* The Scriptural support for the two sides of grace…
Here are some of the Scripture verses connecting grace with the various aspects of God’s love and God’s power. Again, we must emphasize that many times when grace is mentioned in Scripture, it is referring to both aspects. This is consistent with the fact that these two aspects are quite literally intertwined and working together in concert to administer God’s will and God’s purpose in our lives. God is motivated by His unmerited love for us, and He acts through His unlimited power. His grace, extended to our lives, infuses those qualities within us and also compels us to exhibit them…
The “Love” side of grace…
God’s love TO us…
Romans 3:24 “(We) are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (i.e. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins… God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us… for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” (1 John 4:10; Romans 5:8; John 3:16a capture the essence of God’s grace in justifying and redeeming us).
2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” (This verse captures the motivation behind the reconciliation, or “the exchange,” we see [from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21] – God did this out of His love for us. Jesus is our example of the height and depth to which God’s love will go in giving to the objects of His attention and affection).
Galatians 3:18 “For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in His grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.” (The emphasis here is upon God’s choice to extend the “promise” of an “inheritance” to Abraham, the father of faith. God’s choice, or the act of His sovereign will, is an act of His love).
God’s love IN us…
Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (The “how” to answer is through God’s love, with kindness, sincerity, and a genuine desire to be helpful… our conversations must always be expressive of the love of God moving and motivating our hearts to care as He cares. This is confirmed through Peter’s inspired admonition: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” [1 Peter 3:15])
1 Timothy 1:14 “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (The apostle’s admonition to Timothy carries with it a reminder that he was the worst of all possible sinners [a “blasphemer,” “persecutor” and a “violent man” or murderer of Christians! see v. 13] But he was changed by the grace of God poured out to him, and which now resides within him – filling him with faith and love, and enabling him to serve the Lord, and His Church, with grace and truth).
2 Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the (full) knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (One of the several greetings, within the New Testament letters, this is meant to be a spoken blessing over God’s people who read or hear these words. Grace and peace are meant to fill, and reside within, God’s people – granting that their hearts would be ready to love and serve “through the full knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,” and in the knowledge of how God has graciously loves them!)
God’s love THROUGH us…
2 Corinthians 4:15 “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” (In this verse, the focus is upon the message of God’s love which is given to all people through the work of Jesus, The Christ. [See also Colossians 3:12-16; about the abiding love of God within us, that promotes true and loving ministry to others]).
Acts 4:32-34a “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had… and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them…” (The abundance of God’s grace compelled all the believers to share their possessions openly and freely – they were all induced and inspired, by the love of God, to meet the needs of those who shared this new life together. These actions were the overflow of God’s abundant grace abiding within the believers’ hearts).
The “Power” side of grace…
The proper understanding of “power,” throughout Scripture, is centered in the extension and application of divine ability to our lives, and to God’s work that needs to be accomplished. It is not just miraculous ability – it is ability that comes from beyond ourselves, directly from our Divine Father. It is God enabling us to do what God desires us to do – it is His ability at work to accomplish His will and purposes…
God’s power TO us…
Romans 12:6 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us…” (Clearly, grace is a gift to us [given out of God’s love] but it is given to accomplish His purposes in and through our lives. Again, one of the primary components of God’s work from within His people is the gifts of the Spirit – which are given to us to enable each of us to vividly display an aspect of God’s character. The gifts are literally God at work to do what God does, so that His character qualities can impact both our lives and the lives of others).
2 Corinthians 9:8 “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (Grace is given to furnish us with the ability to do the work He requires. His supply comes to us, without limit, to any and every circumstance where His divine ability and abundance is needed).
Ephesians 4:7 “To each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” (Grace is given to supply the Body of believers, but it is also given to individual believers as God desires. His desire aligns with our individual callings and purpose, to empower each of us by His abundant ability).
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (There will be times of need in our lives, our help will come in the form of God’s grace. This is grace in the form of divine assistance and ability to handle/endure/overcome what is before us. “Thrones” are approached to access the rule/authority/power of a king! The emphasis, as always, is upon the Supplier of our help and upon the benefit/requirement of coming before Him to seek out His divine and kingly help).
God’s power IN us…
Acts 20:32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Two things are the product of grace working from within us: 1) we are built up [educated/edified/enabled]; and 2) we are given an “inheritance” among the “sanctified.” This means that the word of grace is: A) leading us to understand what it means to be a Kingdom dweller; and B) how we can actively access the King’s supply for all that we need to accomplish His will and purposes. Inheritance is properly seen, in the New Covenant, as both something we will have (in the future) but also something we can access now, as need may arise [Ephesians 1:18 teaches us that this inheritance is already “in the saints!”]).
2 Corinthians 1:12 “This is our boast: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.” (Clearly, the manner of conduct, within Christians, is centered in living by God’s wisdom and by trusting His grace, which actively and divinely shapes and forms us after His Own character).
2 Corinthians 12:7b-9 “…there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…”” (Clearly, grace is God’s enabling at work from within the apostle. There is a reason behind Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” That reason is to keep him from “becoming conceited because of… surpassingly great revelations” (v. 7a). The apostle is required to experience “torment,” but grace brings God’s sufficiency to the forefront in the matter. God’s grace becomes the means of revealing God’s power through the apostle’s state of “weakness.”)
Ephesians 3:7 “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power.” (Grace was at work within the apostle to define and empower His calling. All that the apostle accomplished was by God’s grace powerfully working in and through him).
Titus 2:11-12 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” (Grace is at work within us, teaching and sanctifying us as God’s people. This is God at work through His indwelling Holy Spirit).
Hebrews 13:9 “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace…” (Grace is God’s provision to strengthen us. Strength is His enabling – it is an act of His power at work to sustain us and provide for us to overcome. True strengthening does not come through “strange teachings” (i.e. some “hidden knowledge” only revealed to a privileged few [as seen in groups like the gnostics]) but by God’s power at work from within each and every one of us).
God’s power THROUGH us…
1 Corinthians 3:10 “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it…” (Paul attributes his work to being God’s work. The source of his work of ministry is God abiding in him and working through him by His grace. Others also come along and do God’s work through God’s grace working through them [Apollos; Cephas; etc.]).
1 Corinthians 15:10 “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (Actually, all three expressions of grace are mentioned here [In, To, Through]… Once again, we see that the source of the apostle’s efforts is God working through him by grace. Paul takes no credit for his accomplishments – all work and all credit go to God and His powerful grace at work through his life and ministry).
2 Corinthians 8:1-3 “Now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability…” (Grace causes miraculous things to happen. Here, in the case of the Macedonians, great generosity and overwhelming joy rise up from situations of “extreme poverty.” Joy and generosity do not “well up” from human poverty. But grace works within God’s people to stir us up to do things that reveal His handiwork. The emphasis is upon something that occurred that was “beyond their ability.” That something happened because of the power of God’s grace).
1 Peter 4:10 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (Grace is given to enable us to administer God’s grace in it’s many variations [or flavors]. Grace is given so God’s work, in accord with the various aspects of His character, may occur from within God’s people. The real essence of ministry [service to others] flows out of the power of God’s grace at work in and through God’s people).
All these Scriptures paint a picture of God’s grace that is all-sufficient. The emphasis is upon God’s love and God’s power, and how these aspects form and shape our lives within His will and purpose as God’s people. We can only belong to Him because His love and power (grace!) were poured out to us. We can only represent Him because His love and power (grace!) are poured out in and through us. This is the story of grace we must understand and apply to our lives. True Christians are abundant recipients of God’s grace – and representatives of that grace!
OUTSTANDING! Thank you for this. You have shared with us tools for our tool box. God bless you richly!
Reblogged this on David G. Perkins and commented:
Part Three of Mark Fox’s “The Two Sides of Grace”. Really, really good stuff here.