Is your life a bridge of Grace to the world you encounter each day? The same grace that is saving, growing and changing you is also intended to draw those around you to Jesus. How so? His awesome grace works from the inside out in our lives; changing us from glory to glory and wooing all whose lives we touch. Here are some of the incredible ways that his grace works in and through our lives.
The Bible portrays God’s Grace as the Manifold Grace of God. That simply means His Grace has many facets. It’s like looking at a fine diamond with many sides or facets. As such, grace has innumerable expressions to and through those who have placed their faith in Christ. Another way of understanding this great Grace is seeing it as a bridge that God builds toward and out from those who believe the Gospel of Grace.
Each facet of His Grace expressed in our lives is another plank of that bridge. He builds this bridge of Grace to ensure that we successfully walk out the Christian journey. As we walk in Grace others are drawn to that very same Grace. What a wonderful and gracious God! Let’s examine some of the planks on this Bridge of Grace. First, consider with me some of what the Grace of God means in our lives.
Defining the Grace of God
We all know how impossible it would be to define the unfathomable facets of God’s Grace. Defining the true breadth, length, depth, width, height and power of Grace is beyond human description. Following is a simple glimpse. Grace is God’s Riches at Christ’s expense (G.R.A.C.E.). It is God’s unlimited power toward those who place their faith in Christ. Given to the believer as a gift, Grace enables us to be what we could not possibly be, and to do what we could not possibly do in our own strength and by our own best efforts.
The Difference between the Grace and Mercy of God
Let me humbly illustrate as I heard it put by another. Consider a Bank clerk who is a thief and robs his own employer’s bank. Mercy forgives his crime and frees him from the debt-but leaves him with the identity of a pardoned criminal. For sure, this is a wonderful gesture.
With God’s Grace-the guilty Bank clerk is not only forgiven, but is then installed as the joint owner-sharing in all the present and future profits. The moment God’s Grace is applied, he goes from being a guilty-pardoned criminal to sharing equally in all that his master is and has! His identity is completely changed, his future is forever altered and secured and his previous reality is totally forgiven and forgotten. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve.
Of His fullness have we all received, and Grace upon Grace. John 1:6
The Mercy and Grace of God always work hand in hand. The Cross of Christ secures and applies the Mercy of forgiveness and innocence restored. The Grace of Christ empowers a new and living way, the walk of Christ in and through us! Neither will ever be frustrated or diminished by our shortcomings or performance. They have their sole origin in and through Christ!
The time of the restoration of all things (which is now) is characterized by a mighty outpouring of God’s Grace by the Holy Spirit. The forceful removal of all the mountains that stand in the way (both personally and corporately) is being accompanied by an unusual flowing out of the abundance of the Grace of God. And the capstone of that completed work of restoration will be to the shouts of Grace, Grace unto it. Zechariah 4:6-7
According to the Book of Acts (4:33), the power of the early church was that “great Grace was upon them all”. It must also be said of the end time church that great grace is upon us. The fullness of His Grace is potentially available to each one of us. However, we have to learn how to progressively access it and enter in to it more fully. How do we do this?
We Enter Through Faith
The key to enter God’s treasure store of Grace is through faith. In this journey, we must be constantly moving from “faith to faith” (Romans 1:16) and “grace to grace” (John 1:16). When we are, we also move from “glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Faith is always the key that opens wider the door to God’s abundance of Grace. Even the key of faith is a gift of God’s great Grace! A measure of faith is given to every believer and it is always more than enough.
The glory of the Lord Jesus was that He alone was full of Grace and Truth. The glory that John beheld was not the full heavenly glory of Christ’s Divine Majesty-that would be more than any man could stand. John beheld the bearable but wonderful glory of His grace. The glory of grace that we progressively bear in our lives is
to the glory of His grace Ephesians 1:6-8
Of His fullness have we all received and grace upon grace. John 1:16
We are now called to shine forth the glory of the New Covenant of Grace. It is a more glorious glory than the fading glory that shone from Moses’ face as he came down from his Mt. Sinai encounter with the presence of God. Why is it more glorious? Because the covenant of grace that Jesus mediated on Calvary is greater than the covenant of law that Moses received on Mt Sinai. Christ’s New Covenant enables us to walk a new and living way of grace through faith.
Grace is the treasure we find within, and Glory is the ever-increasing consequence of a grace filled life. There are multitudes of ways that God’s Grace shows up in our lives to enable/empower us to live out our high calling in Christ. The following are a few that make up the planks in the Bridge of Grace that God builds in and through the lives of all of His children.
Are you walking out your Christian journey on this Grace Bridge? It is the only means of crossing over the gaps between what has been to what can be-our potential in Him and His future glory!
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
1. His prevenient grace
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly…God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5
Consider all the many ways through which God drew and loved you to Him.
2. His saving grace
We are not just a forgiven sinner-that is mercy. We are sons and daughters of God-a co-heir with Christ of all the Father has and is. Through grace we enjoy the same relationship that the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) have enjoyed for all eternity. Mercy frees us from the debt and penalty of sin-but grace takes us much further. It delivers us from the power of sin and ends all claims of sin and the devil upon our lives.
He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him. Hebrews 7:25
3. His supernatural life by grace
It cuts us off from our past heredity and reveals Jesus as our new heredity line. Grace also releases supernatural power to live a supernatural life as more than conquerors, manifesting the very fragrance of Christ in our lives. Living so intimate with Him that we even emit His awesome fragrance to all around us. (see Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 8:30-37 and Romans 5:17)
4. His growing grace
A friend of mine put it this way. Grace keeps us moving forward to maturity in Christ. The Grace of God unfolds before us, preparing the way of growth and the Grace of God folds up behind us, keeping us from going back to our life before Him. Frank Peretti put it this way in one of his books:
(Insert your towns’ name) was a town looking forward to the past. Do the old things again, just do them harder? Back your way out of any slump. Don’t go forward, you’ve never been there. Replay the memory, it’s always better. That old-time religion was good enough for our fathers and mothers and it’s good enough for us. That is not the grace that grows us to new and exciting places in God.
Peretti exposes that most of us are comfortable with not growing through grace. Most of Paul’s letters exhort us to grow forward in the Grace of God.
Much more could be said of His grieving, healing, sustaining, ministry, gifting and forgiving grace. And those are just a few of His truly amazing manifold Grace. As we continue to walk across the bridge of God’s Grace, we prove in our lives that His Grace is sufficient and that His power is made evident in our weakness. We must become Grace dependent people, together showing forth the power of a Grace-filled Church!
In the grip of His Amazing Grace! Ron Ross