God is very clear in his Word: we are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not saved by any inherent goodness we think we have, nor any amount of good in us that might outweigh the bad. We are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works. To see this for yourself, look at the flow of Paul’s writing in Ephesians 2:8-10.
As part of this salvation, God has ‘made us alive’ (Ephesians 2:5), so we can see that he has given us a new purpose and a new life. Not only that: in his eternal goodness, God also provides us with everything –both physically and spiritually– that is needed for us to live the transformed life that looks more and more like Jesus (see 2 Peter 1:3; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). This is the gift of grace.
Transformed by Grace
In Ephesians 4:7, Paul wrote: ‘grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.‘ Notice that this means that all disciples are given the gift of God’s grace. When he wrote to the disciples in the Church of God in Corinth, he said:
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge1 Corinthians 1:4-5
Paul recognised that God’s gift of grace was positively transforming the Corinthian disciples’ understanding of God, and their everyday speech. The same should be said of us: we are to continue to live by grace after being saved by grace! Is your knowledge of God and your speech increasingly enriched? If it is, that’s because of the gift of grace. This kind of transformation is a necessary part of proving ourselves to be truly saved (1 John 2:6).
God himself, by living in us, gives us the capacity and capability to serve him!
On several occasions, Paul wrote about the gift of grace in his own life. If you read Galatians 2:9, Ephesians 3:7-8, Romans 12:3 and Romans 15:5 you’ll notice that Paul recognised the gift of grace in his life was the enabling from God, as an apostle, to preach the gospel and to teach disciples about the Lord Jesus Christ. He clearly says,
‘the gift of God’s grace which was given me according to the working of his power‘.Eph. 3:7
Without God’s grace, and the associated power of God, he would not have been able to preach and teach!
The Spirit of Grace
The Holy Spirit, who comes to live in the lives of all the children of God, is the foremost part of the gift of grace to all believers. He is gracious as he remains with us in all our continuing sinfulness, patiently working with us to empower us to do what God has saved us for. God himself, by living in us, gives us the capacity and capability to serve him! There is still much in us that rebels against God’s authority in our lives, but his gift of grace remains with us.
As Paul said to the disciples at Philippi, ‘work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for his good pleasure‘ (Philippians 2:12-13). The divine power of the Holy Spirit has come to us from God to first make us alive in Christ, and then to enable our holy living in God’s service for his glory and pleasure. We didn’t deserve any of this!
How is the gift of grace evidenced in your life?
David is an evangelist and full-time teacher in the Churches of God, having worked in business & sales before he heard God’s call into full-time ministry. David is involved in youth work in his local Church of God in Manchester and the churches in the North West of England and is often called to use his musical gift to lead times of worship & praise at national and international conferences. He also enjoys drinking coffee in his free time.
Gilbert Grierson14 March 2023 at 13:26
This year (2023) is the 250th anniversary of the writing of the hymn “Amazing Grace” composed by John Newton, ex-slave trader.