Over the last several years, I have come to appreciate and understand more fully the full scope of grace in the believer’s life. I have learned that we cannot leave grace at the altar of our salvation, for grace has far more to do than just save us. Grace is also given to help us as we live out that salvation.
Paul understood the full scope of grace. In all of Paul’s letters, he greeted his recipients with grace and peace. Peace was a traditional greeting for the Jewish people, but Paul added grace to it. Why? Because he desired for all to receive the grace of God given toward them and in them. He included it with peace because he knew the vital role grace plays in our having peace.
Paul spoke of several ways in which grace is given for our assistance. One is in relation to the gifts we are given by the Holy Spirit. When we have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation, we then have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, giving us spiritual gifts which we use in ministry or service. Paul says the gifts “differ according to the grace given to us…” (Romans 12:6, ESV). We have these gifts and the ability to serve as a result of God’s grace, and His grace gives us all that we need to use those gifts. Peter also spoke of this when he said in 1 Peter 4:10, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in various forms” (ESV).
In his letter to Titus, Paul teaches the role grace plays in training us for right living (Titus 2:11-12). Grace trains us to live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives.” It teaches us to turn away from worldly passions and ungodly living.
Grace also plays a vital role when we are living with difficult circumstances. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul tells of pleading with the Lord to take away “the thorn” he was suffering from. Paul shares with us the Lord’s answer to him in verse 9: “My grace is sufficient for you…” Jesus didn’t tell Paul to just have more faith. He told him His grace—the grace that God lavishly pours out on us (Ephesians 1:8)—was sufficient for him. Jesus saw Paul in his suffering. And while he didn’t remove that suffering, He offered the best thing He had for Paul to endure that suffering—His grace.
The writer of Hebrews offers this grace to us when he gives us the command to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). We do this to receive mercy, and to find the grace that will help us in our time of need. This is the grace that God gives for our daily assistance.
In all of our circumstances, in all of our striving to be more like Jesus, grace is there to help us. Don’t leave grace on the altar. Allow God to use it in these and many more ways in your life.