Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Finding Grace

The Bible speaks about people who found God's favor in their lives. We know of Noah who found favor in the eyes of God (Gen.6:8); the result, he didn't die in the Great Flood. We also know of Moses who found favor with God (Exo.33:12); for sure, without God's favor he could never lead those teeming multitudes on the way to the Promised Land. Nehemiah was granted divine favor and he led the team that restored the walls of Jerusalem (Neh.1:11).

When we turn to the New Testament, the English Bibles turn to the word "Grace". Grace is favor that is bestowed without any merit of ours. In fact, none of us can ever merit or work to find grace. We cannot merit it in anyway; by definition, grace is unmerited favor. So, how can we find grace?

1. The Spring of Grace is Jesus Christ. John tells us that we receive grace upon grace from Christ's fullness (Jn. 1:16). He is the full Spring of Grace from which alone we can draw the life-giving, life-strengthening waters of divine favor and loving kindness. John testifies that Jesus is full of grace and truth (Jn.1:14). Can we submit that His grace is sufficient for us? (2Cor.12:9). The Spring of Christ's Grace never runs dry; only if we are willing to dive into it anytime.

2. The Condition of Grace is Humility. Yet, the Bible also reminds us that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Prov.3:34; James 4:6; 1Pet.5:5). In fact, He gives more grace, but we need to humble ourselves and submit to God (James 4:7; 1Pet.5:6). Manasseh was one of the most wicked kings in the Old Testament; but, the Bible says that when he sought the favor of God and humbled himself greatly, God was moved by his prayers and listened to him (2Chr.33:12,13). Humility means to empty oneself of all self-seeking, self-opinion, and submit fully to the disposal of God. It means to lay our head at His feet.

3. The Receiving Hand of Grace is Faith. Grace can only be received by faith. For instance, salvation is a gift of God's grace, but we can only receive it by faith. We submit to Him that we are only unworthy vessels of His surpassing grace. We gain access into the blessings of God's grace by faith (Rom.5:2). The act of faith must be proportionate to the gift of grace; we can only use as much as we have received (Rom.12:6). It is only by faith that we can receive the gift of God's grace (Eph.2:8). When God pours out His grace, He also grants us faith, which is a gift of God (Eph.2:8; 1Tim.1:14). We must approach the Throne of His Grace with the confidence of faith so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Heb.4:16).

4. The Confidence of Grace is Expressed in Prayer. The Throne of Grace is approached with the confidence of faith; however, that confidence is not expressed until it is expressed in the moment of prayer (verbal or non-verbal). John tells us: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of Him" (1Jn.5:14-15 NIV).

The Grace of God has appeared (Tit.2:11); that is the Good News! There is nothing that God can grant us outside of grace. Whether it is forgiveness, purity, strength, assistance, or a miracle; everything is available in the Spring of Grace, upon the condition of humility, by the receiving hand of faith, stretched out in prayer. May God open our eyes to see the riches of His grace!