When Christians think of grace it's often assumed that Grace is God's favor to us and that this favor is unmerited. But we tend to think of Grace only being leveraged when we're losing not when we're winning – Grace becomes the safety net for sin. There is more, a whole lot more!
God's Grace was so overflowing in Stephen that it gave him an uncommon power to proclaim the gospel. For Stephen, Grace was so powerfully at work in him that it cost him his life – he would say the tradeoff was worth it as many surrendered their life to Christ and the gospel spread like wildfire.
But the power to share the gospel is just one of the many ways Grace is at work in our life. Justin Holcomb, an Episcopalian professor from Knox Seminary, has assembled a comprehensive list of the ways God's Grace works in our life. Here's a look at the list:
"God’s grace grounds and empowers everything in the Christian life. Grace is the basis for:
- Our Christian identity: “By the grace of God I am what I am.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)
- Our standing before God: “this grace in which we stand.” (Romans 5:2)
- Our behavior: “We behaved in the world … by the grace of God.” (2 Corinthians 2:12)
- Our living: those who receive “the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ,”(Romans 5:17) by the “grace of life.” (1 Peter 1:7)
- Our holiness: God “called us to a holy calling … because of his own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 2:9)
- Our strength for living: “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:1) for “it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace.” (Hebrews 13:9)
- Our way of speaking: “Let your speech always be gracious.” (Colossians 4:6)
- Our serving: “serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.” (1 Peter 1:10)
- Our sufficiency: “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 2:9) “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 2:8)
- Our response to difficulty and suffering: We get “grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16) and when “you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace...will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 1:10)
- Our participation in God’s mission: As recipients of grace we are privileged to serve as agents of grace. Believers receive grace (Acts 11:23), are encouraged to continue in grace (Acts 13:43), and are called to testify to the grace of God (Acts 20:24). Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you” (John 20:21). God’s mission is to the entire world.
- Our future: God, and his grace, is everlasting. “Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)
- Our hope beyond death: “grace [reigns] through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21)
Yes, when we sin, Grace, is there to pick us up. But Grace is whole lot more. Grow in the grace of God today. I've learned that humility is the posture of receiving in the kingdom of God. Humble yourself under his hand and watch you life grow.