"OUR NEED OF GRACE"
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."- Revelation 22:21
While the Old Testament ends with the word "curse", what comfort we find in the closing words of the New, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." It so pleased God to end the divine cannon of scripture with a short prayer which means so much to us: our need of God's grace. As John's petition still lingers for us before God's throne, let us examine our personal need of God's grace today.
Grace is the granting of blessings that are undeserved and unearned. In short, grace is unmerited FAVOR from a loving Father. Every blessing that the poor sinner will receive is a product of God's amazing grace and flows through the fount of every blessing: Christ. While in nature we observe those who are favored with beauty; intelligence; musical skill; or athletic ability, grace ascends into the spiritual realm. One has likened it to the rain that nourishes the trees, flowers and plants. While they did not, nor could not, have asked for it, it fell and blessed as God ordained it. Grace displays God's sovereignty. As a glass reflects the light of the sun, so grace reflects the sovereignty of God as the great potter molds the clay to His own purpose.
Grace distinguishes. It separates God's people from the world. Paul said, "But by the grace of God I am what I am"-1 Cor. 15:10a. Had God left Paul to himself, he would have spent his whole life hating Christ and persecuting Christians. It was by grace, divine favor, that changed a persecuting Saul into a loving Paul. Could any one accuse God of being unjust if Paul had been left to himself? Thus we see grace. Man left to himself is dead in trespasses and in sin. But it pleased God to choose a multitude and lift them out of their fallen condition. This is grace; this is divine favor. That is why we say that salvation is by grace.
Paul refers to God's grace as "the power of Christ". When he was buffeted by Satan with his thorn in the flesh, Paul found God's grace sufficient, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me"-2 Cor. 12:9. While God did not remove Paul's thorn, He gave him the grace to endure it. And that is God's promise to His beloved. He does not promise to remove our trial, but He will give us the grace to endure it. Just as the Hebrew children. God did not remove the fiery furnace, but He favored them by walking with them through it. Our justification is by grace, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"-Romans 3:24. What mortal inhabited the realms of glory to beg Christ to descend to the cross for our sins? It must have been loving, divine favor, that moved the Son to intercede and die for sinners.
Some may say, "Has this grace been extended to me. So many times I feel to be a castaway." According to Paul, this loving favor extends to every object of God's love, "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ"- Ephes. 4:7. Has the Lord ever answered just one prayer in such a way that you knew without a shadow of a doubt that He heard you. If so, we can be sure that we have been favored. But we would go further for our evidence. Has God blessed you to believe in Christ, the Savior of sinners. Man, by nature, will never believe this good report. This is a product of grace (Acts 18:27,28). Has He blessed you with convicting grace? That loving favor that brings us to the door of repentance. This must be divine favor for many have never been blessed to see their pitiful condition. And what about restraining grace. Where would the world be today without this grace. And on a personal level, where would we all be. As one preacher said, we all have enough gunpowder in our hearts that the devil, with just one spark, could ruin us. If we can say yes to any of these, we must know that we have been highly favored for these blessings are hidden from much of the world.
We close today with a prayer I found in an old book, recorded by one Duchess of Gordon: "O Lord, give me grace to feel the need of Thy grace; give me grace to ask for Thy grace; and when in Thy grace Thou hast given me grace, give me grace to use Thy grace."
Come to worship with us at HARMONY PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday morning. Phone 501-337-1115.
by His Grace,
Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.