All of the riches of God are found within His grace. Grace is available in every situation and circumstance for the believer--I say available, meaning that grace is not automatically active within and through us in every circumstance. Not until we draw upon His grace, in faith, do we experience the all encompassing benefits of God's amazing grace. In the first verse of 2 Corinthians 6 Paul entreats us that we; "Receive not the grace of God in Vain".
Imagine for a moment a man upon whom God endows great power to heal any and every disease or sickness known to man, yet he only heals a few select people, the people he likes, though millions are suffering. Such a gift of God's grace is surely meant for the benefit of all. We would certainly cry "foul", we would think of this man as being very selfish, painfully biased and an unworthy vessel to bear this power from God. How different is this though, than those who are under God's grace, yet who do not grant the grace of God they've been given to other people, including themselves? If we do not grant grace to others, we have received God's grace in vain. If we do not abide in Christ by drawing upon His grace in times of need and difficulty, is not that receiving God's grace in vain?
Verse 2 reads, "For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation I have succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
Now is the time, "today is the day of salvation". The word succour is not one that we often hear today. It means "to give relief and assistance". Listen to this list of difficulties that the Apostle Paul gives, that he himself among other Christians have been and are enduring by relying upon God's Amazing Grace. Switching to the NIV bible, these are listed in verse 4; "in great endurance, in troubles, hardships and distresses, in beatings, imprisonments and riots, in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger."
I am certain that this is far more than I have had to deal with in my life and ministry. If Paul was able to draw upon God's grace to help him go through all that he did, including being stoned and left for dead, and even shipwrecked on an island, then whatever may come into our lives God can enable us to handle. He will succour us, comfort us, assist us, relieve us, empower us, and also give us joy and peace in the midst of our life storms.
Life is God's classroom, teaching us that He is all sufficient for all of our needs and wants. Christ is more than able and willing and He wants us to depend upon Him in difficult times. Sometimes however, our pride does not allow God's grace to reveal how amazing it truly is. In a spirit of meekness we must rely upon God's strength and not our own, calling upon His grace, which is sufficient in any possible scenario for the Minister of Christ and every Christian soul.
I interject here that in this scripture 2 Cor.6:1-10 Paul is proving or qualifying the Ministry of the Gospel. He shows that his and other's ministry is effective because of God's grace. Though he had to endure much hardship, he reveals how it was done. What we are observing, is the way God's Grace is what gives not only the Minister of Christ, but also every Christian, the ability to endure hardship, and also to effectively share the gospel of salvation by exhibiting and granting the same kind of grace by which we have been saved.
As Paul continues writing, the Spirit reveals the necessary condition of our hearts in order to reap the deeper benefits of grace ourselves, as well as how we can shower this grace upon others.
Verse 6: "In purity, understanding, patience and kindness, in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left."
Let's examine each of these and try to gain a deeper understanding of this verse. First is:
Purity: A godly life, a holy lifestyle.
Understanding: An understanding that no matter the trial and difficulties we endure,
"We are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Romans 8:37) The King James renders the word; Knowledge: Certainly Paul must here refer to all the godly knowledge we receive through God's Word, the Holy Spirit, and circumstantial application within the grace of God.
Patience or longsuffering: The Spiritual fruit listed in Galatians 5 includes longsuffering, indicating that without the Spirit of God, the sufferings we must pass through can be unbearable. But having His Spirit, being in Christ, we can do all things, endure all things, "through Christ, which strengthens us". Patience with our brothers and sisters in Christ is a mandate for every saved soul. How patient is God with us? We suffer being wronged taking it patiently, we should always respond in meekness, humility and love, forgiving as we have been forgiven, with a gentle spirit; these are the fruit we display through grace. A true recipient of grace grants grace to others, this is having patience, in hope that others too, may come to salvation, knowing the amazing grace of God.
In the Holy Spirit: Without the Holy Spirit of God, without the supernatural power of God within us, we are completely incapable of treating others with the kind of grace God has lavished upon us. We must rely upon Christ to enable us as we step out in faith and obedience to His law of love. Holy Spirit is the power within us to change, to forgive and to love with the kind of love Christ has shown us. Holy Spirit is our source for all things we will ever need in this life, and to live in a manner pleasing to God, and to minister to others.
Sincere Love: "Because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Romans 5:5b) It is only by loving our neighbor in a way that reflects God's love for us, that we show we are under God's Grace. The Holy Spirit will enable us to love sincerely, in all that we say and do, but without Him, our love is earthly and superficial.
Truthful Speech: Sometimes we try to twist the truth for the cause of Christ, thinking that we are helping in some way, but God's Word needs no special additions or alterations. We must always remember that it is God who calls, God who justifies and glorifies. Exaggerations are not warranted or needed--the power of God needs no help.
Power of God: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18) All the intellect of every man combined is not nearly as powerful as God's secret wisdom that is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We preach the Gospel and speak the Word of God and He does the rest. We have no power to save.
Weapons of Righteousness in the right hand and in the left: In the words of "Barnes" the commentator, "To be armed on the right hand and on the left is to be 'well armed', or entirely equipped." (end quote) Ah, we have come full circle. For the man or woman of God to be fully equipped is to remain completely surrendered unto the leading Holy Spirit within. It is staying suited up in the armor of God, bearing all the fruit of the Spirit and the good works. It is living the law of love and granting grace to those we meet. It is ever increasing in the knowledge of God's Word and maturing in faith. We draw upon God's Amazing grace in our need as we grant grace to others, for Christ is our sufficiency.
God's Grace, truly is an Amazing and All Sufficient Grace!
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I really enjoyed this piece. I think you make some great points. There are times when most of us can relate to when we didn't do all that we should in God's name whether it be praying fro a person or writing a story that God has laid on our heart, sometimes we can be a bit vain or perhaps fearful--after all what can I contribute? But God only gives us those gifts that He knows we can handle. My only suggestion for this piece is you may want to cut it down into two or three shorter devotions. I could easily see some of your points below a quoted Bible verse and then ended with a prayer in many devotion books or magazines. Often most devotional publishers will request that the pieces be between 250-500 words because people can become overwhelmed quite quickly. You do have a powerful message here and will leave the reader pondering your points.