God’s grace didn’t get us going then leave us to get by on our works. Grace didn’t just justify us in the past, it sustains us in the present and will deliver us in the future.
Behavior modification that’s not empowered by God’s heart-changing grace is self-righteousness, as repugnant to God as the worst sins people gossip about.
A home full of grace is also full of truth, because grace doesn’t make people less holy – it makes them more holy. Grace doesn’t make people despise or neglect truth – it makes them love and follow truth. Grace isn’t a free pass to sin – it’s a supernatural empowerment not to sin (Titus 3:5). By failing to address sin in each other’s lives we send an unspoken message: I’ll overlook your sin if you overlook mine. Grace raises the bar – but it also enables us to joyfully jump over that bar. Any concept of grace that leaves us – or our children – thinking truth is expendable, is not biblical grace.
Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable about sinning is not biblical grace. God’s grace never encourages us to live in sin; on the contrary, it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to truth.
Give me the grace [O Lord] to do as You command, and command me to do what You will!… O holy God…when Your commands are obeyed, it is from You that we receive the power to obey them.
Nothing whatever pertaining to godliness and real holiness can be accomplished without grace.
For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.
Sanctification is a work of the Triune God, but is ascribed more particularly to the Holy Spirit in Scripture… Though man is privileged to cooperate with the Spirit of God, he can do this only in virtue of the strength which the Spirit imparts to him from day to day. The spiritual development of man is not a human achievement but a work of divine grace. Man deserves no credit whatsoever for that which he contributes to it instrumentally.
Before we can learn the sufficiency of God’s grace, we must learn the insufficiency of ourselves. The more we see our sinfulness, the more we appreciate grace in its basic meaning of God’s undeserved favor. In a similar manner, the more we see our frailty, weakness, and dependence, the more we appreciate God’s grace in its dimension of His divine assistance. Just as grace shines more brilliantly against the dark background of our sin, so it also shines more brilliantly against the background of our human weakness.
One great paradox of the Christian life is that we are fully responsible for our Christian growth and at the same time fully dependent upon the Holy Spirit to give us both the desire to grow and the ability to do it. God’s grace does not negate the need for responsible action on our part, but rather makes it possible.
We should therefore learn that the only good we have is what the Lord has given us gratuitously; that the only good we do is what He does in us; that it is not that we do nothing ourselves, but that we act only when we have been acted upon, in other words under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit.
Resting on God’s grace does not relieve us of our holy obligations; rather it should enable us to fulfill them.
In efficacious grace we are not merely passive, nor yet does God do some and we do the rest. But God does all, and we do all. God produces all, we act all. For that is what produces, viz. our own acts. God is the only proper author and fountain; we only are the proper actors. We are in different respects, wholly passive and wholly active.
The greatest expression of God’s grace in a person’s life is not its demonstration toward others, but its response to God and His cause.
There is a glorious sequel to saving, justifying grace. The grace that justifies (declaring us holy in God’s sight) becomes the grace that sanctifies (making us ever more holy in daily life). It is a prevailing, unstoppable grace that doesn’t close up shop the day after the sinner’s prayer. It’s the power of God to help us overcome sin, and a potent weapon in the fierce struggles that accompany life after the honeymoon of conversion. Conversion, like a wedding, is hardly the end of the story – it’s just the beginning.
Grace does not grant permission to live in the flesh; it supplies power to live in the Spirit.
The grace of Christ is not an excuse for weakness; He is an endless resource for strength.
Jesus loved the enthusiast, the man who knew what side he was on and threw himself whole-heartedly into the struggle. He liked energetic action, as in the men who climbed the roof and broke a way through for their paralyzed friend, or in Zacchaeus who forgot his dignity and swarmed up a tree. He loved the generous giver. All four Gospels quote His saying, “He who loves life loses it; he who spends keeps.” It sums up His attitude to life. He praised the man who banged on the door till he got an answer; He wanted men to show that kind of determination in the affairs of religion. He praised the widow who badgered the unjust judge into doing justice. He did not like playing for safety or burying one’s talent. It is the peace-makers rather than the peace-keepers whom He blesses. Goodness is a positive active loyalty (Hugh Martin).
Let us consider what regard we ought to have to our own duty and to the grace of God. Some would separate these things as inconsistent. If holiness be our duty, they would say, there is no room for grace; and if it be the result of grace there is no place for duty. But our duty and God’s grace are nowhere opposed in the matter of sanctification; for one absolutely supposes the other. We cannot perform our duty without the grace of God; nor does God give His grace for any other purpose than that we may perform our duty!
Yet the duties God requires of us are not in proportion to the strength we possess in ourselves. Rather, they are proportional to the resources available to us in Christ. We do not have the ability in ourselves to accomplish the least of God’s tasks. This is a law of grace. When we recognize it is impossible to perform a duty in our own strength, we will discover the secret of its accomplishment. But alas, this is a secret we often fail to discover.
Just as our justification is from God, so our sanctification is from God, but unlike our justification, which is monergistic work, in sanctification God calls us to work together with Him to mature as Christians. As Christians we can never say to God: “The reason I still sin, or the reason I am not maturing as quickly as I would like, is because you have not given me enough grace.”
One measure of the greatness of a man is not only that he practices what he preaches, but also that he doesn’t consider himself above the ordinary means of grace that all Christians need.
If there is any point on which God’s holiest saints agree it is this: that they see more, and know more, and feel more, and do more, and repent more, and believe more, as they get on in spiritual life, and in proportion to the closeness of their walk with God. In short, they “grow in grace,” as St. Peter exhorts believers to do; and “abound more and more,” according to the words of St. Paul (2 Pet. 3:18; 1 Thes. 4:1).
Regardless the depth of one’s pain, God promises His grace is always sufficient to meet the need to continue a Christian life of joy, peace, hope, service, contentment, faith and worship despite the circumstances being unchanged.
If you want God’s empowering grace you must have a humble heart. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6). First this means that you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, and second it means that you admit you have room to grow and need God’s strength, His help to succeed. Run to God for that grace to battle sin and not away from Him in your sin.
For the Christian, it’s all about understanding God’s amazing grace and then responding with an eternal attitude of gratitude. It’s God’s grace that motivates us and it’s God’s grace that empowers us to obey Him – obedience not to earn His grace, but obedience that flows from His grace and demonstrates His grace to ourselves and others.
You see, doing good in dependence on God does just the opposite of paying Him back. All Christian labor for Him is a gift from Him. Good deeds when done as a pure act of His grace do not pay back grace, but borrow more grace from Him. Without God’s grace we would not and could not serve Him. Therefore, even our service does not put Him in debt to us, but rather puts us deeper in debt to His grace. And that is where God wants us to be throughout eternity.
Some will say we need to add “good works” to Christ’s work to be saved. Others will say since we are saved by God’s grace and because all of our sins are already forgiven in Christ we can live as we wish. So, the first says following God’s law is necessary to be saved. The other says following God’s law is unnecessary once saved. Both are terribly wrong! We are saved by grace alone, but the grace that saves is never alone. God’s grace will always give us the desire and ability to follow God. The greatest evidence that we are recipients of God’s grace will be seen through our obedience – not to get saved or stay saved, but proof that we truly are already saved.
If you want God’s empowering grace you must have a humble heart. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6). First, this means that you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, and second it means that you admit you have room to grow and need God’s strength, His help to succeed. Run to God for that grace to battle sin and not away from Him in your sin.
Sin is powerful, even for those who have been reborn. Grace, however, is more powerful still. This is a true and trustworthy saying, that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of which I am the chief (I Timothy 1:15). To diminish the power of grace is to diminish the scope of our own sin. Jesus, after all, didn’t come to save the polite, well-behaved people. He came to save His own, and gave them first repentant hearts.
If grace does not make us differ from other men, it is not the grace which God gives His elect.
In respect to justification, grace stands opposed to works (Rom. 4:4-5; 11:6). However, in respect to sanctification, grace is the source of works. This simply means that whereas we are saved by grace and not of works, we are saved by grace unto good works. Good works are the fruit, not the root, of God’s saving grace (see esp. Eph. 2:8 -10).
Grace is not only the divine act by which God initiates our spiritual life, but also the very power by which we are sustained in, nourished, and proceeds through that life. The energizing and sanctifying work of the indwelling Spirit is the grace of God. After Paul had prayed three times for God to deliver him from his thorn in the flesh, he received this answer: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9). Although Paul undoubtedly derived encouragement and strength to face his daily trials by reflecting on the magnificence of God’s unmerited favor, in this text he appears to speak rather of an experiential reality of a more dynamic nature. It is the operative power of the indwelling Spirit to which Paul refers. That is the grace of God.
God’s grace doesn’t transform the situation, it transforms our perspective of the situation.
Where the will of God leads you, the grace of God will keep you.
It takes more grace than I can tell to play the second fiddle well.