May 1, 2022|In Christian Living|11 Minutes

As a Christian, I hear a lot of talk about grace. We sing about it, we preach about it. It’s central to our faith. Yet, what does it really mean? What does it mean for our lives?

The grace of God is undeserved favour. His mercy and blessings given to us even though we don’t deserve it.

We often think of this grace when it comes to initial salvation. We were sinful and under God’spunishment; yet when we put our faith in Jesus, God gave us his grace. He forgave our sins and restored us to relationship with himself. This is not because of anything we did to earn it – it is purely from God’s grace, his undeserved favour in our lives.

We need this grace to be saved. Yet, what about now that we are saved? What role does God’s grace play in our lives now?

So often, we associate grace with that initial act of salvation, but then we set it aside. We think we can continue living as a Christian now in our own strength.

The truth is, we as believers need God’s grace every day. We will never reach a time in our lives when we can step out on our own and leave God’s grace and mercy behind.

I’m going to share three reasons why God’s grace is still absolutely vital for the life of believers.

Pinterest pin The Imperative of Grace upon grace
Quote on compassion and grace pinterest pin

3. This world is out of our control

And sometimes the hardships we face have nothing to do with us. We live in a fallen world and sometimes things happen to us that are simply out of our control. Things that happen with no warning, that turn our lives upside down and shatter every pretense of us being in control.

At the beginning of this year, I was looking forward to all the new possibilities that the coming months might bring. Then I found out our landlord was selling the place we lived in and we needed to find somewhere else quick. Then I found out I was pregnant with our third child, complete with severe morning sickness. Then I got Covid. One thing after another, reminding me that life was not as easy and predictable as I’d like it to be.

The list of challenges this world throws at us is endless – broken relationships, a health diagnosis, unemployment or financial struggles. No-one is exempt from the difficulties of life. Even Jesus promised, as he spoke to his disciples:

“In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

When we come up against circumstances like these, that’s when we need God’s grace. The grace of knowing that he is sovereign, that nothing catches him by surprise or is outside of his control. That he is working all things for good for those who love him. We don’t have to worry about what the future holds, for God is with us in each situation and his grace and compassion is available to us always.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

As vital as grace is to the non-believer being welcomed into salvation, that same grace is essential for us as we journey on in our Christian life. There will never be a day this side of heaven when we don’t need God’s grace. And there will never be a day when his grace is not abundantly given to us

1. Growing in holiness is a process

It might be no surprise to you that we don’t become perfect the moment we’re saved. When God redeems us from our life of sin, he begins a lifelong process of sanctification – growing in holiness. Each of us has different sins we need to deal with, carrying over from when we were walking in the world. Through the Holy Spirit, God empowers us to put off these sinful behaviours, to grow in the faith and become more like Jesus.

This is a process that lasts our whole life through. The truth of it is, we still make mistakes. We are still tempted by our old ways and so often we still fall back into sin. Yet, God freely and abundantly gives us his grace every single time.

Now, we receive the grace of salvation once and for all when we first put our trust in Jesus. We don’t have to worry that making a mistake or strugging with sin will affect that. We don’t have to keep receiving fresh grace to secure our place in heaven.

So, why is grace still so important for Christians growing in holiness?

Receiving God’s grace after we sin restores us to fellowship with God. It strengthens our relationship with God. It gives us the confidence and assurance we need to try again, to put off sin and pursue godliness in the power of the Spirit. In Psalm 51, David cries out to the Lord in repentance and says:

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” Psalm 51:12

Our salvation is secure, but grace restores our joy and our assurance. It gives us a willing spirit to live for God once again.

The Christian life is a dance of stumbling and repentance, of falling and grace. But although it is a slow process, with sometimes seemingly-backwards steps, God has promised that he will bring our sanctification to completion. As it says in Philippians:

“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” – Philippians 1:6

As life goes on, he is transforming us to be more like Jesus. And this, in itself, is God’s grace.

John 16 verse 33
Quote about grace Pinterest pin

2. We are weak and limited as humans

Sometimes the mistakes we make in life aren’t sin issues.

Has this ever happened to you? You get all fired up about some goal you want to achieve, or some ideal expectation of how things should be. But then life gets in the way and you fail to live up to your ideals.

For myself, nothing demonstrated this more than being a stay-at-home mum. My ideals for motherhood involved developmentally appropriate, enriching play activities, healthy but delicious homemade snacks and a reasonably tidy home. In reality, sometimes I’d manage to achieve this to some extent. But many other times, I’d be too tired, too distracted, too human to reach these grand ideals of parenting. What is it for you? Maybe it has to do with work, with health and fitness, even with Bible reading and prayer.

When we fail to live up to the high standards we set for ourselves, we need God’s grace.

God knows our humanity. He knows our frailty and weakness. I am reminded of Psalm 103,
which says:

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”  – Psalm 103:13-14

God doesn’t require us to be all-powerful and all-knowing – because he can be that for us. When we make mistakes and fall so far short of what we hoped we would be, God’s grace is there to cover us. God’s grace remind us that in our weakness he is strong, and he freely gives us his strength to do what he has called us to do. Isaiah says it so beautifully:

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:30-31

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