C.S. Lewis was asked what separates Christianity from ALL other religions. His answer: Grace.
All-encompassing, all-inclusive Grace, AMAZING Grace. “Grace, Grace, Marvelous Grace, Grace that is greater than all my sins!” We serve the GOD of ALL Grace; every kind of Grace, every variety of Grace. Did you ever stop and realize there are different kinds of grace?
“For by Grace you have been saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the Gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB
We are offered Saving Grace, the gift God offers to sinful, lost people; completely undeserved. It is not offered because of anything we can say or do, but because of His great and incomprehensible LOVE for us. Salvation is ALL Grace, totally, 100%, guaranteed with His Promise.
“…… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; …..” – Romans 3:23-24 NASB (also Romans 4:16, 11:6)
There is Suffering Grace. It is inevitable in this world that we will suffer, but it is temporary; a “little while” in light of eternity; and it is under God’s control. He uses suffering to temper us and to strengthen us, and we can bear it because He has all of eternity to make up for what we have suffered here. He will perfect us, mend us, make us whole. Remember Joel 2:25 “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust…..” and 1 Peter 5:5b “….. and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives Grace to the humble.”
Paul understood Suffering Grace, perhaps more than any of us ever will. Read 2 Corinthians 11, especially verses 21-33. All of the Apostles suffered, but they knew it was temporary.
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of Glory far beyond all comparison …..” – 2 Corinthians 4:17 NASB
“After you have suffered a little while, our God, Who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you His Eternal Glory. He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever. All Power to Him forever! Amen.” – 1 Peter 5:10-11 TLB
There is Sustaining, or Surviving Grace. This is our Eternal Glory, beyond the hurt and grind of this life. This is the Gospel of Grace – we are saved when we deserve the opposite…. and there is more to follow! All Grace is manifest in Christ. It is not, and can never be, our doing, because it was His dying on the cross that provides us with that Grace. Only the God of all Grace can see us to the end. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9, Philippians 1:6) The good news is that my past is my PAST, never to be lived again. I am Forgiven through Grace. Blessed be the LORD, The God of ALL Glory, He has an unlimited supply of forgiveness and salvation through Grace!
“But by the Grace of God I am what I am, and His Grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the Grace of God with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:10 NASB