LIFE GIVERS MINISTRIES
HIGH CALLING OF JESUS CHRIST (GRACE)
Grace was recognized as being from God in the Old Testament but it was NEVER given as a gift.
Grace - Freely given unmerited favor and love of God - The Spirit of God working in man; a virtue or excellence of divine origin; the condition of being in Godís favor or one of the Elect. (This doesnít say a whole lot to me unless it is passed on. Godís gifts are ALWAYS for the edification of the body.)
Romans 6:15 - Sin because we are not under the law but under Grace? Certainly not!N.T. -- Grace/Charis = root word for favor.
Eph 3:1-21 & 4:1-32
How many times have we been told ďGraceĒ means - unmerited favor of God? I guess I have always thought Grace meant love and love means Grace.
As we really read these verses I believe we will see that Grace and Love are two different words. I believe you can give love w/out giving Grace but you canít give Grace w/out giving love. As we study we will see that it is a lot easier to love than to Grace and Love in most situations.
In verse 2, the word ďdispensationĒ actually means stewardship. If we read it as such we shall see that we have been made stewards of the grace of God. Itís not something He shows toward us but because He has already shown it to us (we are saved by His Grace) then He has made us stewards so that we can impart it to others. Grace was not known in the Old Covenant but the New Covenant brought us Holy Spirit who revealed it to the Apostles and Prophets -- that is the mystery of Christ Jesus -- not that only He lives in us but that the Grace He has shown now is ours to be stewards over.
Verse 6 tells us this mystery -- that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, should be of the same body and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel of grace. God, Yahweh, has given us this grace as a gift and the gifts are for the edification of the body.
Then there is the purpose of the mystery --
That we should preach among the Gentiles (nations) the unsearchable riches of Christ and to make all see the stewardship of the mystery which has been hidden in God until Jesus Christ came. As we impart this Grace the manifold wisdom of God will be made known to rulers and powers in the heavenlies. And what was the eternal purpose of our Lord Jehovah? To let the rulers and principalities know who God is and that He rules over them. This Grace is a powerful tool. Therefore, when we see someone going through tribulations, understand it is to show forth the glory of God and give us all more faith and boldness in Him. As we walk in Grace through the trials we grow in confidence. There is a purpose -- our trials cause us to show more grace to others as they go through their trials!
Letís see how we can appreciate this ďMysteryĒ of Godís grace that we are stewards over. Hold on right here -- this is tough -- I pray that He will grant you more trials so that you will be strengthened by walking in this mystery of Grace! Still love me? Paul tells us in Phillipians to give thanks in all things -- I believe this is what he is talking about. Accept your trials as a chance to grow in grace toward others. This walk -- this way of life is not just about me or even Jesus -- itís about everyone else!
I love verse 20 -- Now to Him (Father) who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think; according to the power (of Grace) -- according to the power of grace that works in us. This whole chapter is speaking about how the mystery of the power of Grace working through us to others strengthens us to the intent that we will make known the wisdom of God to rulers and principalities, their knee shall bow as they see the wisdom of God.
Verse one reveals what is the High calling of Jesus Christ on our lives. Paul beseeches us to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called -- see chapter 3. this is not a new subject in chapter 4. He is telling us what it is like to be stewards of this grace. We have to give all to others if we are to be like Jesus. These verses 1-3 tells us how we are to impart the gift of grace and in verse 7 he starts speaking about spiritual gifts and how He has given each of us grace, according to the measure of Christ gifts. Hey, I came close many times arguing about this one! I figured the verse was misinterpreted and we all had the same measure of grace but letís look and see what Paul really said. According to the measure of Christís gift -- When He left He gave some people to be Apostles, some people to be Prophets, some to be Evangelists, some people to be Pastors and some Teachers. Well, thatís what we call the 5-fold ministry. OK- could He be saying that each of these Christ given gifts need different measures of grace to impart to others? Since each office had to deal with so many different situations they would have to have different measures of grace to impart.
Verse 17 -- As we walk the life of grace we will be so different from the world. The world looks out for themselves and doesnít know the mystery of grace because they are alienated from the giver of grace. He dispenses grace to them but they canít understand it yet. It is a mystery to them. But we have the mind of Christ so we should understand. In verse 20, Paul begins to instruct us again of how to put on this gift or let it become a part of us and make us a new creation. If we follow the instructions following on to the end of the chapter, we will find ourselves in plenty of situations to dispense grace. When we donít impart grace during these situations we grieve Holy Spirit. Not imparting grace brings dis-unity and anger, bitterness, loud quarreling, evil speaking and malice.
Imparting grace brings kindness, tender heartedness, and forgiveness.
Now, letís go back to what I believe about ďhaving one without the other.Ē You can have love without grace but not grace without love.
For instance, how many people walk around with unforgiveness but sincerely love people and Godís people? If they offered grace with that love they would see forgiveness come. Grace is when we can accept people where they are without trying to change them. When we do that, they receive the love of God and He can get into their lives. So you see grace and love go together but you can have one without the other.
Before you start thinking that because God has grace toward us and accepts us where we are regardless of where we have been, where we are now or even where we are going, turn to Romans 6:15-18. Actually, once we realize who Jesus is and what happened on the cross we will not want to sin anymore. Before we acknowledged the work of the cross all we knew was to serve sin. It ruled our lives, spirit, soul and body. We were slaves to it BUT when we HEARD God speaking and we became alive to His Spirit, then we were set free from that bondage and a whole new world opened up to us. A world of goodness, righteousness and holiness. Then God set us free and we became, are becoming and will become, slaves of righteousness. Godís grace was imparted to us and now we are stewards of that grace to impart it to others.
Sin because we are under Godís grace? Never intentionally. Of course we do things that we shouldnít but because of Gods ability to impart grace to us we just admit our failure and accept the grace. Thatís exactly how we will walk if we impart Gods measure of grace He has given us to others. Just as He forgives us we are to forgive, just as He accepts us no matter what, we are to accept others no matter what. Donít try to clean them up, Thatís Holy Spirits job. We are to extend grace and love; not love alone.
If imparting and walking in grace doesnít come overnight just know that Father God is the imparter of grace in our lives and He will help us to walk in it. Once He is in your life, He does the changing and He will do it in His time and His way. Remember that we are on this earth and in this Ďearthí as He is. We might not see it or feel it but what the heck, we arenít subject to what we see or feel, we are subject only to Gods word that never changes.
As Paul said in Ephesians 3:13 -- I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you which is for your glory (and my chance to be able to give more grace to others).
All parenthesis added by author.
Life Givers Ministries