Excerpted from Things Which Become Sound Doctrine – J. Dwight Pentecost (1965).
There is a vast difference between being a God of grace and being gracious. Grace refers to the essential character of God and tells us what kind of God He is. Graciousness or graces come to an individual because of what the One gracing is within Himself. God is, first of all, a God of grace, and from a God of grace come multitudes of graces that meet our need. We might define grace as that intrinsic quality of God’s being or essence by which He is spontaneously favorable in His disposition and actions. God is kindly disposed toward the sinner!
This is the quality of the being of our God. All that comes to us from a God of grace, comes to us because He is a God of grace. God is kindly disposed within Himself, and this kind disposition spontaneously manifests itself apart from the desert of the one upon whom this grace is showered. God is a God whose disposition is such toward a sinner that, spontaneously, mercy flows out from Him to meet man’s miseries. And because God is a God of grace, what He is causes Him to be favorable in His disposition and His works. God is a God from whom grace pours forth upon the sinner and the graces or the graciousness that come to us from God, because of what He is, are called mercies in Scripture. There is mercy for our misery.
When the apostle writes, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16), he is presenting three concepts within the word “grace.” We, first of all, come to the throne of grace; the quality of God’s being is imparted to the throne from which He rules the universe. Second, we may come with boldness unto the throne to obtain mercy and find graces to help in time of need. Third, because God is gracious, when we come to Him with our need God replies, not because of our merit, not because of the persistence with which we plead, not because of anything other than the need represented by the suppliant. Grace responds to our need.
Words of Grace for Strength
While reading this passage there are two short thoughts which can evoke the greatest of joy in believers, and should saturate the Christian with the strength that God so graciously wills for us: “God is kindly disposed toward the sinner!” and “Grace responds to our needs.” Yes, it is true that God is a God of grace, and how unbelievable that He should direct that grace toward the sinner. And in doing so, He meets our every need when we have given our lives to Him. How can such a thing be? It is only by the grace of God, it is only by a God of grace that it comes to pass in the life of each and every believer.
We who are of the true Church may struggle daily with sins, temptations, trials and suffering placed in our paths by a world set on defying God—all thrown at us by an enemy that seeks to sit on the Lord’s throne, stopping at nothing to achieve his satanic goal. Yet we have a God of grace, and He responds to our needs. We have been given the Holy Spirit as an indwelling evidence of God’s grace to us and in us. We may be sorely tempted and troubled but in Christ we can stand any and all trials. Our faith will hold strong in His grace. We will hold strong, securely in the grasp of our Lord, our God of grace. Why? Because the indwelling grace of God is active. It leads us and influences us and it causes transformation within us. The grace that results in salvation should continue to have a profound effect upon our hearts.
While eagerly looking forward to the Christ’s return we are to turn away from ungodliness. We are to turn to holiness, and we are to be obedient to the will of God. This is the result and evidence of saving grace.
Read through the gospels and you will see examples of the grace of God as Jesus patiently instructed the apostles, knowing as He did that it would take the indwelling of His Holy Spirit to embolden these men (who would desert Him at the hour of His trial and crucifixion). Yet Jesus loved them, as He loves us—unconditionally, and we have to know that in their place we would have fled just as the disciples did. Yes, we need the same measure of grace which was given to them, and by trusting in Jesus alone for our salvation, it is poured out to fill us completely.
When reading through the book of Acts, one can see the grace of God which led a small band of believers on a journey, which would cause them to turn the known world upside down with power and love through faith in Christ. What can be accomplished when one walks by the grace of God within the path of His will for our lives? Just as it happened to the ordinary men and women of the New Testament church in Acts, it can happen in our local church bodies in His remnant Church (in whatever little corner of the world you have been called to serve), by the grace of God for those who are in Christ and living in His will.
God is first and foremost a God of grace. His grace as our strength is sufficient for us and is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), as it was for Paul. And for the same reason, for God loves all His children and His grace responds, meeting our needs. His grace is sufficient and will sustain us, for His plans, purposes and timing are perfect.
God’s grace has indeed responded to our needs. In Christ we have been given grace and graces. Are they evident in your life? Are you in Christ? Examine your life, your mind, and your heart to see if there is truly evidence of change because of God’s gift of saving grace. Are you eager to live for Him? Are you willing to suffer for Him? Are you looking forward to His return? Will you receive a crown of righteousness because you “Love His appearing”? (2 Timothy 4:8)
Be ready! Get Ready! Because:
Jesus is Coming Soon!
Dr. Tuck Whitaker and Andy Coticchio
Rafter Cross Ministries