Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."
If we do not understand grace, we miss the whole point of Christianity. A faith that depends on our own efforts and ability is the same as all other world religions. Grace that comes from the cross is the centre of Christianity, and such doctrine should permeate all aspects of our thinking and lives. Grace is what brings us to worship. Grace is what empowers us to serve. Grace is the opening and closing of our whole Christian life.
Grace is an undeserved blessing or gift from Jesus Christ. Grace is only illuminated when contrasted with our vile, sinful nature. We deserve eternal damnation in hell. We deserve God's wrath here and now and forever. These are not exaggerations. They are what we really deserve for our sin and rebellion against God. If we find such punishments unfair, we do not understand the magnitude of our crime.
Grace is what Christ did for us on the cross. Instead of punishing us to eternal death, Christ took this punishment on Himself that He might bestow to us eternal life. Positionally, grace justified us, changing us from enemies to children of God. But grace does not stop there. Grace worked and is working to sanctify us, change our old hearts and renew them unto holiness. Grace is working to put to death our past sinful habits. Grace is working to make us alive to spiritual things, changing our desires so that we love God more. Grace produces fruits in our lives, making listening and obeying God's Word our only delight.
Grace also works to empower us to serve God with our lives. Grace gave us the privilege in the first place to serve the King of the universe despite being unworthy criminals. Grace enflames our hearts with zeal and love for God. Grace directs the work of our hands so that God's plan does not falter in weak and sinful hands. Grace opens doors for ministry and closes pitfalls of danger. Grace was with us, is with us, and continues to lead us.
All things are by God's grace, and without it, we are nothing — truly nothing. How front-and-centre is the doctrine of grace in our lives? Can we say with Paul, "But by the grace of God I am what I am"? In all of Paul's thirteen letters, he opens with the phrase "Grace be to you" and closes with some rendition of "grace be with you". Paul understood that God gave new graces through His Word and revelation and that God sustains His people continually with new graces.
Only when our lives are viewed from the lens of unending grace will we be brought to continual worship before God. The depth of our comprehension of God's grace will measure the depth of our worship of God. His mercies are new every morning, and they are there "to the praise of His glorious grace" (Ephesians 1:6). Will we learn to praise Him?
Lord, open to us the vastness of Your grace. Give us the grace to see Your grace. Give us humility to know how sinful we are and how loving You are—plant in us a realisation that we are nothing without Your grace. Make known to us Your grace that we may be able to praise You. Forgive us, for we are focused on ourselves and forget to acknowledge that all things are Your divine grace in our lives. Change our hearts so that our lives glorify You and not ourselves. We plead in Jesus' name, amen.