His Grace Empowers Us
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
The reality of the Christian life is not one of living to attain, but one of living out of attainment, out of abundance.
We do not live to gather. We are not as the evolutionists say, a species that has evolved out of habits of hunting and gathering - these two things being our mandate and upbringing, no, but we are His royal priesthood living out of the grace and abundance of who He is. He gives us abundance, and out of His abundance, we create change, create new things and change lives. The grace of God should not be understood primarily as one thing, the mercy of God, but should be understood as a twofold blessing, firstly, the mercy of God, but also the favor of God on us as His people, to do great things, to perform great miracles and wonders here on earth. In 2 Corinthians 9:8, the word says, “and God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work.” What we see here is an expression, a clear message to us, that the grace of God is available to us. However, we do not read that God will make all grace abound to us, it says “God is able.” This is powerful. We give praise and honor to a giving God, an able God, the only God who is able. Our God is the fountain of life, the river of life, and out of His abundance, His outflow, there is all-sufficiency. What I love about this scripture is that Paul does not simply say “all grace,” but says that “all grace abounds.” All grace was not sufficient here as Paul is trying to give us an idea of just how much sufficiency there is - the river of life is not just a small creek, but rather a tide, a gushing of an all abounding grace. The Christian life is an experienced and active lifestyle of dependence on the outflow of the fountain and river of life, Jesus. Before we continue, what does Paul mean by the word Grace? Well, the word grace comes from the Greek word, charis (χάρις, ιτος, ἡ) which literally means grace as a gift or blessing brought to man by Jesus Christ. Some theologians even called this the act of favoring by Christ Jesus. Grace is the favor of Christ in our lives, the blessings and abundance of Christ, enabling us to be efficient in all that we do. In fact, the word is a shortened description of the entire, the sum of the unmerited blessing of Jesus, which is available to us. It is true that grace is the unconditional love, eternal love of God. It doesn’t just end there as grace is not a disposition of God, it is also energizing, and a manifestation of the love of God, therefore the grace of Jesus is the love that He has for us, manifested and exercised. Grace in the bible can be defined as the power and the ability of God operating through us. The grace of God is abounding. The word abounding means abundance. So, the grace of God is abundance - the love of God as a manifestation can be abundant in our lives because it is abundant. God doesn’t have an entire storehouse with only a small door to access it, and He doesn’t just trickle out His abundance - it is a fountain which literally gushes out - there is nothing blocking the stream or regulating its flow. Wow!
"The Christian life is an experienced and active lifestyle of dependence on the outflow of the fountain and river of life, Jesus."
The divine grace of God is far more than sufficient, but Paul is saying that the outpouring of God’s grace is proportionate, or of similar value as our work and our suffering. The other important thing is that Paul wants us to understand that sufficiency is a feast, is a great measure to be accounted to a man. Sufficiency means enough to cover all that is needed, and that is a great thing. Only in the world where we see greed enter the hearts of man do we see sufficiency as a low point in the life of a man. Come on, let’s think about this - if we have the strength and the energy, and whatever else we need to deal with the day’s tasks, challenges and sorrows, and master the temptations, that is all that we need, even out of the fullness of God. In Deuteronomy 33:25, we read “thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” We might find ourselves walking on a road that is very rocky, and if we were to walk on that road with leather, we won’t make it to the destination - half way there, we will find ourselves without shoes, and lacking what we need to get there, but in Philippians 4:19, it says “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” God is able. Our job is take the step out in faith, to desire, to expect the miracle working hand of God in our life. He won’t let us walk ourselves to death, He doesn’t send us into battle with nothing that we need to win, but our role is to keep on going and to run the race with endurance. When God speaks to you and calls you to a place, His grace is available to you, to assist you as you journey to that destination. Halfway to the destination, your shoes will become “iron and brass” because “God is able.”
In 1 Peter 4:10, the word says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” We are stewards of God’s grace. God is able to give to us, not so that we can be full, but so that we are abundant in our walk of service to others, as we minister to one another, and bless one another. The word gift here, in the Greek, is charisma (χάρισμα, ατος, τό) which means a gift of grace, a free gift. This word charisma here is used eight times in the Bible, and here, I will reference three: Romans 6:23 – “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” 1 Corinthians 7:7 – “But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that,” and in Romans 5:16, “And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.” By looking at these three scriptures, we can see that the word gift (charisma) refers to any gift that is bestowed upon us (whether individuals or corporately) as a result of what Christ did for us on the cross of calvary, out of His grace. Out of His grace, God gave us His son as a free gift for our salvation. In addition, there are gifts that are given to us as we see in 1 Corinthians 7:7, and we are to use these gifts, and as we read in 1 Peter 4:10, “minister it to one another,” so that we are “good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” So, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you,” as we complete and continue on in good works, so that we have “all sufficiency in all things.” Clearly, what we see here is that God is able to make grace abound in our lives, as long as we are progressively living out a lifestyle of good works. This good works has nothing to do with salvation – we are saved because of His grace. This good works is us living as His people, living for those that He died for, as “stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
In John 1:16, we read that out “of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” In other words, you and I are abundantly blessed already, grace upon grace. One blessing on another, and on another, over and over. Basically, we have received blessing after blessing, after blessing, to be a blessing. We are to be a “steward of the manifold grace of God” - because we have received such graces from our savior Jesus, we bless others. Out of the abundance of the grace of our Lord, Jesus, we bless others. We know that if we obey Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you,” then there will be blessings. Come on! What does that “pressed down, shaken together” describe? The grace of God – GOD IS ABLE!
The word, manifold in the Greek is poikilos (ποικίλος, η, ον) which means various and diverse, only found once in the bible; steward is oikonomos (οἰκονόμος, ου, ὁ), also only found once in the bible, meaning manager of the household, and; minister is diakoneó (διακονέω) which means to serve, literally to wait at table, to care for the needs of others as the Lord guides in an active, practical way. That word, diakoneó is only used in one other passage and that is in Hebrews 6:10, where it says “for God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” The labor of love, this is what matters, this is what the Christian life is all about, love. In other words, the word is saying that you and I are to serve one another in such a way, like a manager of the household of God’s various and diverse favor. Literally, in the same way that a manager of a household will take care of the household, we are to take care of one another. But not only that, as a manager of the diverse favor of God (manifold grace), we are untrusted with the grace of God, and its now our turn to manage that grace, in other words, to live out that grace, and be a steward of that grace and as a result, serve others the way that Christ served us; to bless others the way Christ blessed us, to favor others the way Christ favored us. We are so blessed by Him, and out of His abundance, we choose to serve others. We don’t serve others to obtain a seat at a table, no, we are already at the table - we are a manager in the household of His grace over our lives, and because of His grace and His outpouring over us, we choose to serve others. Moreover, as you continue to serve others, and continue to run the race, you know that “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work.” Christ wants to enlarge us as we continue to do good works in this world, as we continue to minister to one another. How powerful is this message, if you really think about it? We serve a King with such an abundance of grace that literally abounds, and He is able to make that available to us. Not only that, but He entrusts us to be managers of His grace, His ambassadors here on earth. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” We are His ambassadors; we are employed under the commission of Christ.
Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 15:10-11, “but by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Paul recognized something here, and that is that the Grace of God in conjunction with this action, his labor of love, resulted in results and it wasn’t in vain because he knew that he was created for good works. Think about Peter and how he walked on water. As soon as he looked down and realized his inability, he failed, but as soon as he looked up and depended on the grace of God, he was able to walk on water. In much the same way, Paul is saying, that despite all that he has done, all the action that he took, he did nothing, for everything he did was thanks to the grace of God. He was favored by God, and because of the favor of God, his actions had fruit, and that favor carried him further and further and further. And Peter successfully walked on water because his action was blessed by grace of God. Imagine for a moment that you cannot see in front of you, but you know that you have to keep on going. You walk, and you run, and you keep on going. You keep on taking the action, and despite your lack of sight, for some reason, you make it. Who knows what you stepped on to get there, what matters is that you made it. The grace of God abounds, and God is able, and you made it. You see, we walk by faith and not by sight, and the reason is because God’s grace is available to us all the time. We have to take action, even when we have no idea how we are going to get there – God’s grace will be the favor we need to get there.
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