from God, why then is he given this favour? This is a good question. Since created beings such as ourselves are in a fallen state through sin, God considers this fallen state and out of His mercy decides to give us favour so that we can live life out of His ability and not ours. This avoids further falling into sin. This then means, we are totally dependent on God for His grace at every turn of our lives.
Mankind having fallen from grace in the Garden of Eden experiences grace restored through Jesus. Man is now able to come back to God out of the goodness of God that leads mankind to repentance and then into the favour of God. Though undeserving through sin, our sins are washed away by the price Jesus paid on the cross on our behalf. This is why grace was embodied in the flesh in Christ, so that, He could release it through His sacrifice on our behalf.
Where the law operates in any form, grace has no place in that scenario. It is important to note that the law does not negate rules and regulations pertaining to human conduct. On the contrary, rules and regualtions are very much a part of conducting oneself in a proper manner, otherwise grace will become a farce causing mankind to get away with anything and everything. Unfortunately, much of grace teaching in the Church today allows such a scenario to take place in the lives of Christians. This is false teaching. The fact is, grace is more strenous than the law in every sense. We know this by what the law versus grace expectations are according to the Bible. The law says; “you shall not commit adultery”. The teaching of grace says; “ if you lust in your heart after a woman, you have committed adultery with her”. So, it is apparent that grace is more demanding than the Law pertaing to human character and conduct which includes thinking and conscience.
The Spirit of grace is the ongoing force or power in the nature of Christ toward a person or even a nation. By nature, Christ (Saviour) is grace. Even in the Old Testament we see the hand of grace and mercy in God reaching out to sinners. God sends Jonah to bring the city of Nineveh to repentance. Nineveh listens in the first instance but years later is destroyed because they went back to their old ways. Grace has limitations. God’s Spirit will not always contend with flesh. Gen_6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Grace is given for a period of time and then it is withdrawn so that judgement can come. When a man is given grace in spite of his sin, he often thinks it is God’s approval or disinterest in man’s affairs. So, he goes deeper into his sin only to discover he needs rescuing. He then cries out to God for help. God comes and delivers that person because of grace and mercy. Yet, one day, God will not turn up to help because of continuing sin and disregarded warnings. This will turn to man’s folly and he will die in his sin because the wages of sin is death. I have come across much teaching whereby grace is used or given as a license to sin. Preachers (not all) either use the words grace or love to negate any warnings about sin. People go on their merry way while holding their pet sins to themselves on this basis having been given this license by teachers and preachers or their own understanding of the word. This has reduced their lives to demonic habitation, much sorrow and sickness.
Grace is actually a given opportunity by God for mankind who believe, to come to Him, be blessed and be able to function in a dark and evil world without being attributed with sin in the flesh. Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more. When things do go wrong, the words in this verse become applicable which is also grace. Rom_8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. This is a difficult verse for many who have lost loved ones, broken marriages, problematic relationships and difficulty in ministry and life in general. How can all things work together for good is the question? The workings of God to get a person through life in difficult situations is a mystery at best. It comes out of faith and trust in God in the worst of our situations in life. When one is chosen, grace becomes the redeeming factor in a person’s life. Psa 124:1 A Song of degrees of David. If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say; Psa 124:2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Psa 124:3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Psa 124:4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: Psa 124:5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. Psa 124:6 Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Psa 124:7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Psa 124:8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. God had chosen Israel and was their invisible help. Many a nation had come against them but God never allowed them to be totally destroyed even when they had sinned against Him. This is grace.
All of our protection in life through trials and circumstances in life often happen invisibly because of grace even when we are sinning. We are not living by our own abiiity but by the grace of God. There is no formula to life that we can apply and live longer or better or healthier. It is a lie that these things are possible and these lies are perpetrated by a world system of evil that came into this world with the first lie that satan told Eve in the garden. It is only the grace of God that allows us to bear this life and live it it in reasonable ways. Faith plays a big part in grace and they are two of the main ingredients for our salvation, survival and well being. Without faith added to grace, it is not possible for grace alone to work. This is expemplified in the concept of salvation. Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: These verses speak of the working of grace with faith. When the whole world is covered by grace, it is faith that brings that grace into a person’s life irrespective of the condition of sin to take hold off and cause salvation. Otherwise, grace has no power to save though it is extended to a person. A person of another religion has no salvation except they accept Christ through faith. Grace is extended but salvation does not become a reality till they receive that grace by faith.
We need to stop and think about grace and its power to give us salvation, to be blessed and live life in difficult circumstances though it is hard. When Apostle Paul asked to be delivered of a thorn in his flesh, this was the reply of Jesus. 2Co_12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. When he realised the power of grace, Paul was able to take on all circumstances in life and overcome them. Let us become overcomers through God’s grace witnessed in Jesus and given to us out of His mercy and not our ability or worthiness.
Lots of love