A name, a title, a quality, a prayer, a gift; grace has many meanings. In many relationships, it makes things work and keep working.
Grace is a prominent theme in scripture. It particularly stands out in the ministry of Jesus and the writings of the apostles. John reported that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ and that he is full of grace and truth. He manifested this in his ministry, both to individuals and to multitudes.
I noticed that grace is in the last verse of the whole Bible, where John wrote Revelation 22:21, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” I wondered how many other books in the New Testament ended with a word about grace. In total, 17 books or letters closed with grace. Then I looked to see how many books opened with a greeting of grace. Sixteen books included grace in the opening verses. Grace is important both in the beginning and ending.
Grace is the gift of God that produces, enhances, and develops salvation. God’s grace has potential to change a person’s life in a powerful way. The well-known song says it is “Amazing Grace.”
Grace is not a one and done experience with God. It is the initial gift and goodness of salvation and a teacher in how to live the born again life.
Titus 3:12 gives instructions on what should be denied as well as how to live. This comes directly after the victorious declaration of God’s grace bringing salvation in verse 11.
In living according to God’s grace, there is both addition and subtraction for a successful spiritual life. We add the bountiful blessings of God in our lives, who is always ready to add “much more.” At the same time, subtraction of harmful, addictive behaviors that hinder and hurt a spiritual walk with God must be enacted. In the Common English Bible version of Hebrews 12:1, advice is given to “throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up.” In this way we gain the full benefits of God’s grace. It’s good to avoid the danger of turning grace into something else as warned in Jude 4.
Physically, being graceful means someone can move about without stumbling or falling. This is a good parallel for a believer to move forward in a victorious spiritual life by grace. This is more easily done without a lot of weights and entanglements of sin.
One of my favorite verses including grace is 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” This divine ability is what grace is about. The abundance of grace is what works in our favor. “All grace” and “all sufficiency in all things” is an amazing promise. The verse emphatically says it is for you.
Just as the last verse of the Bible says grace is available to all, let’s let grace have the last word in our experiences and our lives. Amen means “surely” and “So be it.”
Mitch Glover is pastor of Sterling Pentecostal Church. Sunday services include Bible classes for all ages at 10 a.m. and worship service at 11 a.m. Bible study is Thursday at 7 p.m. Visit sterlingpentecostalchurch.com.