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Grace the power of God

by Jeff Davidson

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to His great mercy, who caused us to be born again for a living hope [zoé] by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, for an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance, which does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith, for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time; in which you rejoice, though now for a little time, if need be, you are afflicted by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, much more precious than that of gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, results in praise, glory and honour, at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom although you have not seen, you love; and believing in Him, although now you do not see Him, you rejoice with an inexpressible joy full of glory, receiving the end of your faith: the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:3-9 Interlinear).

And so we have several things that are constructed the one upon the other up to the end:

  • We are born again for a living hope (verse 3), when the world no longer has hope. This hope is living (zoé is eternal life) for it is based on the promises of God. So it has the power of eternal life for all things. According to Romans 4:1-5, Abraham believed in the promise of God against all human hope.

  • We are born again for an incorruptible inheritance (verse 4), which is reserved for us in heaven. And we are co-heirs of this with Christ. It is like a bank account that we can use from now on, we do not have to wait to be in heaven to use it.

  • We are kept in our salvation by the power of God through our faith (verse 5). On the day of Pentecost we entered into the last times (Acts 2:17) with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

  • We rejoice even in the midst of trials (verse 6); to rejoice is a choice. Spiritual power is released in joy. If we are lacking power it is because we have not made the right choice. Let us rejoice so that the power can be released to help us to walk through our circumstances.

  • Our real faith is tested (verse 7). If we put it into action in difficult circumstances, we become conquerors and walk through difficulties until Jesus is revealed. Jesus reveals Himself when our faith is tested.

  • The end of our faith is salvation (verse 9).

The prophets could see grace, but it was not for them (verses 10-12). We have to gird up the loins of our understanding, that is to say prevent our thoughts from drifting (verse 13); if not we are not really going to take hold of, put all these things into practice. Let us be sober and put ourselves under grace in order to receive the revelation of Jesus. And the more Jesus is revealed, the more we have something solid and stable upon which to base our hope: grace.

The multiplication of peace and grace

"grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge [épignosis] of God and Jesus our Lord" (1 Peter 1:2).

Knowledge for knowledge's sake is gnosis and leads to pride (1 Corinthians 8:1). Real knowledge [épignosis], leads to the revelation of Jesus Christ, it is experience, we taste and see! And when something is revealed in Jesus Christ, we receive grace and our hope rests on it. If our hope is founded on something other than grace, it is going to collapse.

Paul expresses grace thus: grace is everything I have become, and it has worked through me (1 Corinthians 15:10). Grace is all that God is, all that He has and all that He can do. But grace cannot co-exist with the law. Paul said that his greatest sin was his involvement with the law.

Glory is where grace is; they cannot be dissociated from each other (John 1:14-17). Jesus having come in the flesh is the prototype of the Word, and we have received the fullness (all that He has) and grace upon grace, that is to say that we have first of all received, to enter then into the fullness of His grace. Many know things about Jesus, but do not know Him personally. We have to receive Him for ourselves.

The law has been a parenthesis in faith (John 1:17), for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived by faith before the law, and since the coming of Jesus onto the earth we also have lived by faith. The law was the teacher who led us to faith (Galatians 3:23-25). But the tablets of the law have become a stumbling block. It is not the true Gospel if the law is mixed with faith (Galatians 3:1-3). The law is the flesh, and grace is the Spirit. The flesh cannot overcome the flesh, it was the Spirit. And he who walks by the flesh is the enemy of God (Romans 8:7). He who labours by the flesh receives his wages as his due, it is the law, it is performance (Romans 4:1-4); but faith works by grace, for grace gives us the ability to do everything. The letter (law) kills but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6); the law condemns, but grace justifies (2 Corinthians 3:9). The law produces temporal human things, which are valueless for they rest on the flesh (Colossians 2:20-23). Those who live by the Spirit are the sons of God (Romans 8:12-15); in fact, we have been adopted as sons to receive the inheritance of God the Father.

The law and grace have the same end, but the law lacks power for it works externally. On the other hand, grace works internally, it teaches us how to live (Titus 2:11-14). The law cannot overcome the flesh, which is why God sent His son in the flesh to condemn sin in the flesh, and so that we can live by grace (Romans 8:3-4).

We have been saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), and we consider that uniquely in the past; but it is dynamic, and it is always active for us today. We work with God, and Paul pleads that we do not receive the grace of God in vain for now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:1-2); it is today, if not grace is in vain! God will not allow us to be tested beyond our strength (1 Corinthians 10:13). But how can we be conqueror of the trial if we neglect such a great salvation? If we keep salvation in the past, we lessen its effects.

Grace is the vehicle by which God sends us His promises, His blessings and His power. It is something of God, which comes down into our lives. The promises of God are a description of His grace. When His grace reaches our lives, the result is salvation (sozo in Greek), but the word signifies also saved, protected, healed, complete and walking in the good. We are saved by grace, but there is another side of the equation, by the means of faith:

Grace (God) + Faith (us) = Salvation

With God we never lack anything because He has already provided for the way of the just is like the resplendent light whose brightness continues to grow until the middle of the day (Proverbs 4:18). Let us be engaged with our salvation every day! Let us remain firm in the grace, in the storehouse of grace to which we have access (Romans 5:1-2). We have access to everything, but we must take hold of it by faith, if not the grace will be in vain.

We are in a "Father and son" business, and our Father likes us to get involved in His family business. If we remain firmly rooted in grace, no one will cause us to come out of it, except ourselves. The promise of inheritance made to Abraham is today accessible to everyone by faith in Christ (Romans 4:13-16). Grace is a lot stronger than sin and trials for we receive it in great abundance in order to reign in our lives through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).

But we must believe that what we ask, we receive. We must believe that today is the day of salvation (Mark 11:24). So a first time we receive it by faith, then we obtain it in our lives. We must always be, in our minds, in a position of receiving, for we need to receive grace to reign in our lives. In God there is always "a why, a because and an in order that"; He blesses us because He loves us and in order that we are a blessing to others. So we receive grace by faith to be of service to others.

The apostle Paul makes this final commendation: "I entrust you all to God and to the word of His grace…" (Acts 20:32), for faith comes from the Word (Romans 10:17), and we have need of the grace of God and of faith. God said to Paul "My grace is sufficient for you" (2 Corinthians 12:9), that is to say "take My grace and you will experience healing: find My Word and let the seed act".

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