Friday, June 15, 2018

"Grace For Grace"

"Grace For Grace"

   The Apostle Paul strongly affirms the Thessalonian believers as he opens his second epistle to his beloved brothers and sisters:

   "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth" (II Thessalonians 1:3).

    Paul, as he did in a number of his epistles, nevertheless concludes this communication with a benediction of seeking grace for the Thessalonians:

    "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen" (II Thessalonians 3:18).

    Why did those who had clearly already received God's freely given favor in the Lord Jesus seemingly need more of such undeserved blessing?  Was Paul's benediction merely a polite salutation?  The answer lies in application, affirmation, and awareness.  The Thessalonians, like every born again believer in the Lord Jesus, possessed God's grace as His spiritual recipients in Christ.  Whether such favor and relationship with their Heavenly Father would consistently influence their experience constituted a different matter.  Christians are to be more than merely possessors of God's gracious beneficence whereby we are "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).  We also desire to be "good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (I Peter 4:10).  For His glory, the benefit of others, and the peace of our own hearts, a growing knowledge and understanding of grace enables us to live in the light of such favor.  Thereby we please our Father by walking with Him in consistent fellowship.  We influence people in our lives by exemplifying and expressing the freely given favor we have received.  And we walk in the wonder of the Gift so freely bestowed upon us, but which cost the Lord Jesus so much sorrow, suffering, forsakenness, and death.  

    The Apostle John wrote that we have "received grace for grace" (John 1:16).  Indeed, one moment of response to our Lord's loving acceptance leads to another, and another as we "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).  We will never have more grace in the sense of possession.  We will eternally have more in the sense of grateful discovery, response, and application.  Our Lord beckons us to sail ever further into His goodness whereby our hearts remain continually amazed by tides of grace in Christ that carry us along in freely given favor, enabling our faithfully executed voyage for His glory.

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
(Hebrews 4:14-16)

Weekly Memory Verse
    The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.
(Psalm 126:3)

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