What a question! I asked this to the Youth the other day and they responded along the lines: ‘something we don’t deserve’, ‘forgiveness’ and ‘favour when you shouldn’t get it’. They were right! In the simplest way, God’s gift is grace for the undeserving sinner. But lately, within myself I’ve felt so dissatisfied with that answer. Surely there is more to it, surely it’s more complex? Maybe it is.
Last Sunday, during a quick game of hangman the youth guessed our next phrase, “Grace as Power for Living”. After that lesson we came to the conclusion that grace is the means of our salvation, and also, the power that works out our salvation. Interestingly, Paul writes proficiently about God’s grace and these are some of his words that speak of grace being a kind of power and influence from God.
2 Corinthians 9:8 “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 Jesus says to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
1 Corinthians 15:10 “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
All three of these verses describe grace as more than a disposition or quality or inclination of God, but as John Piper describes, it is also “the power of God that works in us to change our capacities for work, to endure suffering, and patient obedience.” That this power of God’s grace actually produces real practical outcomes.
So if grace can also refer to the power of God that makes us strong even when we are weak and enables us to complete good works when we wouldn’t naturally have the talent nor capacity nor want to do anything for God, how does this understanding of grace transform us? So grace, being our means of salvation, also keeps us going. And not just living a mediocre life anymore, but a life that depends on and needs this power from God so that our lives would point to something bigger than us.
I know I am only just scratching the surface, but ask yourself the question ‘What is God’s grace?’ And I pray Holy Spirit will lead you down the rabbit hole of God’s literally boundless grace. Is grace the power by which you live?