People often confuse grace with mercy. There’s not a person reading this who could live a godly, blessed life without both. I’ve heard countless sermons on the concept of grace in my life, and often it is turned into something very complicated. In reality grace is simple to understand and impossible to live without. In 2 Peter 1:2-3 the Apostle Peter said this about it, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue.” Simply put, grace is the favor of God that gives us access to the power of God for everything we need in this life. Everything.
Grace is the undeserved, unearned favor of God that gives us access to the power for all that we need to experience the life He has planned for us. I don’t know about you, but I need that undeserved favor every hour of every day. When God’s unmerited favor is on your side, nothing can stand against you.
Mercy is when we have sinned and deserve judgement, yet because of the amazing sacrifice of Jesus we are released from that punishment. I’ve had deep conversations with people who refuse to accept the fact that Jesus bore our sins, that the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. That my friend, is the Word of God. They are truth and they are life! God has shown and daily shows us mercy when we no longer owe the penalties for our sins. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8. Not a single one of us deserved, nor continues to deserve, the favor of God. We deserved hell. But thanks be to God for the one and only perfect sacrifice. The spotless Lamb of God. “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” -Hebrews 10:14.
One offering. One perfect sacrifice. Not many, not continual offerings, punishments, floggings, or payments for sin. This one perfect offering is forever, eternal. Grace is how God allows us the access to be forgiven, cleansed, and made a new creation. So, what exactly does grace mean for us day to day? Not only are we saved through grace we believe through grace. - Acts 15:11. “And when he was minded to pass over into Achaia, the brethren encouraged him; and when he was come, he helped them much that had believed through grace.” -Acts 18:27.
Most Christians have battles from time to time with unbelief. But the power to believe comes by amazing grace. We also receive our inheritance by grace.“And now I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified.” -Acts 20:32. Your inheritance isn’t a lump sum deposit you’ll receive for some heavenly bank account. Your inheritance is that you have been predestined by God to be changed into His image! “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” -Colossians 1:27. Grace is so much more than what most people understand and comprehend.
For the first time our family went on a vacation three weeks ago — to Hawaii! Sixteen of us. From ages three to sixty-one. We took up two and a half rows in the airplanes we flew in. I can’t even describe what an incredible time we had. It didn’t even matter that it rained part of the time because the sun followed quickly after the showers. I noticed something, however, when we went to the larger public beaches. Men, women, and children of all ages in chairs and on towels, some walking in the warm waters, much to my surprise, were looking straight down rather than at the magnificent scenery and sunrise. Yes, they were on cell phones! Checking Facebook, e-mails, or texts. It was shocking. Even on the beaches of Hawaii many found it impossible to “unplug.” It’s no wonder the level of stress-induced illness, both mental and physical, are at an all-time high in this country. I’d like to add spiritual to that list.
There is an epidemic of spiritual illness also surrounding us, and the root of it is due to people trying desperately to walk by faith through their own willpower and strength. That my friend is impossible. It is only through His grace that we can do anything, but especially walk by faith. I don’t know about you, but there are days when I feel pressed from every side. Whether it be time, finances, rest; the list is endless. It just seems as if the supply gets low before its time. That is precisely why I am seeking more grace in all the areas of my life and ministry. Grace includes everything. “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.” -2 Cor. 9:8). How? “Through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” -Romans 5:2. Whether we say it to ourselves or we confess it to others, some say there are times they just can’t resist temptation. That’s a lie from the pit of hell — unless we are talking about in our own carnal strength, intelligence, or planning.
God’s grace is what gives us the power to stand. If this is true, then why do we see so many believers living lives that are broken, defeated, lacking any victories? It is because we truly don’t comprehend what grace really is, and how vital it is in every area of who we are in Christ. Let’s look again at 2 Peter 1:2-3 in a different version: “Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that his divine power has granted to us all things pertaining to life—and to godliness.” That means everything, folks! Clothes, money, relationships, food, spiritual training for warfare, everything.
Would anyone argue that the Lord God Almighty is the most powerful God on heaven and earth? That He is all knowing to use that power victoriously? Again, access to that power and authority comes only one way, through grace.
I’d like to challenge you this week. Do a study on grace. So often in life a lack of growth, understanding, maturity, and even joy can be linked directly to limiting your own depth or goals by leaning only upon the way it’s always been, or by accepting another’s definition of how it should be. I know it’s true because I’ve lived that way myself. But the Bible is the Living Word of God. For me, just knowing that God tells me grace is my key, my access to the power and authority, which I have already been promised through Christ Jesus is more than enough for me to hunger for more. I studied the Biblical definition of grace. It is defined as the “divine influence which operates through His people to regenerate and sanctify, to inspire virtuous impulses, and to impart strength to endure temptation; an excellent spirit from a divine origin.” Grace is freely given; unmerited favor and love of God by manner, motion, or action. I don’t know about you, but I hunger for that.
“Let us have confidence, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.” -Hebrews 4:16.
“But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, ‘God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”-James 4:6.
Ruminate on that.