What does the grace of God look like?
Think about it. How would you respond if a person that is completely unfamiliar with Christianity were to ask you to define and prove God’s grace in your life? What would you say? I think most of us would struggle answering this question.
Our initial response might be that God has given me a great family, an awesome group of friends, a great home, a job that pays my bills, and the ability to enjoy life. But is this a satisfactory answer? Isn’t true that non-Christians experience and possess these same things as Christians? Consequently, we must conclude that our earthly possessions, our various occupations, and… even our relationships do not prove God’s grace upon our life. After all, if such things did in fact prove God’s grace, we must conclude that God hates those who live in third world countries! Why? Because those who reside in third world countries do not have great possessions, often die premature deaths (thus tearing apart families); and are very often homeless or malnourished. In short, we cannot prove God’s grace by what we own, who we know, or how we domicile upon this earth.
So… how do we prove God’s grace upon our life? Let’s take a look at Acts 11:21-24.
21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned (REPENTANCE) to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful (Obedience in pursuing God) to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit (The Fruit of the Spirit) and of faith (Trust in God). And a great many people were added to the Lord.
From this passage we observe two things:
We prove the fact that God’s grace is upon our life through our desire for God, our pursuit of God, and God’s sanctifying work within us. Consequently, if we lack a desire for God and fail to actively pursue God, then we are not under God’s grace but His wrath. Think of it like this, before God saved us (His greatest gift of grace), we had no desire for God; in fact, 1st John 4:19 tells us that our love for God is the direct result of God loving us first. That is, God gives us the ability and desire to love Him! Our love for God is the proof that God’s grace is upon us. When we were strangers and enemies of God, God reconciled us to Himself (Rom. 5:10). God gave us His Spirit to enable us to cry out to Him as Father (Gal. 4:6). God’s Spirit within us gives us the ability to speak to God and intercedes on our behalf (Rom. 8:26). Succinctly stated, if we desire God and interact with Him, it is God’s grace upon us that enables us to do so—God’s gift of grace to us results in us drawing near to God.
With this foundation in place, let’s ask ourselves a few questions:
In answering these questions, we attempt to discover and remind ourselves of how God works within us and the benefits of such work. It is easy for us to forget that the point of our salvation is to bring us into a right and active relationship with God. I hope this reminds you of God’s gracious work of allowing us to enjoy and crave His presence.