|by Bud Paine
What is grace? We often hear it throughout our studies of God's word, but what exactly is it? Grace is listed some 148 times in the New King James Version, and this does not count its derivatives of graceful, gracious, and graciously! By definition it is "favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that person deserves. Grace is one of the key attributes of God. The Lord God is "merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth" (Ex. 34:6 NKJV). "Therefore, grace is almost always associated with mercy, love, compassion, and patience" (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary).
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself" (Eph.1: 3-9 NKJV).
In the Old Testament, the supreme example of grace was the redemption of the Hebrew people from Egypt and their establishment in the Promised Land. This did not happen because of any merit on Israel's part, but in spite of their unrighteousness (Deut. 7:7 - 8; 9:5 - 6 NKJV).
The grace of God was supremely revealed and given in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not only the beneficiary of God's grace: "And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." (Luke 2:40 NKJV), but was also the very embodiment of it: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14 NKJV), bringing it to mankind for salvation "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men," (Titus 2:11 NKJV). By His death and resurrection, Jesus restored the broken fellowship between God and His people, both Jew and Gentile. The only way of salvation for any person is "through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15:11 NKJV) and "I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 1:4 NKJV).
God also uses His grace to make His will be known to us, such as in the case of Paul, "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;" (Eph. 3:8-9 NKJV).
But you ask, "How can I receive it?" In Ephesians we find this very answer, and the only answer, it is given freely,
"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift." (Eph. 4:4-7 NKJV).
So through the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for the redemption of our sins, we find that we are able to receive this wonderful gift. The glorious love and favor of a loving Father, through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, allows us to receive this most miraculous gift.
Now you ask, "What must I do?"
You must be saved!
"But how do I do that?" you wonder. I have heard so many different stories of how to be saved."
It is achieved through the instructions found in the Scriptures. For Christ tells us, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." (Matt. 7:21 NKJV) This means that we must do as we are directed by the word of God, which allows us to receive the glorious plan of salvation, by having a faith in the word of God; we can achieve this most generous favor from a loving God.
"What exactly is this plan of salvation?"
First, you must hear the word of God, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17 NKJV)
Then you must believe, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Heb. 11:6 NKJV) and, "And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16 NKJV).
You must repent, "Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38 NKJV) and, "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3 NKJV).
You must confess Christ before men, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 10:32-33 NKJV).
You must be baptized, "Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5 NKJV) and, "Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38 NKJV) and, "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him." (Acts 8:36-38 NKJV) and, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16 NKJV) and, "who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us - baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God NKJV), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ," (1 Peter 3: 20-21 NKJV). These are but a scant few of the verses that apply to baptism).
Then, one must remain faithful, ... "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Rev. 2:10 NKJV).
If we do these things we will receive the greatest gift of our most heavenly Father, which is the gift of grace through His loving Son, Jesus Christ!
Grace Copyright © 2000 by Bud Paine
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