âBut grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.â (II Peter 3:18)
It is apparent from Peterâs epistle that grace is more than a one-time application that makes you good to go. It takes the grace of God to continue in your life if you are going to grow in Christ. I’ve heard it said that grace is something that isn’t so easy to explain. I donât know if that is true for most Christians, but I have to admit it is true for me. I personally find grace easier to live in than explain. We really donât need to explain it as much as we need to receive it. So, I write this article not from an expert view, but I write it humbly that I may present an accurate representation of grace.
One of the most quoted scriptures about grace is found in Ephesians. You are probably already starting to quote it, âFor by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:â (Ephesians 2:8). If you are like me, I take scriptures at face value, but I also keep it in context with what the Bible fully says about a subject. So if you give me that liberty, I want to say something that sounds contrary to âFor by grace are ye saved..â We are not really saved by grace. What do you mean? It says it very clearly that it is by grace we are saved. Let me explain. Grace is an attitude of God. The way some preach grace, they make it sound like it is its own entity separate from God. Almost like grace controls God or God has to obey grace. Basically, grace is love, Godâs love. Grace is an aspect of the love of God that causes Him to have compassion on fallen mankind and desire to restore man to his God. Grace is an aspect of Godâs love that prefers to pardon. Our God is gracious, but He is also a just God that has to pour out His wrath upon the wicked. But grace is the preference of God, so He would rather save than condemn. So, it is this grace, this attitude of God that has resulted in God putting a plan into action so He could redeem mankind and restore them back to Himself.
So because God is full of grace, He gives us a means to be redeemed. The plan of redemption is this: God sent His pure spotless Son to die on a cross and spill His blood that we could be redeemed. So again I say, it isn’t grace that saves us, it is the blood of Christ that saves us. It is the blood of Christ that has the redemptive power, not grace. Grace sent Jesus to the cross, but it is on the cross where the blood was spilt. Grace doesn’t do the saving work, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world does the saving.
âBut now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.â
âForasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:â (I Peter 1:18-19)
âBut if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.â (I John 1:7)
These three scriptures are clear in what they say. They teach us these three things:
1. We are brought close to God by the blood of Christ.
2. We are redeemed by the blood of Christ
3. We are cleansed from our sin by the blood of Christ.
Of course, if God wasn’t gracious He would have never sent His Son to die for our sins. On the other hand, grace alone would not pardon anyone. Grace may be what moves God to want to pardon, but without the remedy there is no salvation.
The grace of God is so marvelous that He didn’t just send His Son for His chosen people Israel, but He sent Him for whosoever will call on Him. Just as grace without the blood cannot save, the blood of Christ will not save if God isn’t gracious and offer it to whoever shall receive it. If you are born again, you are one that has received this grace by calling upon the Lord. Because of His grace God put you in that, âFountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuelâs veins, And sinners plunge beneath the flood, Lose all their guilty stains.â Hallelujah!
Grace doesn’t start and stop at salvation, it continues on in the life of the believer. I want to say something else about grace that may sound contrary to Peterâs words, âgrow in grace.â Grace is not what makes us grow; it is the Spirit working in us that causes us to grow. It was the grace of God, which again is an aspect of His love, which prompted Him to send the Holy Spirit to be our counselor and give us the wisdom and the power we need to grow. Grace in itself has no wisdom and power, but grace will send the wisdom and power through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The grace of God will continue on in the life of believers to give them everything they need to live a life that glorifies God. Grace will always provide the means to stay in true fellowship with God. âAnd 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:â (II Corinthians 9:8)
So in conclusion, I remind you one more time that grace doesn’t save you, the blood of Christ does. Grace doesn’t cause you to grow, the Holy Spirit does. Grace is the favor of God that urges Him on to provide a means to save, change and keep men for His glory. If you happen to be one that has not yet called upon the name of the Lord, there is no better time than now to receive the grace of God. If you need to be cleansed of your sin, Godâs grace has provided the blood of Christ for you. If you need to grow into a mature saint of God, again, it is His grace that has provided the Holy Spirit for. Will you receive Him today?