Grace. It’s a simple yet beautiful word. Grace is undeserved, unmerited favor given to us by God. It was accomplished by the death of Jesus Christ on a cross that was meant for you and me. Grace is a free gift to all who want to receive it. This is the gospel. It’s good news! 2 Timothy 2:1 says, “…be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.” So what does it mean to be strong in God’s grace?
- To be strong in God’s grace does not only mean that we trust in His power to save us, but also we can trust in that same power to help us through everyday struggles and battles. God’s grace empowers us through each and every thing we encounter.
- To be strong in God’s grace means that we no longer have to live by the law. We are no longer bound to rules and regulations. We can stand firm on Christ’s sacrifice and what He’s already done. We don’t have to do anything or perform well for God to accept us. We don’t have to add anything to His work because it’s already finished.
- To be strong in God’s grace means that we are not to pursue a sinless life but to pursue a life of holiness—and holiness is produced in us by God. This doesn’t mean that we can go around sinning intentionally so that “grace may abound.” In Romans 6, Paul says that we shouldn’t continue on in sin because when we accepted Christ, we accepted a new life. A new life of grace. But we are still wrapped in our flesh, therefore, we will still have times when we sin. Our focus should not be living a sinless, perfect life but a life that is set apart for the Kingdom of God. And the purpose of being set apart is so the world may know that He is the Lord!
- To be strong in God’s grace means that we don’t have to listen to the enemy’s lies and deception. To do this we will need to be prepared. God’s children will always be attacked by Satan, so we have to be ready. God has given us a battle plan and armor to use on a daily basis. He has given us weapons of offense to fight Satan’s deception—prayer & the Word of God. We must also protect ourselves defensively with the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, shoes of peace, and the shield of faith (Eph. 6:10-17). These are essential in fighting spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:10 says to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” God’s grace gives us power; therefore, we can be strong in His mighty grace.
- To be strong in God’s grace means we take every thought captive “to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). We don’t have to listen to every thought that comes into our minds. We examine it by God’s Word, and then we give it to Him to deal with. We can cast down every imagination and pretense that challenges the knowledge of Christ. By His grace, we can believe the truth of the Word.
- To be strong in God’s grace means that we can rest in Him. We are not meant to carry the heavy loads of life—that’s why Christ came. He takes the burdens of the weak and weary and gives rest to their souls. He can take away the heaviness of guilt and shame. He can take the burden of insecurity, pride, doubt, and unbelief. He can take the weight of our fear, anxiety, and worries. The yoke He wants to give us is easy and light. I’m not saying that we won’t go through troubles and trials because Jesus tells us in John 16:33 that we will. But when we go through them, we can have peace knowing that He is with us, leading us gently. Truly we can live a life of grace by casting all of our cares on Him (1 Pet. 5:7).
- To be strong in God’s grace means we have a new identity, and we don’t have to live believing we are not good enough for God or anyone else. Christ made us a new creature when He saved us; therefore, we are alive in Him. That means we are secure, wanted, and loved. Let me repeat that. You are secure. You are wanted. You are loved. We don’t have to keep dragging around the stench of who we used to be. Our past sins and failures are not who we are. We were adopted when we accepted Jesus—we are His. So since we are His, we don’t have to punish ourselves for the past. Does that mean we will be perfect today? No way. But by His grace, He is continuously making us a new creation.
- To be strong in God’s grace means we perform, act, and serve out of love, not out of duty. We serve from God’s grace, not for his grace. We are obedient to His Word because of what He has already done for us on the cross. We serve a God who is patient and compassionate and is constantly wooing us and calling us with His love. If He loved us when we were at our darkest and dirtiest, then He loves us even now. You are not loved because of what you do, but because of who you are.
- To be strong in God’s grace means that we extend others grace the same way God has extended grace to us. Jesus said to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37-39). If God has given us grace and mercy and if we love Him, we are to offer grace and mercy to our fellow man because we are to love them as ourselves. This is especially true with those closest to you. They will fail us many times, but we are to extend them grace constantly just as the Lord does for us.
- To be strong in God’s grace means that we recognize that we are sinners and live in a fleshly, carnal body. We realize that we will fail, stumble, and fall at times. But we don’t have to stay in our failures and sins—our guilt and shame. To be strong in God’s grace, we realize what we’ve done, agree with the Father about our failures, repent and turn from them, and keep walking and following Him. We don’t have to keep rolling around and condemning ourselves for what we’ve done. That’s what Satan wants you to do. He wants us to beat ourselves up about what we’ve done every single day so he can make us useless for the Kingdom of God. No, we do not condemn ourselves because Christ does not condemn us (Rom. 8:1). Christ has forgiven our sins as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12). His grace compels us to keep going and to hold His hand along the way. Accept God’s grace, and give yourself grace.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul says that God’s grace is sufficient—His power is “made perfect in weakness.” This says to me that we are weak and the only strength and power we can live by is God’s grace. His grace strengthens, perfects, and empowers us. So when Paul says in 2 Timothy, “Be strong in the grace of Jesus Christ,” we can be sure that He is our strength. I am not strong because of me; I am strong because of Him. In our weakness, HE is strong. That takes the burden off of us to perform to be right with him. That’s why I love His grace. I believe, and He does the work.
A final word: Be strong in God’s grace!