When We Need It (3)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2.8, 9
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2.11-14
… how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation… Hebrews 2.3
Saved by grace
Apart from the grace of God, we would not exist. This form of God’s grace – this divine disposition of favor, love, compassion, kindness, and goodness – is the remarkable possession of every person, every creature, and every thing in the vast cosmos. Everything needs grace simply to be, and we can increase in that abounding grace as we acknowledge, appreciate, and celebrate God’s grace in all our waking moments.
To be saved from sin and condemnation, we need more than the common grace of God. We need special grace, saving grace, grace that comes with holy spiritual power to renew us in all the ways we discussed earlier in our study. When God communicates this grace to someone – irresistible grace: ask Saul of Tarsus – we are helpless to do anything other than to resign ourselves to His unfathomable love, and be swept up into the arms of our Savior and seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph. 2.6).
Nothing you or I or anyone could do would make us worthy of such grace. Not even believing the Gospel. By the time someone confesses faith in Jesus Christ, the initial work of saving grace has already been accomplished. Faith, and confessing faith, are the result of saving grace, not the means of it.
Paul said that his experience of the grace of God set the pattern for all who should believe after him ( 1 Tim. 1.12-17). He was not seeking the Lord. He was an angry, proud, violent man, doing his religious duty to impress his peers and superiors, and he didn’t care who got caught up in his sinister web. He hated the Name of Jesus. He was self-righteous, self-reliant, and self-serving – and so is every person who has not come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
And yet, “the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” for the apostle Paul (1 Tim. 1.14). You can say that again. The transforming power of God’s saving grace was so complete and stunning, that it took even the most seasoned believers off guard, gave them pause, filled them with wonder, and only after Barnabas intervened, led them to praise and honor God for His saving grace (Acts 9.26-30).
We were all like Saul of Tarsus before God communicated His special and saving grace to us in Jesus Christ.
Salvation greater than we know
We need to be clear about this new condition into which we have been ushered by the saving grace of God. God has not merely saved our soul, granting us forgiveness and securing a place for us in heaven. Yes, He has done that, but the salvation that has come to us by grace is far greater than that. We are the recipients of so great a salvation that it leaves nothing in our lives, and nothing throughout the vast cosmos God loves, untouched by the power of His grace.
What makes our salvation so great is that it enfolds, encompasses, empowers, and transforms everything about us, all the small and seemingly insignificant aspects and details of our lives. All our thoughts are subsumed into the mind of Christ, so that we begin to see the world, think about things, plan and operate according to the patterns of thought we see exhibited in the incarnate Christ of the gospels (1 Cor. 2.16; 2 Cor. 10.3-5). All our affections are transformed, so the things we formerly loved and cherished now seem unimportant in the light of the knowledge of Christ, His Kingdom, and His glory. Our priorities are turned rightside-up, so that seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness dominates every moment, activity, word, and deed of our lives.
By grace, God’s great salvation is making all things new in our lives. Nothing remains the same. Suddenly every single aspect of our lives, every task, all our time and responsibilities, every word and deed – all of it – becomes invested with power and significance as a means for showing the grace of God to the watching world. Peter exhorts us to grow in such grace (2 Pet. 3.18), so that we will know the power of grace operating in every situation, and marvel at the willingness and ability of God to adorn the Gospel with good works through silly people such as we.
By our great salvation, we have become charged with the lightning power of God to ignite salvation in others, and to make all things new, whatever we may be doing (1 Cor. 10.31).
Grace unto greater salvation
It is to such a great salvation that we aspire. Think of the wonder and joy of it! Every word conveying grace and edification (Col. 4.6; Eph. 4.29). Every gesture one of sympathy, compassion, assistance, and love. Every choice a match struck for the glory of God. Every work a work that restores a measure of that pristine goodness that filled the cosmos in the days before our first parents fell into sin (Gen. 1.31).
To want this great salvation, and to make progress in it, we need grace. Only by the power of grace can we know the increasing reality of Jesus increasing in us, and us being His witnesses in the world. We need grace, and the way to get grace is to seek it in the throne room of God in prayer.
Pray about your salvation. Give thanks that God has saved you, and that He has so great a salvation, waiting to be known and enjoyed, and so many good works of grace and truth to shine into the dark world through you. Ask boldly for grace each day, to go beyond where you have ever been in your salvation before. To know more of Jesus, to see Him more consistently and clearly, to desire His Kingdom, to bear gracious witness to His resurrection, and to show His self-denying and sacrificial love to everyone around you. Make it your goal to increase in our great salvation every moment of every day, become a new person more and more, over and over, in every situation.
Pray this way, and eagerly seek the grace of God for salvation, and you will be amazed to the point of giddiness to see how God will respond.
1. As Christians, we say that we are saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved one day. Explain.
2. How does grace operate to help us grow in our great salvation?
3. What are some things that would allow you to see more of the grace of God at work in your life?
Next Steps – Transformation: Make praying for a greater measure of salvation a part of your daily prayers. At the end of the day, think back over any ways you have seen God answer that prayer, and give Him thanks and praise.
Grace flows from our relationship with Jesus Christ. The better we know Him, the more His grace will do its work in us. Our book, To Know Him, can help you in drawing closer to Jesus and increasing in Him. Order your copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Grace for Salvation
- T.M. Moore
- October 14, 2019
Our salvation is so great, that we need grace for every phase of it.
When We Need It (3)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.