Great joy belongs to those children of God who recognize His grace in their growth. Rather than God being dependent on our best efforts to grow closer to Him, His grace empowers and sustains our spiritual growth.
Consider the following verses:
“Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness” (John 1:16).
“After the synagogue had been dismissed, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and persuading them to continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43).
“From there they sailed back to Antioch where they had been entrusted to the grace of God for the work they had completed” (Acts 14:26).
“Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2).
“But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift” (Ephesians 4:7).
“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:16).
“You, therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1).
“Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time” (Hebrews 4:16).
“Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).
Growth because of His grace
Why such an emphasis on grace? Perhaps because God knows we cannot grow spiritually on our own.
Spiritual growth begins with salvation given to us as a gift from God. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah recognized long ago, “Salvation is of the Lord.” It is God who saved us in the past (justified), God who continues to save us in the present (sanctifies) and God who will bring the ultimate state of our salvation in the future (glorification). All of this is through and because of His grace. Our daily spiritual growth is also utterly dependent on this grace of God. How should we respond to this?
Responding to growth through grace
First, we should recognize and admit this wonderful truth; that we are dependent daily on the grace of God. As long as we rely on our own striving to keep a positive mental attitude, work hard and do all we can do, we will miss the grace of God. This is not to say there is no effort on our part; there is. But the foundation of our effort is God’s grace and power. This is not something we work to receive on our own.
Second, receive God’s grace moment by moment. What does God require of us? Trust in His grace to be enough for every need. He promises “varied grace” for the varied problems of our lives.
Third, praise God that His grace is enough. Imagine if our spiritual growth depended on us. We wake in the morning in a bad mood, skip any time in the Word, get angry during our morning commute, mouth-off at co-workers, and ignore needs around us. How shall we overcome without God’s grace? We cannot. We can praise Him that His grace is enough!
I’m thankful God, in His grace, has given us His Son to save us, His Spirit to dwell within us, His Word to instruct us, and His people to encourage us. Praise God for His grace from beginning to end.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. FloydSenior Pastor, Cross Church Northwest Arkansas General Editor, Bible Studies for Life