The wonders of God’s grace
Charles Ryrie defines grace as “God giving the greatest treasure to the least deserving—which is every one of us” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Though grace is an “undeserved favour” granted to man, yet it is also God’s ability and influence working in us to do His will (1 Cor.15: 10; 2 Cor.12: 9-10). Grace is also our teacher that instructs us the way to live holy and righteous lives (Titus 2:11-14). In this regard, John Piper’s words are appropriate. He said, “Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.” This debunks the hyper-grace theology, which encourages sin due to the presumed leniency which grace provides.
Jesus is the embodiment and source of all grace. John 1:16-17 reads, “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” But as Paul said, though He was rich, Christ voluntarily became poor, so that we may be made rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). This is the wonder of His grace.
Charles Ryrie makes this beautiful distinction between mercy and grace, “God shows both mercy and grace, but they are not the same. Mercy withholds a punishment we deserve; grace gives a blessing we don’t deserve. …In mercy, God chose to cancel our sin debt by sacrificing His perfect Son in our place (Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21). But he goes even further than mercy and extends grace to his enemies (Romans 5:10). He offers us forgiveness (Hebrew 8:12; Ephesians 1:7), reconciliation (Colossians 1:19-20), abundant life (John 10:10), eternal treasure (Luke 12:33), His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), and a place in heaven with Him someday (John 3:16-18) when we accept His offer and place our faith in His sacrifice.”
John, Peter and Paul increased our knowledge about grace. However, Jesus exemplified mercy and grace in His teachings and relationships.
The woman who was caught in adultery experienced mercy (John 8).
She deserved punishment but got a pardon from Christ. This is an example of mercy.
On the other hand, the man who was born blind, whose account is found in John chapter 9 exemplifies grace. When asked by His disciples who sinned, the man or his parents, Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but it was so that the works of God might be displayed and illustrated in him” (John 9:3 AMP).
Note the following facts about this man. First, he did not approach Jesus; it was Jesus that approached him. Second, he did not ask to be healed by Jesus. Jesus simply spat on the ground and touched his eyes, and said, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (verse 6). Third, he had no prior knowledge of Jesus, nor did he confess any faith in Jesus Christ before he was healed (verse 11). Five, he got to know who Jesus was only after he was healed (John 9:35-38). This is what grace means. Christ found us; we did not find Him.
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