The Gift of Grace

Grace is a gift. As such, everything bestowed upon us and empowered

within us by grace, is also a gift. Any honest survey of the scripture makes this

obvious. Furthermore, grace must be received as a gift, or it cannot be received at

all.

This wondrous gift, benevolently conferred by God, leaves no room for self-

righteousness, ego, or pride. Grace came to you before you ever gained

recognition of its presence, brought empowerment before you knew you needed

strength or change, and prepared the path before you perceived there was a journey

to undertake. All of it a gift, given to you, that must be received as such to truly

know the sufficiency therein.

The admonition of scripture is this, “As you received Christ, so walk in

Him”. We were saved by grace through faith. Therefore, having come to Him in

such a way, we continue to walk and live by the same means. Faith is the

mechanism by which we access and receive such abundance.

The marvel in it, the great mystery, is that grace itself is what birthed faith in

us to begin with.  We do not initiate grace working on our behalf because we

manage to gain some adequate measure of faith first.  Grace was first. Grace is

always first. As previously stated, grace was at work on our behalf before we

EVER had an awareness of its’ accomplishment, much less any degree of faith to

provoke the intended benefit.  Faith itself is a response; the joyful acceptance of a

wondrous gift already given.  

Where many have stumbled, myself included, is when we mistakenly

attempt to turn faith into an effort to provoke a positive action from God. Within

our misperception, we assume a work performed for God creates an obligation of

reward from Him. That is called a wage, not a gift. God will never be indebted to

us, nor will He owe us anything. Healing will not become earned because I used

the right words in prayer. Deliverance will not be received because I force an

obligation from God through lengthy fasting. I will not warrant transformation and

abundance of life because I choke down a pre-determined number of chapters per

day.

Am I minimizing or negating that we are to live by faith?  Certainly not.

Rather, I am insisting, if what we esteem to be faith ever leaves God owing us

something, it cannot be faith. God will not be indebted to us.

Before I came to truly know God, in my blindness, I was incapable of

conceiving a life apart from sin. The moment grace truly captured me, I was still

holding the dope pipe in my hand. My point being, there was no measure of faith

in that moment which provoked God to bring deliverance to me. Quite the

contrary. Grace provoked me to repentance and response when I had no capacity

to see beyond my desperation.

A true encounter with grace, revealing Jesus Christ, is a more compelling

call to repentance and change than any heavy message we might hear from a

pulpit, or harsh accusation concerning our sin. Always, and in all circumstances,

grace is expressed before repentance is experienced. Therefore, all true obedience

to God is preceded by the empowerment of grace.

Genuine change comes as a gift. And, make no mistake, the grace of God

will change you. In fact, Paul writes in Titus 2:11-14 that it is grace which teaches

us to deny ungodliness, while simultaneously teaching and empowering us to live

in a way that demonstrates His character and nature. Until grace teaches us such

things, we are utterly incapable of perceiving our condition, much less find

freedom from it. Once grace teaches us such things, we are fully capable of living

beyond the veil of a fallen, human condition.  

You see then, that the deceleration of God’s grace is not the sugar of a candy

coated message.  Rather, it is the sweet, pure goodness of God arriving at the bed

of your infirmity, the depth of your depravity, the hopelessness of your

insufficiency, and the pain of your weakness; raising you up to the high place of

His calling and the beauty of His holy sanctuary.

So, I adamantly say again- grace is a gift, as is everything it brings and

bestows. It must be received as a gift, or it cannot be received at all.