In this post we will be looking at the spiritual heavenly blessing of grace. In John 1:14 scripture reveals that Jesus was full of grace and truth. Grace is a two-sided blessing but is most often defined as unmerited favor which it certainly is! However, as we stated in a previous post, Jesus did not require unmerited favor for he never sinned. So what is the aspect of grace that Jesus was full of?
Grace, according to Strong’s concordance, is defined as graciouness, but especially as divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in life. Now this is the side of grace that was evident in the Son of man’s life. As we follow His earthly life through the gospel record it shines from Jesus everywhere, and in all circumstance of his earthly experience. The record shows divine influence so effected his entire being that when he spoke people marveled at the graciouness of his words (Luke 4:22). Our brother James teaches that he does not offend in word is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body. Jesus’ tongue and entire body was bridled by divine influence and people wondered at it. And he truly was the perfect human.
However, fallen humanity is not perfect requiring unmerited favor from Father-and Father has given us just that. Because Father is rich in mercy, and loves humanity deeply, even when we were still dead in our sins-unable to do anything to earn our salvation-blessed us with unearned favor and saved us (Ephesians 2:4-8). Thanks be to the Father for the “unmerited favor” side of grace for we desparately needed it.
Father justified us in unmerited favor so we now stand “not guilty” in his sight. And now by faith we have access into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2). But think with me for a minute, “If we have already received his unearned favor why do I still need to access it? I believe that having once obtained unmerited favor for salvation we now have entrance into the divine influence upon the heart side of grace for living a holy and godlike life. Titus 2:11-12 says, For the grace (merited favor and divine influence) of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, and teaches those who come under both aspects of grace how to deny ungodliness and worldy lust, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world. Once saved by of Father’s unmerited favor (Ephesians 2:8), we now have access to the very same divine influence of heart Jesus walked in while a man on earth. The divine enablement aspect of grace filled the Son of man’s heart and taught him how to overcome every aspect of temptation he encounted enabling him to live his life without sin. Now because of the unmerited favor side of grace, we, as the sons of God, have access into the same divine influence of heart that enabled Jesus. Oh the glory of the two-fold blessing of God’s grace.
The Word of God clearly teaches that salvation is two-fold in nature as well. Paul especially illuminates our undertanding to the dual aspects of salvation in his epistles to the Roman, Galatian, and Ephesian, Philippian, and Colossian saints. Paul’s instruction presents both a positional and experiential aspect of salvation. For example Ephesians 2:5-6 states an aspect of our position in Christ. It reveals that while we were dead in sins, Father made us alive together with Christ and raised us up to seat us together with Christ in the heavenly realm. This is typical of the “unmerited favor” aspect of grace for it happens as soon as we are saved-we do nothing of our own to warrant or earn that position. However, in Revelation 3:20, Jesus promises that those who overcome in this life will actually sit down on his throne with him, even as he overcame and sat down with his Father on his throne. Jesus in his humanness overcame all sin everytime he experienced temptation-this is typical of the experiential side of salvation.
We see both aspects of salvation in grace as well. Unmerited favor is equal to our position because the verses that speak to our position in Christ were ours by believing-and even that faith was a gift from God. The divine influence side of grace and its reflection in life is equal to the experiential side of salvation: for all these verse require a condition be met by us in our practice before becoming our reality. The son of humanity only needed the second, we need both-and because of Christ we have both! And for that we give thanks and rejoice!
A careful study of the five epistles listed above will clearly reveal the positional and experiential aspects of salvation. As you read each epistle you will find that Paul follows a similar pattern in each. He begins his epistles by revealing truths concerning the Person and Work of Christ in accordance with Father’s eternal plan setting forth the positional realities unmerited favor bestows upon us because of it. He then follows with practical exhortation of how we should live in response to those positional realities. And this response in daily experience is made possible by the divine influence side of grace upon out hearts enabling us to walk even as Christ walked-in overcoming victory manifesting the both nature and practice of the Son of man. Unmerited favor of grace gives the sons of God acces into the divine influence of grace upon the heart which is reflected in our daily living as we walk even as the Son of man walked-as a mature son living from the heavenly realm.
This is borne out by Romans 5:17; For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Paul argues if death reigned absolutely through Adam’s trespass we should expect that, much more through Christ, those who receive an abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness should positively reign in this life. A free gift is a gratuity! The gratuity of Christ’s righteousness is a bestowment of unmerited favour. The grace for reigning is the divine influence upon the heart, or divine enablemnt, and it can be had in abundance. Think of it-Father has provided you a superfluity of divine influence to enable your heart to will and do of his good pleasure ensuring you the ability to walk as the overcoming Son of man walked.
Father has even made provision for falling short of this experiential victory walk. If and when we fall short, whatever the measure or cause of our falling short, there is a remedy. The writer of Hebrews states, because of Christ’s intercessory role as our High Priest, he can be touched with feelings of our human weakness because he was tempted in all points of the human experience and did not sin (Hebrews 4(15-16). He did not sin because he went before his Father’s throne of grace to find help in his time of need. The classic scriptural example of this was the Son of man’s prayerful struggle in the Garden of Gethsemanee. In concluding, the writer beseeches the Hebrew saints to come bodly before the Father’s throne of grace to obtain mercy and help in their time of need. Mercy, unmerited favor, for their failings and help, divine enablement, to overcome temptation, or to recover from failure in temptation and return to the victory walk.
The Son of man was full of grace and reigned victorious in life overcoming all things. Likewise, we also, can receive a super-abundance of grace to reign in this life overcoming all things as the sons of God walking in the earth but who live from the heavenly realm.
Dear Father, We thank you wholeheartedly for your unmerited favor that you have lavished upon us through Christ. Father we now ask in in response to your merciful grace for a super-abundance of divine influence to be upon our hearts that we might walk worthy of our Lord, being fruitful in every good work that we might, as your sons living from the heavenly realm, glorify and your only begotten Son glorified you while on earth. Amen!
Until next time-be who you are by the grace of God.