But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a NIV).
Grace is the Hebrew word “Chen” and the Greek word “Charis.” Both words mean “favour;” which implies loving-kindness flowing out of God’s mercy. Grace is the starting point in our relationship with God. The Bible tells us that, we are saved by grace, kept by grace and endure by grace.
SAVED BY GRACE
The Bible says; For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Man was separated from God after the disobedience of Adam and Eve.
The chasm of sin between man and God became wider until Jesus was sent to save us. This action on God’s part was based on pure grace. Paul confirms this by saying; For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). He further told the Ephesians, In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7).
Seeing that, we never merit God’s favour for our salvation, we need to constantly remind ourselves of what grace has done for us through the shed blood of Jesus. John Newton reminded himself, when he wrote:
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
was blind but now I see.
KEPT BY GRACE
Christians are often divided on the doctrine of “eternal security” (i.e. once saved, forever saved; or believers can lose their salvation if they do not persevere in their walk with God). It is not my aim to advance these arguments either for, or against this doctrine.
However, it is imperative for every Christian not lose sight of the role grace plays in sustaining us after salvation. Grace is the beginning and the end of our salvation. This plays out in how God continues to provide us with enough grace, as we journey towards heaven. For sure, as we grow in the Lord consciously or unconsciously, we need grace to help us in our edification and sanctification.
In his address to the Ephesian elders in Miletus, Paul said; “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). Peter also wrote: [Christians] who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:5). In his doxology, Jude said;
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Amen (Jude 24-25).
ENDURED BY GRACE
There is a resurgence and escalation of Christian persecution these days in some parts of the world. We do hear of shocking stories of some Christians who are being killed, abused, kidnapped and rejected because of their faith. Though, persecution may come to us in diverse ways, whatever form it takes, we all need a special grace from God to carry us through during those dark, lonely, formidable hours. We need to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit telling us not to give up; but to hold on and keep trusting God.
Biblical and church histories are fraught with narratives of many giants in the faith who suffered persecution in their walk with God. Paul confirms this when he said; “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22b). Through the prophet Isaiah, God assured His people of His ever presence with them; when He said:
But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I gave Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place. (Isaiah 43:1-3).
How about Job? After his ordeal and exoneration by God, he was prompted to say;
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).
Saints, as long as we’re in the flesh, we are bound to have issues as we serve God, and go about our duties. Some of these issues may come in the form of incurable sickness, disappointments, jealousies, lies, lack of employment etc. Paul, after asking God to remove a “thorn in his flesh,” had this response from Him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a). No matter what life throws at us, let’s remember that the grace that saved us, will continue to keep and strengthen us as we persevere to run the Christian race.
NB: This Newsletter is a repeat of March 2016 edition.
We will be grateful if you are able to support us financially to continue with our church planting programs in Africa.
My second book titled; Understanding Love: Biblical & Cultural Perspectives has been released. Copies could be purchased from www.Amazon.com or www.shidaanikei.com
As well, my first book titled: African Spirituality: Did Africans Know God Before the Arrival of the Missionaries? To purchase copies, go to www.Amazon.com or www.shidaanikei.com.
Rev. Dr. & Rev. (Mrs.) Charles & Faustina Mantey
We are happy to announce that Disciples Revival Church is now on social media. You can like us on Facebook at disciplesrevivalchurchtoronto or Twitter: @disciplesrevive find us on YouTube as well.
Disciples Revival Church
30 Gordon Mackay Road
Toronto, Ontario M9N 2V6. Canada