Grace is like a multi-hued flower, with the various shades of color revealed when we examine it closely. The first thing coming to mind in any discussion of grace usually being the unmerited acceptance of sinful beings by a Being who has no tolerance of sin. (See Habakkuk 1:3) But who none-the-less loves sinners. (Demonstrating that love by giving himself for us “while we were still sinners.” See Romans 5:8) Prompting us to then, “…love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 John further defining what love for God looks like, “This is love for God: to obey his commands” 1 John 5:3 (See also John 14:15)
Another aspect of grace is peace, which is so often linked in scripture with grace as to be considered a by-product of it; being in a state of grace rendering its recipient peaceful. A dual purpose being realized in that it allows us to come before Him with confidence that our needs, both temporal and spiritual, will be met (Hebrews 4:16), which fosters peace of mind when dealing with life’s challenges and opportunities. (John 14:27) Virtually every Pauline epistle combining these two attributes of Christian living in their introductions with several other New Testament authors doing so as well. (See Romans 1:7; Galatians 1:3; Philippians 1:2; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 John 3) In fact, Paul – a man intimately familiar with “unsettling” circumstances throughout his life – was inspired to encourage the Philippians to, “Rejoice in the Lord always… Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer… present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
Graciousness, another dimension of grace, should be likewise evident in every Christian’s life; influencing how we act and react in every way to believers and unbelievers alike. Scripture explaining that the, “Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious,…” Ecclesiastes 10:12 James pointedly instructing, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19 While Paul’s letter to the Colossians instructs the believers in every age to, “Be wise in the way you act… mak(ing) the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace… so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:4-6 Paul further describing to the Galatians a wide range of gracious attributes designated as “fruit” of the Spirit. “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” Galatians 5:22,23
And finally, an often over-looked function of grace is the development of strength, which is found when we allow God to bring change to our own lives and, through us, the lives of others; in the end, making all things right and good. (If not the immediate circumstance then the end result – Romans 8:28 & 2 Corinthians 12:9,10) As, “…the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 Causing those who experience that strengthening to proclaim with confidence that, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.” Psalm 28:7 As we learn, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 Paul again listing other benefits of grace as being encouragement and hope; strengthening our hearts, resolve and purpose, “…in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17 Isaiah reminding us of at least one of the attributes derived from a relationship with Christ. “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.” Is. 32:17 As, “In repentance and rest is your salvation…in quietness and trust is your strength,…” Is. 30:15 (See also Is. 40:30,31)
All of which will enable us to grow to maturity in our understanding of God’s will and the development of Christlikeness, so “…that our God may make (us) worthy of his calling.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11 “…that (our) love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that (we) may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless… filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ…” Phil. 1:9-11So, “…that (we) may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 And as such, be truly, “…conformed to the likeness of (God’s) Son.” Romans 8:29
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