God’s Covenant of Grace
Grace has been largely misunderstood by the bulk of Christianity.
The usual definition goes something like this: “Grace is God’s
unmerited favor.” But that’s not God’s covenant of grace with us at
all. The grace of God is designed to create in us, not simply show
mercy. Paul made the statement, “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.” The
will of God was created in Paul and through Paul by the means of
grace. The grace of God in Paul’s life produced something.
What we have to understand is that God’s grace is given that we might attain to the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:7-16). Grace should be defined as divine enablement! He enables us to become what we could never attain through our own efforts. This is why what we are in our flesh nature is not a hindrance to becoming. His grace releases us from the requirements of the law and renders it invalid in its claims upon our lives. It is His grace that enables us to see the Adamic nature crucified. We are free to be all that God has purposed for us!
God has made a covenant with us in Christ. But every covenant requires the participation of all concerned. We have a responsibility, like Paul, to see that God’s covenant with us does not prove vain.
2st Pet. 1:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Notice how the above passages begin with, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you…” God has made provision for us. Grace is the divine enablement to walk in that provision. God has nothing less than our perfection in mind. We are called that we might be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). Being conformed to His image means bearing His nature, as Peter spoke of in the previous Scripture passage. Paul also writes, “That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless (Eph. 5:25-27).”
Why is there such a gap between God’s expectations for His people and what is seen in the Christian world? Eph. 2:8 is the answer: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Grace through faith is the key. All of God’s provision for us lies dormant until we begin to exercise faith to experience it. Faith working through divine enablement is what brings us into the fulfillment of all God’s provision for us. Grace should be considered an action word, not a passive acceptance of mercy. Because God has provided everything we need to be conformed to the image of His son, we have the responsibility to appropriate it through faith. Our faith will be continually energized by divine enablement to attain God’s perfect will for our lives if we step out and believe. “I can’t do it, or change myself” no longer has validity when we understand the grace of God. Of course we can’t do it, but God’s grace (divine enablement) makes a way for the completion of God’s provision in us. If we don’t go on to walk in all He has provided for us, then the grace of God proves vain in our lives. God has provided the means, but it’s our responsibility to make it happen.
Let’s appropriate the grace of God to reach our fullest potential in Christ! Let’s be divinely enabled!