I was introduced to the concept of God’s grace as a new Christian by an acronym. God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense provides a visual image that has stuck with me over the years. The apostle Paul also summarizes God’s grace in one verse of the Bible, Romans 5:8. “While we were sinning, God demonstrated His love for all human beings by sending Jesus to die for our sins.” To acknowledge this is one thing, but to grow in the grace of God shows an appreciation and reverence to the Lord.
But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and [h]recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him [be] glory (honor, majesty, and splendor) both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (so be it)! – 2 Peter 3:18
Whenever you receive a gift that was deserved, you may feel bad or want to repay this individual with something in exchange. Yet, according to one of Jesus’ disciples, there is nothing that you can do to reimburse God. This unmerited favor is a free gift described by the apostle Paul in Romans 6:23. Some people accept this as their own, others put it on a shelf to collect dust while the bitter reject God’s offer. Growing in God’s grace is a way of thanking God for this everlasting gift, Luke 19:10.
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([c]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; 9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself,] Ephesians 2:8-9.
The apostle Paul makes a plea to anyone who thinks that they can earn their salvation. The above passage seeks to confront this flawed mindset. Salvation is a free gift not based upon works. Part of accepting this as your own involves receiving God’s grace through faith. At the end of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus provides advice of how you can grow in God’s grace, Matthew 6:14-15. Forgiveness in conditional based upon how you forgive others. Therefore, growing in God’s grace means loving and forgiving those who trespass against you. As you pour out grace to others, God will flood your life with grace.
by Jay Mankus