My wife and I have been on holiday in Morocco for a week. It was quite a refreshing time of rest and relaxation. One of the highlights of that holiday was the food. We are used to having our breakfast late especially on weekends and days when we are not working so it took a bit of adjustment for us to maker sure we get to the restaurant between the hours of 7:30am and 9:30am to have our breakfast. The sheer amount of food choices available was quite overwhelming but it was fun deciding on what we would eat first and what we would eat next.
By the third day, we began to eat less and less not because we no longer enjoyed the food but because we knew we just could not keep up. It seems the more we ate, the more food came out of the kitchen. It felt like there was a conspiracy to over-feed us and we had to resist!
Our experience on that holiday got me thinking about God's unlimited grace. Grace is at the core of the the Christian faith. Without grace, Christianity is simply a religion or practice. Every act of God recorded in scripture right from the Old Testament to the New was based on God’s grace, which flows from the essence of His being. Without grace, we would all be trying our best to appease a God that we don’t know. This was what the Greeks were doing when Paul visited Athens and saw a lot of idols everywhere in the city (Acts 17:16).
One of the idols he saw had an inscription on it, ‘To an Unknown God’. You see, the people of Athens wanted to make sure that they covered all the bases. They decided to honour all the gods that they knew about as well as the any one that they did not know. When Paul began to tell them about the good news of the gospel, they were excited because according to scripture, the Athenians spent all their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas. They thought Paul was bringing the idea of a new god that they would be adding to their array of idols. Paul seized the opportunity to preach to them about the One True God. As expected, there was mixed reaction with some believing and others making jest of this ‘new God’ that Paul spoke about.
There are people like that today who are trying to reach out to God by going through a ritual but they do not realise that God already reached out to us through Jesus Christ. All that is needed was for them to receive that grace. This begs the question, "What makes Grace special?" We can answer this question by examining three attributes of God's grace.
God Is The Giver Of Grace - Grace is given by God. In Exodus 34:6, when God passed in front of Moses on Mount Sinai, He proclaimed His name, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”. Paul wrote to Timothy, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,” (1 Tim 1:9)
God's grace is free: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. “ (Ephesians 2:8-9) We had to pay for our holiday and that included the food so the hotel was obliged to make sure that they provided all that we paid for. God’s grace is free - we couldn’t even pay for it if we tried. That is why no one can boast - we did not earn the right to be saved or be rewarded by grace. It is a gift from God to all.
God’s Grace Is Abundant - There is no end to God’s grace. It flows endlessly in salvation, healing, deliverance and enriches our lives when we offer ourselves to His service. Remember how we could not continue eating in spite of so much food still available? You can never have too much of God’s grace. The more grace He lavishes on us, the more grace is available for when we need it. “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Corinthians 9:8) When you receive grace from God, He gives it to us with the invitation, “Come back again when you need some more!”
We cannot live a Victorious Christian Life Without Grace - It is hard - rather, it is impossible to live victoriously as a Christian without God’s grace. The moment we give our lives to Jesus, we declare war on Satan. He does not fold his hands and admit defeat. He takes it personal and you can be sure that He will lash out. The good news however is that there is no need to be afraid of Him because God promises to never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5)
In his letter to Titus, chapter 2:11-12, Paul declared, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”
One phrase that jumps out to me in that verse is ‘to free us from every kind of sin’. Sometimes as Christians, we tend to limit ourselves by the things we’ve done. We think “Surely God can’t forgive this” or “I’ve done this so many times I doubt that God bothers anymore. Even I won’t forgive myself that many times” Let me say categorically that this is a lie from the pit of hell. God isn’t a man that he has to count how many sins you committed or hold your past against you. Even now, He knows the areas where you struggle and offers His grace to help you. He knows that sometimes you’ll fall but what interests Him most is your desire to rise again, draw from His grace and keep moving on.
I feel the need to emphasise this because someone reading this piece now is dealing with this and I would like to invite you to accept God’s abundant grace. Paul, the greatest of the Apostles struggled with a weakness. There have been speculations about what the affliction he mentioned but the Bible does not explicitly tell us what it was. In 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 we read, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When we think about grace, let us remember what each letter represents - God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.