Grace In, Grace Out
Grace, what a WORD, but more than just a word, there is LIFE associated with God’s Word of grace addressed to you. By definition, grace is God’s divine favor that he has chosen to impart to undeserving, repentant man. Our gracious Lord had you in mind when it came to your salvation: “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). God chose not keep grace to himself, knowing that sinful man needed redemption, and that redeemed man needed sustaining grace. Grace doesn’t stop at salvation, and God knew we needed continual grace for our faith journey. God addresses his grace to his children: “Grace to you” (Romans 1:7). “Grace be with you” (Colossians 4:18). “Grace be unto you” (Philippians 1:2). “Grace be to you”(Galatian 1:3). Also, “Grace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2). So, there it is, grace coming to us, added to us, but let’s not stop there, let grace be multiplied through our knowledge of who God is as our GRACE-GIVER. Then, may the usefulness of his grace be as he intended in our lives, together with his grace shared from our lives. So, it’s grace in and grace out. God’s Word is explicit concerning grace and invites our spiritual attention, and also commands our Spirit-filled activity in receiving grace and participating in our grace-filled fellowship.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church admonishing that “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you (1st Epistle, 5:28). The reason, every member of that fellowship needed it and grace is what was essential in their relationship with one another. As the Lord never intended to keep grace to himself, neither should an individual member his body (the church) keep it to himself. “So, we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Romans 12:5). When the believer spreads the grace of God throughout the fellowship, grace comes back to him; he gets graced again, with gladness. It was Barnabas who heard of the grace of God working in the church at Antioch, knowing that the “hand of the Lord was with them” (Acts 11:22). “Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was GLAD, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord” (v. 23). Purposeful grace with gladness was coming from its Source, the Lord himself; and that is our exhortation, may grace come in, and then go out with gladness to others, all by cleaving unto the Lord. The reason is clear: it’s God’s way of dealing with his own, and needs to be our way as we fellowship with each other, HIS OWN. It’s been said, “Grace values the dignity of others. Grace supports and encourages. It does no harm to the one for whom Jesus died. The Lord graces his children, and so may grace do the same in us, and from us. Grace refuses to put a ceiling on how much grace to give another who needs it just as much as you long for it. So, let us all raise the ceiling.” John MacArthur Jr. sums it up, “If I am not showing grace, have I forgotten the grace I have been shown?”