To be a person of grace, we really need to understand what grace is. Unfortunately we’ve heard the word grace and its definitions so many times that we’re almost immune to it.
You’ve probably heard the acronym for grace: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. The story of grace is this: Grace starts with God, and all of His riches, which are in Christ. In His love He has chosen to freely give these riches out to a group of people called the Church. In selecting those who would make up this group who would receive His inexhaustible riches, God did not consider their worthiness or merit. In fact, as far as merit is concerned, none of them have any.
All have been judged thoroughly in God’s eyes as useless.
Not a single one of them was good.
Not a single was righteous.
Not a single one purely sought out God.
This is true of every single one of them without exception – all have sinned and have utterly fallen far short of the glory of God. This is clearly spelled out in Romans 3.
And yet, God in his great love has chosen that through faith in Christ, all who believe in Him will be saved, not only from penalty of sin, but also into sonship and coheirship with Christ, to receive all of the inexhaustible, unsearchable riches of God Himself, in a display of kindness that would go on throughout the ages without end (Eph 2:8).
The Result / Gift of Grace – having already accomplished for us in Christ everything we are tempted to strive for according to works!
As a result of God’s grace, every single believer in Christ is guaranteed the eternal, incorruptible inheritance, without exception and with no regard to their performance. They have all been “qualified to partake of the inheritance with the saints in light” and they have all been transferred out of the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of the Son of His Love. They are now sons and heirs, and they are positioned in Christ in the heavenlies – seated with Him, far above all rule and authority and every name that is named in this age and in the one to come, and they have all been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
The blessing, treasure and destiny we received when we believed in Christ is unmeasurable, and our hearts can barely take it in. For this reason Paul prayed that we would be strengthened into our inner man by the Spirit according to the riches of God’s own glory so that we would be strong to be able to apprehend the immeasurable dimensions of God’s love towards us in Christ.
Again, this is not based on anything in ourselves, not based on anything we can do. It comes to us in Christ, and when we believe we were joined to Christ. God’s riches are entirely at Christ’s expense toward us – He paid the price on the cross. All of God’s riches – Everything He is, is in Christ. Furthermore, all of God’s blessing and everything He intends toward us is centered in Christ. And now Christ has become ours through His work on the cross. In resurrection, He comes to us – having given Himself fully to us without reservation.
In this sense, everything God will ever do for us He has already done in Christ. Every good thing that is ours is just an outworking of what He’s already done. We are not here trying to get God to do something for us, or hoping that He will do something for us. He’s already done it, and we’re here discovering (through the word and in our experience) the contents of what has already given to us in Christ.
In Grace, we’re here thanking Him for what He’s done, not trying to get Him to do something He hasn’t! We are far too short of knowledge of the price He paid, as well as the details of what He has in store for us, “things which eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, nor have entered into the hearts of those whom love Him.” And yet, Paul disclosed all of these things in his writings. We will never really be grace people if we are not acquainted with the riches of Christ. If we have a superficial knowledge of salvation, as in “I”ll get to go to heaven when I die”, we’ll never stagger – drunk with the realization of grace.
An automatic response to grace is thanksgiving. Seeing the truths in God’s word and believing them regarding what He has done in Christ and how He is operating to accomplish His benevolent purpose for us (which Paul graciously calls the “good pleasure of His will” in Eph 1:5), spontaneously produces thanksgiving. All I can say is “amen.” I’m struck and I’m silenced by a vision, and because my vision is high, I see that there is really nothing I can do. I realize that I am just blessed.
Freedom from manipulation by men: You can come tell me that I’ll be more blessed if I do “xyz”, but I’ll respond with Paul, “I won’t let anyone rob me of my crown or take me captive…I’m complete in Christ!” A grace person eventually cannot be manipulated by fear of punishment or hope of meriting something, because he realizes the truth that he already has EVERYTHING in Christ.
In grace, everything has already been given to him in Christ – His calling, his regeneration and sonship, his sanctification and growth, his future glorification and full inheritance – it is all secure and cannot be undone. The moment he believes in Christ he becomes heir, whether he knows it or not. This is seen from the word with the eyes of faith, regardless of what our circumstances or other people say. So this is why Hebrews talks about the “Rest of faith”. Hebrews 4 shows us that there is a rest for us to enter into, a rest of faith, of ceasing from our own works, because all of the works were finished from the foudnation of the world. There is a rest that faith produces that calms us down and subdues us and makes us realize – we’re not here trying to merit something that hasn’t been given to us, we’re here rejoicing because it’s already ours! As one great writer, Robert Capon said, the saved were home before they even started! Paul said in Colossians that we are “complete in Christ”.