GIFTS YOU WON’T RETURN—THE GIFT OF PROVISION
In the fifth verse of Romans, we first encounter the great Gospel word “grace” in this epistle. By the time we reach verse seven, Paul uses it again. In all, the term is found twenty-two times in the letter to Rome’s saints. This word is the supreme gift from which all others flow. The three other gifts of God to us—that we will unwrap the remainder of this week—are ours through grace. Because of the provision of the grace of God, we have purpose from God, position in God and peace with God. So, what better to do today, than to examine the gift of grace?
What is grace anyway? It is often described as God’s unmerited favor. That is accurate, but let’s explain it this way: grace is God’s provision for what we could never provide for ourselves. Note: it is “through Him.” (1:5a). It is only through Christ that every blessing comes. It is all undeserved on our part—that’s what makes it grace.
• There is a grace that saves. “For by grace you have been saved…” (Eph.2:8). We are most familiar with this dimension of grace. We cannot save ourselves, so God provides salvation in His Son.
• There is a grace that sanctifies. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet.3:18). Once we are saved, we do not graduate beyond grace to something else, but rather God provides grace for spiritual growth.
• There is a grace that strengthens “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor.12:9). We need not face our trials in our own puniness, but we can face them in God’s power.
• There is a grace to serve. Paul testified, “I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me.” (1 Cor.15:10). The fruitfulness in our service springs not from self-effort but spiritual energy.
• There is a grace to share. In 2 Cor.8-9, Paul speaks of the concept of the grace of giving. Out of poverty, God gave the Macedonian church supernatural motivation and means to give generously—beyond their ability.
So, the Christian life, from start to finish, is all of grace! Paul speaks of those in the church at Rome who have received grace as having received it already—they were saved—past tense (v.5) but prays they will continue to receive grace for every need—future tense (v.7b). As the Apostle John wrote, “And of [Christ’s] fullness we have all received, and grace for grace,” literally, “grace on top of grace!”
Have you received the gift of God’s grace to save you from your sins? You cannot save yourself! Cry out to a merciful God to save you through His Son’s sacrifice on the cross!
If you have received that gift, rejoice and give thanks for the other dimensions of grace. Sing those familiar words of “Amazing Grace” and be in awe of God’s provision.
Are you growing in grace? Have you by faith embraced the sufficiency of grace for your needs today? Is there spiritual fruit from your service, coming from the gracious life of Christ as you abide in Him as a branch in the vine (see John 15)? Are you practicing the grace of giving?