“Daddy, I need mercy”
These were the words uttered by my sons when I caught them stealing rocks from the parking lot of the first church I pastored. Despite being warned about the consequences, they had repeated the offense a second time. When their day of reckoning arrived, they pleaded through tears, “Daddy, we need mercy! That’s when you don’t get what you deserve!”
Have you ever thought about what grace truly means? Perhaps, like my sons, you recognize God’s mercy—but what do you truly understand about grace?
Let’s explore four essential facets of grace that you need to know:
#1 - Grace gives you what you don’t deserve
In its essence, grace is the unmerited favor of God. It gives us what we don’t deserve and cannot earn. The Greek word for grace is also translated as “divine favor” (HELPS Word-studies). It is God’s power at work in our lives, empowering us to become who He has called us to be – joint heirs with Christ, new creations, righteous in His sight, and children of God. So you see, it’s God’s grace that empowers you to fulfill your purpose and the good work that God has set before you to do. Think of it as the fuel that ignites your spiritual fire and enables you to live out your calling.
Grace is not just a one-time gift; it is an ongoing process in our lives as we walk with God. Have you ever noticed times in your life where you overcame difficult circumstances, or temptations, or were able to extend love and forgiveness to others when you didn’t really “feel” like it? That’s the grace of God flowing through you! As you walk humbly before God, you begin to understand that everything you have, and everything you are, is a result of His amazing grace working within you.
#2 - The reign of grace breaks sin’s tyranny
The apostle Paul gives assurance in Romans 6:14 that sin no longer has dominion over you because you are no longer under the law but under grace. Falling from grace doesn’t happen when you sin; it’s when you try to combat sin in your own strength, relying on legalism and self-effort. True victory over sin comes through a revelation of God’s grace, understanding that we are forgiven and accepted despite our shortcomings. Grace breaks the chains of guilt, freeing us from the oppression of sin and allowing us to live victoriously in Christ.
Does grace give you a license to indulge in sin? Absolutely not! Grace empowers you to live a life of holiness and righteousness out of gratitude for God’s unconditional love. God has provided a way for you to be an overcomer through the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, and it’s all through His marvelous, amazing grace. As you grow in your understanding and in your relationship with God, you’ll begin to walk in greater freedom, totally free from the bondage of sin and shame.
#3 - Grace is personified by Jesus
Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15 that he became an apostle of grace after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul wasn’t taught grace; he met grace—Jesus! He got a revelation of grace, and it knocked him off his donkey! If you want to understand grace, you don’t just need doctrine; you need Jesus!
Jesus’s life on Earth exemplified grace in action. He had compassion for the outcasts, the sinners, and the brokenhearted. The ultimate expression of His grace was displayed on the cross, where He took upon Himself the punishment you and I deserved, and offered us forgiveness and reconciliation with God. When you encounter Jesus, His grace will overwhelm you, and transform your life from the inside out.
How do you get a deeper understanding of grace? Through a personal relationship with Jesus. When you surrender your life to the Lord, you allow Him to shape you and lead you at each step of your journey. When you spend time in His presence and in His Word, you are renewing your mind to the truth. As you walk with Jesus, you learn to extend grace to the world around us, just as He Jesus extended it to you.
#4 - Grace is required to operate in God’s vision for your life!
Did you know that you are called to minister the manifold grace of God? The Greek word translated as “manifold” in this context means diverse, (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) indicating the various forms and expressions of God’s grace. In 1 Corinthians 12, you can study the various grace gifts God gives to each believer. Recognizing that your gifts are unique to you helps you to focus on your calling without comparing yourself to others.
Grace gifts are not given to you for selfish gain but to edify and build up the body of Christ. They equip you to serve others in love, share the Gospel, and demonstrate the love and goodness of God. Understanding and operating in your spiritual gifts allow you to fulfill God’s vision for your life with humility and purpose.
Rather than striving to fit into someone else’s calling, you can embrace God’s purpose for you, secure in the knowledge that His grace is sufficient for you to fulfill His will for your life.
I hope you’re starting to get a picture of God’s wonderful grace. While His grace doesn’t exempt you from difficulties, it does provide you with the comforting assurance that God is with you through every circumstance, equipping you with the resilience to persevere and overcome every trial in His strength.
My prayer for you is that God’s grace is not just an abstract concept but a transformative force that shapes your life and empowers you to fulfill God's calling for you.
As you meditate on the different facets of grace—receiving what you don’t deserve, victory over sin, the personification of Grace through Jesus, and operating in your unique spiritual gifts—let it deepen your appreciation for God’s unmerited favor that surrounds you like a shield.
So, let’s be thankful for God’s mercy, but let us also embrace His grace and step into the fullness of our divine destinies. As you grow in your understanding of God’s grace, may you become a beacon of God’s love and grace to a world in need, extending the same grace to others that you have received from Him!