“…and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33b).
I hope you can look back on seasons or situations in your life and say with me, “That was great grace.” In other words, when we should’ve been buried under the grief, or the pressure to make a hard decision, or persecution for following our convictions, but we weren’t— instead, God’s peace held us in the middle of the storm and turned a trial into a triumph.
This is great grace.
By definition, the Greek describes grace a few ways: as a favor done for someone without any expectation of getting something in return; which is why grace is given by God and received by man. Many simply call it unmerited favor.
Another definition that piggy-backs this one is the reality that when grace is received by faith, it completely transforms a person and causes them to love God (in return, because of course He loved us first).
The point is that grace is help in time of need. It’s something we can’t conjure up on our own — it’s divine help. So now add the word “great” and what do we have? It’s not hard to define great — it means of larger magnitude, number, size, or amount.
Therefore great grace is the superabundant supply of God’s help in time of need.
Ten years ago this month, our family experienced great grace — to the degree that after all these years, I still shake my head and say, “Thank you Jesus for the help and love you showed us.”
Our oldest son Benjamin had just finished his first year of Bible college and had come home for a short visit for Father’s Day. The two brothers he had traveled with left a day early to return to Oklahoma while he spent some extra time with us and waited to travel back with a new roommate who was going to move in with them. On Monday morning, they piled into the loaded down pick-up and took off. But about six hours into their trip, we received a phone call that their truck had slid off the road and grazed a guardrail that freakishly caused the gas tank to pop open and ignite their truck on fire as it flipped through the air and landed in the ditch.
Benjamin was trapped upside-down in his seatbelt while the driver courageously crawled out his broken window and tried to rescue him. Benjamin later said he remembered being in his seatbelt but he doesn’t remember unbuckling it. He remembers being in the burning truck but doesn’t remember how he got out. The driver was only able to drag him to safety once he was out because of the extreme heat coming off the vehicle.
The deputy that came to visit us at the hospital said he’s never found survivors of an accident like this one.
When we arrived at the hospital (experiencing more grace on that long drive), we were told our son had a 50/50 chance to live because of the amount of his burns and the damage to his lungs. Thankfully, we didn’t have to scramble to find God’s Word on healing. We got a list of scriptures together and during the short ICU visits we were allowed with him, we read God’s Word out-loud over our son as he lay unconscious on a ventilator before us.
It was hard to leave him every night as we went across the street to our hotel. But we were walking in great grace.
When Benjamin woke up 17 days later, his first words were: “Am I going to live?” And “Will I play the drums again?” By faith, we answered YES to both, because with great grace comes increased faith — a trust that all things are possible with God!
Benjamin had six skin graft surgeries and a tracheotomy during his eight weeks in the hospital. But today, his scars are almost non-existent. If you look for them, you’ll see them. But his life is a testimony of God’s goodness and great grace. He has since finished Bible school, got married, had two children, and impacted many lives as a youth pastor, camp director, and now as an associate pastor.
I asked him recently, “Can you believe it’s been 10 years?” He replied, “Haha, I hardly think about it.’
That is also great grace.
Grace is one of God’s most amazing gifts. It provides us with everything we need to live in perfect freedom: pardon for our sins, healing for our heart, the companionship of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, and access to freely cultivate our relationship with Him. We work, worship, and enjoy life, surrounded by His unconditional love. His grace upholds us, fills us, and sustains us.
Since we are forgiven people, the Lord responds to us not as enemies but as His dearly loved children (Rom. 8:15; Eph. 5:1). He hears our prayers, speaks to us, and acts on our behalf. The knowledge that we live under the covering of God’s grace gives us…
Security about our position. No one can snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28).
Boldness to live for Christ. Our adequacy comes from the Lord and who we are in Him, so we can live in confidence.
Peace for today because we can fully trust in His sovereignty. The Lord is carrying out His perfect will—and we can be sure that nothing is able to thwart His plan. When we cooperate with Him, we cannot fail.
Hope for the future. This life is just the beginning. One day we will see Jesus face to face, be perfected as the individuals He created us to be, and live with Him in our true home forever.
The Lord is committed to transforming each of us according to His special plan for our lives. Even His correction is an expression of His loving favor (Heb. 12:10). When we falter or fail, we can rest assured that His amazing grace hems us in and always offers us redemption.
God’s Grace Brings Purpose
Grace is a gift most of us don’t know how to receive. We’ve been so inundated with the earthly systems of give-and-get and work-and-earn that grace is a concept few ever fully grasp. Yet it’s grace alone that has the power to transform lives. Grace alone has the power to bring freedom to the captives. By grace alone we are saved. There could be no better use of our time than consistently and passionately pursuing a greater revelation of God’s grace.
Scripture:“[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” 2 Timothy 1:9
One of the greatest gifts we’ve been given by God is purpose. From the time of Adam, God has always made clear the purposes we were created for. In Genesis 1:28 God says, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Throughout time our purposes have changed, but God has made it clear that we all are to have lives that are valuable and effective. Have you lived days where you’re simply going through the motions? Have you had days where you feel as if what you do doesn’t matter? Those days in my life are my absolute worst. I would rather go through trial and persecution with purpose than live a meaningless day. It’s in purpose we find satisfaction. In purpose we find out our lives matter. And in purpose we discover the reason we were created.
2 Timothy 1:9 says, “[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” Because of God’s grace and purpose we have been called to a life of wonderful and satisfying works. The Bible teaches us a truth in opposition to the teachings of the world. The world says to work enough to live a life of comfort and ease. Work is done for the purpose of relaxation and comfort. God says that we are created for a life of eternal value in which everything we do is to have purpose higher than our own comfort and relaxation.God has placed value and worth on your life to an extent you have yet to discover. He has a plan and purpose for your life that he’s assigned to no one else. Your life is meant to make an eternal impact for his kingdom which will reign for all time. But in his grace he has also given you control of your own life. You can choose to live your life according to his purposes or your own. And you can choose to pursue comfort and meaningless relaxation or a life of true rest and satisfaction that comes only from living entirely for God. My hope is that in looking at two purposes God has for your life, you will choose to live your life completely with and for your heavenly Father. And in doing so, you will discover the incredible joy and passion the Spirit longs to birth in you.
The first purpose for which you were created is relationship with God. Jesus says in Mark 12:30, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The Westminster Shorter Catechism says it this way: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”Loving God is your highest calling, and in loving God you will experience the fullest joy and satisfaction available. When you stand before God in judgment, he will not look for possessions, promotions, or social status, but rather at the fervor with which you loved him. You will be rewarded for acts of love, not self-seeking glorification. And this chief purpose of loving God is the only path to the abundant life he has in store for you here.
The second purpose for which you were created is loving others in response to your love for God. Mark 12:31 says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Acts 26:16 says,“But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you.” We are called to love others out of the amazing love we’ve been shown. As our hearts are filled with love for God through encountering him in the secret place, we will be filled with a longing to see his desires for others around us come to fruition. God’s greatest longing is for relationship with his crown of creation, and he wants to use us to guide others to himself. In loving others we will discover the incredible satisfaction of seeing the lost and hurting be found and healed. Incredible passion and joy comes from seeing a life transformed through the Spirit working in us.
How incredible is the grace of our God that his purposes would be entirely rooted in love. We are called to simply love him and others with the very love we’ve been shown. He’s like a father who gives his children money to buy him a present. He fills us with the love and enjoyment he feels for us, and then in response we can love him and others. He fills you with the breath of life and then patiently waits for you to live your life as a beautiful song of worship to him. May you experience today all that God’s grace has afforded you. May you choose to live your life with purpose and passion that only comes from loving him and others.