“The will of God will not take you where the grace of God cannot keep you.” I’m sure you’ve heard this Christian colloquialism and I believe it but I think we often misunderstand the entire concept of God’s grace. In the midst of my sincere belief that God gives me His grace freely and lavishly, I experience a crisis of unbelief. My crisis of unbelief doesn’t come at the point of wondering if God can do something; I have witnessed God’s grace at work in my own life and the lives of others numerous times. My crisis of unbelief comes as I consider the fact that I am so undeserving of God’s grace, especially if I’ve deliberately chosen my will instead of God’s will. Why should God repeatedly extend His grace to me when I have: messed up, been selfish, acted foolishly, or have just been plain stupid, again? But I’ve come to realize in that statement “I am so undeserving” I actually doubt the very nature of God’s grace and His ability to go beyond my undeserving state. The very essence of grace is that it is given by God to those that are undeserving and I qualify as a prime candidate.
Receiving God’s grace doesn’t mean I won’t experience the consequences of my wrong choices but it does mean that God promises a covering of His grace in the midst of my trial and the assurance that His desire is to ultimately use everything (even my mistakes, disappointments and heartaches) for His good purpose. That is a miracle! Only God could take the mess of my life and with His touch of grace, use it for His glory. The Apostle Paul speaks about this from personal experience.
But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:26-28 NIV
Jesus is the Redeemer! He can use anything for His good purpose when I give it to Him. There is no wasted failure, trial or suffering in God’s economy. His peace in the midst of the trial is the expression of His grace. I am not alone; His very Spirit lives within me and He communicates the deepest cries of my heart to my Heavenly Abba Father. I confess and repent/He forgives and pours His grace like healing water on my sin-wound. And here is the real mind-blower: God’s willingness to extend grace to His children is limitless. I just can’t seem to get my brain around that. Surely there must be a “grace quota”. Why would God be willing to repeatedly extend His grace to me over and over again? Surely there must be an end to His patience with me.
I love God’s response to the state of our humanness and our need for continual grace; He remembers that we are dust.
…the Lord is kind to all who worship Him, because He knows we are made of dust. Psalm 103:13-14 CEV
God is our Abba Father. He created us from the dust of the earth.
Then the Lord God took dust from the ground and formed a man from it. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nose, and the man became a living person. Genesis 2:7 CEV
God is not shocked or incensed by my need for continual grace. He created me with the need to receive His grace. When I invited God’s Spirit into my life and confessed my sinful, dust-like state He breathed His grace into my life as a continual supply.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT
But just like manna sent from heaven, this grace isn’t meant to be stored up. In fact it can’t be stored up and we don’t get grace in advance of our need for it. We receive grace the very moment we need it in the very measure that is required. No more, no less. It is a continual free supply that we receive because of our relationship with Christ. If we could store up God’s grace why would we need to stay connected to Him? It is our desperate need for initial grace (our salvation) that we first come to God and it is our endless need for continual grace that keeps us connected to Him. Otherwise we’d only check in with God when our “grace gauge” was on empty. The author of Hebrews expresses that even though he trusted God to save him, he still needed God’s continual grace in his struggle against sin.
For our High Priest (Jesus) is able to understand our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but He did not sin. Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it. Hebrews 4:15-16 (NCV)
And again, The Apostle Paul’s admission of his need for grace.
But He (God) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
We glorify God by allowing Him to pour His grace through our lives. People know that we all, every single human being on the face of the planet, are basically a mess. We are dust. What an incredible testimony when others see God’s miraculous grace at work in our lives. And God expresses His grace through the very thing that we try to hide; our weakness. When the strength of God’s grace is displayed through our weakness, it gives other “dusty people” hope that they too can receive God’s grace. What hope do they have for grace when they look at someone who appears to “have it all together”? Transparency keeps us real and gives God the opportunity to demonstrate His grace in our lives.
God also calls us to be dispensers of grace. I am to extend the same grace to others that I have personally received from God. They don’t deserve it but neither do I. This gets a bit “muddy” for me when God asks me to extend grace to some “dusty” person that has hurt me or gets on my very last nerve. But, if I remember that I am just the vessel and its God’s grace I’m dispensing from His limitless supply, God will pour His grace through me. I don’t have to be judge and jury, just the dispenser. Then I leave the results with God. When I refuse to extend grace it gives the “dusty” person an excuse to look at my faults instead of their own. They are God’s glorious mess, just like me. We all are “dusty people” in need of God’s limitless grace.
But God’s mercy is great, and He loved us very much. Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, He gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace. And He raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with Him in the heavens. He did this for those in Christ Jesus so that for all future time He could show the very great riches of His grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus. I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it. Ephesians 2:4-9 NCV
The gift of God’s grace is offered freely to all “dusty people”. Are you asking God to give you grace for this moment in your struggle? Does someone in your life need to experience God’s grace through you? Are you willing to be a dispenser of God’s grace even to someone who doesn’t deserve it?
May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father encourage you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us, and through His grace He gave us a good hope and encouragement that continues forever. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 2:13 NLT