More Than Amazing
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 2, 2002, 12:49
A sixth grader was asked one time to define a miracle. After much thought she said, "A miracle is something extraordinary that happens with no strings attached!" I like that definition. I like it because it gets one thinking about what Jesus has done for us.
I am a person, who by nature, looks at things and will attempt to analyze what I see. I look at things that happen in the world and I dream of ways the church can make the world a better place. I get frustrated because I think that the body of Christ can do a much better job than it does but I always try to go to the next level and ask the question, "How? How can the body of Christ do a better job?"
Now that is a big question and you can go into any Christian bookstore and read various authorsí opinions on how that can be done. Well, Iím going to add my own two cents to the bucket. I believe that the church, the body of Christ, would do a better job of making a difference in the world if we could get a better understanding on the concept of grace.
Is this really important? I think so! I donít think we can be obedient until we understand what the Bible says about grace. Purity, holiness, and obedience flow from grace. Until you understand, and I really mean understand "grace," you will struggle and stumble around trying to live a life of holiness and trying to be pure. If we can begin to understand His grace and the impact it has on us, it will pop the cork on the "joy" bottle and an explosion will take place. Our world will never be the same. If you want to put it under a microscope I think you will find that many problems believers have spiritually come from a misunderstanding or misapplication of the doctrine of grace.
Letís start with a definition of grace. I always heard as a child that grace defined is Godís Riches At Christís Expense. Thatís a good definition, but let me give you a better, Biblical one. "Grace is an objective grant of undeserved favor from a superior to an inferior." You can read it and re-read it. That Biblical definition of grace takes the idea far beyond what most of us have ever thought. It means that I canít give it to you and you canít give it to me because it is a gift from a superior to an inferior. Therefore, it is a gift that comes from a source far greater than you and I...that means it can only come from God alone! The best you and I can do is try to model, and we wonít do it well, what He has given us.
Read 1 Peter 5:6-14. In these verses we find some keys that I find helpful in understanding this more than amazing topic.
First, notice the need for grace in verses 8-9. We are told to be "self-controlled and alert, the devil is on the prowl, and others undergo the same suffering." In other words, we live in a world where we need help...we need something from somewhere that can help us. We need His grace.
I have been around folks who have no relationship with Christ and tried to help encourage them. Yet there is a problem, when the pagan goes through times of trouble, when they face death...if there is no grace, there is no hope! If we donít have hope, then life becomes an endless string of meaningless events and we are in deep, deep trouble.
Next, please see the enemy of grace, again in verse 8. "Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Sometimes we forget that Satan is out there trying to rob us of all that God has for us.
Have you ever seen a picture of Anton Levay? He is the founder of the church of Satan. He looks weird! People will probably disagree with me on this and that is o.k. (if you really disagree, just be nice when you write to me). I donít really sweat folks like him too much. I just figure they are silly, strange people doing silly, strange things. I think Satan is much more creative than that. The grim reality is that there is a supernatural battle taking place around us. Scripture warns us of it. It is real, donít be terrifiedójust be aware! Remember in 1 John 4:4 we are told, "greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." Satan is the enemy of Godís grace...he doesnít want us to understand it or experience it. Satan hates grace. He will tell us lies like "you just donít measure up...if you do that God wonít love you...a real Christian wouldnít say that"óall of those are lies from the pit of Hell and smell of smoke. Iíll write it once more so you donít miss it...Satan is the enemy of grace.
Next, see the source of grace. In verse ten we see "the God of all grace who called you." He, the Heavenly Father, is the source of grace! That is a part of the nature of God. Have you ever met somebody who just accepts you as you are? That is how the Savior works. I am slowly, but steadily learning that God is so much more than I can imagine, yet He loves me and accepts me just as I am. I think if you miss the reality of His grace you will miss out on the rest of what He has for us as well.
Finally, check the relationship of grace in verse 6. "Humble yourself under Godís mighty hand, that He may lift you in due time." We must humble ourselves before God because of who He is, because of what He has done, that is a pivotal part of our relationship with Him. Now remember the Biblical definition of graceóan objective grant of undeserved favor from a superior to an inferior. That is the relationship of grace. Only an "inferior"can receive it. But donít let that give you a complex. You are inferior to the Creator, but because of His grace, He adopts you as His own. One problem is that often we forget the way the relationship works!
Once Abraham Lincoln talked about facing a crisis and told reporters that he was forced to his knees. One reporter asked why. With a smile Lincoln said, "There was no place else to go!"
That is the thing to remember about grace...He gives it...we receive it...there is no other source. Yet that changed everything about us.
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