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Grace Empowers Us 3

Grace Empowers Us Part 3 In part 1 and 2 we began to demonstrate that grace is more than unmerited favor. It is also an empowering force from the Father, and Lord Jesus Christ, that enables us to accomplish God’s will for our lives. We saw how Jesus received grace, not only as he grew in wisdom and stature, but also as he took our sins upon Himself to suffer in our place. (Luke 2:40 and Hebrews 2:9) The apostle Paul was probably the most prolific writer of the New Testament concerning grace. Not only did he understand grace as unmerited favor from God, but he also understood grace as the empowerment of God to fulfill his ministry. Let us look at more of these scriptural examples. For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you…. Eph 3:1-2 NKJV Paul states that he is enabled to minister to the saints at Ephesus because of the administration or dispensation of grace given unto him on their behalf. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ…. Eph 3:8 NKJV Here, Paul continues to indicate the influence of the grace of God as a key component for the success of his ministry to the Church at Ephesus. …and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Gal 2:9 NKJV This is a noteworthy passage and one that clearly shows there is a tangible or noticeable power that accompanies grace. The other apostles were able to recognize this divine enablement of grace upon Paul and Barnabas. During Paul’s ministry, he encountered many trials and afflictions from the Jews and opponents of Christianity. He inquired of the Lord three times for this to be removed. And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2Co 12:7-9 NKJV The grace of God provided the strength and ongoing fortitude Paul needed to accomplish his assignment. It gave him the ability to endure the sufferings he would face as a minister of the gospel. Let me point out, this suffering was not sickness or disease, but suffering afflictions and persecutions for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus took our sins, sickness, and pain on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), and healing is available to us as we learn to receive it based upon the grace of God (His unmerited favor and divine ability). We will plan to discuss this further in future series. 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. 1Co 15:10 NKJV Paul continually relied upon the grace of God, and was able to say, “by the grace of God I am what I am.” That is how dependent he was upon God’s enablement and power. You and I must learn this truth to fulfill all the Heavenly Father has for us to accomplish. We are created in Christ Jesus for good works, and those good works will only be fulfilled by the grace of God upon our lives. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10 NKJV As we continue to draw near to the coming of the Lord we will need to be strong in the grace of God. Paul had learned one of the great secrets of his ministry was relying upon God’s grace, and he shared this truth with Timothy, one of his sons in the gospel. You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2Ti 2:1 NKJV It should be obvious the grace he mentioned here was an empowering grace, and not the unmerited favor of God for salvation. In our next post, we will examine grace operating in the life of a believer, and our responsibility to become good stewards of that grace for the benefit of others. Until then, may God richly bless and keep you in His love and grace! James Brown CST 01/06/2022 All Scripture References are from New King James Version (NKJV) Thomas Nelson Publishers
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