God’s free expression of His loving kindness is shown us when the Holy Spirit imparts unique gifts to each one of us…not for our benefit, but to edify others. These spiritual gifts follow closely along the lines of our character and personality…the distinctive things that make us who we are. The Holy Spirit gives varies gifts to different people according to His divine plan and purpose in their lives. We all have different gift combinations, but they all are given us that we may serve others.
We can’t begin to fathom God’s great compassion towards us. For we are separated from Him by our sin… spiritually dead…with no hope. But God saw us through eyes of unconditional love…looking beyond who we were, to who we could become in Christ Jesus. This gift of grace is extended to all…for it says, “it is by grace you have been saved.” The work has already been done, it was accomplished on Golgotha when Jesus was crucified. There is nothing we can do to receive it, for it is God’s unearned and unmerited favor that bestows this free gift of eternal life on us. We may never be able to fathom God’s mercy, but we can accept and trust in His Son, Jesus.
With over 30 years under my belt as a Christian…it’s only with sincere thankfulness and gratitude I can proclaim that it’s only by the grace of God I am what I am today. For it’s only by God’s unearned and unmerited favor that I have been changed…justified freely by His grace through the redemption that comes through Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24) And I strive daily to show Him that the grace He lavished on me was not futile or a waste of time…for this grace God showed me – I need to be passing on freely to others.
Do you know where you’ll go when you die? If you’re a Believer, do you have the trust to confidently state, “Yes, I’m going to heaven.” Or do you stand there today just hoping you’ll make it? This verse should then refute that gnawing uncertainty in your mind once and for all. For when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we are reconciled and placed in right standing with God. And the peace brought about by this reconciliation to our Heavenly Father overshadows any doubt or fear our minds may have. So stand now in faith and righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord and be assured of your eternal life.
The Apostle Paul was given a thorn in his flesh…some chronic, painful condition that plagued him continually. And even though he had prayed three times for the Lord to take it – it remained. This was the same Paul who preformed extraordinary miracles, (Acts 19:11)…cast out evil spirits, (Acts 16:18)…and raised people from the dead, (Acts 20:10). But the prayers of his own healing went unanswered. Now many of us would react very badly if we had a great Ministry but were unable to be healed personally of some very visible disease. But Paul didn’t allow it to make him bitter, or doubt his worth. Rather, he looked at it from the viewpoint of his dependence on the Lord and his need for humility. For he writes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength.” Paul gained his strength through his weakness…for God in His infinite wisdom gave Paul what he needed, not what he wanted.
You can’t have it both ways. When you say “Yes” to Jesus, the broken relationship between God and you is restored. But that doesn’t mean you can manipulate His unearned and unmerited favor to your advantage. That’s what we’d call cheap grace. It’s an attitude of entitlement and presumption that you’d rather beg forgiveness than ask permission.
There’s no way around it…we all need to be around fellow Believers. There’s nothing like being with like-minded Christians…sharing, listening, and bearing each others burdens in prayer. All of us need encouragement and our faith strengthened by interacting with other Believers…we all need to hear how God is moving in other’s lives. As it says in Proverbs 27:17, ” As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Think of it…something the Lord has brought you through is exactly what someone needs to hear today.