Grace - Section 2

  1. God's grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.  God's purposes and plan existed before creation, intended in Jesus Christ.  We cannot limit what God has done or the extremity of his grace just because we don't understand how it works.  How can we comprehend it or condense it to a system we can quantify and classify?  We must accept with gratitude what Paul declared, keeping in mind that God's grace is undeserved.  God's grace, though eternally purposed, has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus.  The appearing of Christ Jesus is the manifestation of God in the flesh (John 1:14).  This incarnation of grace has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  We can see that death has not been obliterated, but for the Christian it has been rendered impotent.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 1:9-10 pg. 268-269. 
  2. Grace. Saving grace is understood as follows: First, grace in the fountain, that is, the special love and favor of God. Second, grace in the streams, the fruits of God's love; that is, all the graces and spiritual blessings of God bestowed on those whom he has freely chosen. The love of God can neither diminish nor increase, but it is multiplied and abounds in the manifestation and effects of it. So to desire that grace might be theirs in abundance is to wish them the living spring of grace. This is the first and last of Christian desires. Resolve to seek a share in this grace, the free love of God and the sure evidence of it within you, the fruit of holiness and the graces of his Spirit. Most of us are preoccupied with other things. As long as we neglect our noblest method of growing rich in grace, we act like fools. - From commentary on 1 Peter 1:2 from the Crossway Classic Commentary 1& 2 Peter by Series Editors Robert Leighton and Griffith Thomas
  3. We are living in an age of grace, in which God promises that “whosoever will” may come and receive His Son.  But this period of grace will not go on indefinitely.  We are even now living on borrowed time. - From page 158 of "Billy Graham in Quotes" by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.
  4. Ephesians 4:32 - Be kind to one another , tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. - Grace not only forgives; it also provides the power to forgive in the way we have been forgiven. - From page 97 of Turning Points With God by David Jeremiah.
  5. The Initial Grace of God - ""I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more"…For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Jeremiah 31:34 and Ephesians 2:8-9)"
    1. Again, we have the opportunity to compare justifying grace and sanctifying grace, initial grace and ongoing grace. This is always an edifying and valuable exercise, since we tend to forget that we are sanctified through the same means that we are justified.  
    2. The initial grace that impacted our lives forever was the justifying, forgiving grace of God. The prophets of old proclaimed this hope. The writers of the New Testament related it to us today. "I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jeremiah 31:34; also in Hebrews 8:12). When we repented of our sins and called upon the name of the Lord, we were forgiven and justified, declared not guilty and righteous in His sight.  
    3. This saving work of God on our behalf was all accomplished by the grace of God. "For by grace you have been saved." The saving grace of God is applied to lives as they trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. "By grace you have been saved through faith."  
    4. None of this process originates in man. All of it comes from God. "And that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." No aspect of salvation derives from the efforts of man, so no one will ever be able to brag about their contribution in being saved. "Not of works, lest anyone should boast." All glory, now and forever, will go to the Lord Himself. "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:31).  
    5. Yes, even faith does not source in man. Jesus is "the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). When we believed upon the Lord Jesus, it was in response to an authoring, revealing work that He was doing on our behalf. Jesus manifested Himself to us through the gospel as One who was able to save us sinners. The Holy Spirit was convicting us of our need. We trusted in His saving work for us. Thereby, He authored faith in us. "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing" (Revelation 5:12).  
    6. As we have seen previously (and will have opportunity to examine again and again), the grace of God, of which we partook for new birth and justification, is the same grace that must continually be at work in us for growth and sanctification.  "O Lord God of my salvation, I clearly see the full extent to which my being saved depended upon Your saving grace! Thank You for this priceless gift of grace. How glorious it is to stand justified in Your sight. Now that I might grow daily in a life of sanctification, I look to You and Your necessary grace, Amen."  - From the DBD 1/26 message in the MacSword Program.
  6. Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.... You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy. (Psalms 4-5, 11).  All suffering, whether deserved or not, is never the last word. Whatever your pain may be, pray David’s very words with his confidence. And if you recognize that your own poor choices have led to the pain you’re experiencing, say of your own suffering what David said of his: “His anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!” - Patterson, Ben (2008-09-22). God's Prayer Book: The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms (p. 96). Tyndale House Publishers - A. Kindle Edition. 
  7. The Ongoing Grace of God - ""I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts"…it is good that the heart be established by grace. (Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 13:9)"
    1. Our initial encounter with the grace of God involved forgiveness and justification. "In Him we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). Rich measures of God's grace washed away our sins and gave us new life in Christ. Of course, that initial justifying work of God could not exhaust His grace. Rather, it was "according to the riches of His grace." There are unlimited riches yet available for our daily sanctification, our ongoing growth in Christ.  
    2. Hebrews 13:9 is one of the many places in Scripture that indicate progressive sanctification (that is, growth in godliness) is by grace. "It is good that the heart be established by grace." This truth clearly pertains to sanctification and growth, not justification and new birth. At regeneration, we are given a new heart. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). Then, after receiving a new, soft, responsive heart, the spiritual stabilization of that new heart must follow.  
    3. It is from within the heart that the development of applied righteousness must proceed. What is eventually seen and heard in our daily Christian lives sources from within the core of our inner being. "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). The Lord wants to work from deep within us. "I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts."  
    4. If an unstable, inconsistent life is being expressed outwardly, an unestablished heart within is the cause. Jesus taught that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). Whatever is developing and filling up our inner man will eventually come out to be seen and heard.  
    5. In order to develop in us an increasingly mature, Christlike walk, our heart must be established. The law of God is not designed to change men's hearts. God's grace is the essential and sufficient cause to bring about this desired work of godliness. "It is good that the heart be established by grace."  
    6. Once more we have powerful biblical insight showing us that grace is not only God's provision to forgive and birth us into His family, but grace is also His resource for the ongoing work of maturing us as His children.
    7. "O Lord, my strength, would You do a powerful work of Your grace deep within my heart? I do not want to displease You or dishonor You by an immature and unstable life. Lord, forgive any futile attempts to change my heart by striving before the law. Your gracious work in me is my only hope!"   - From the DBD 1/27 message in the MacSword Program.
  8. Growing in the Grace of God - "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)"
    1. Let's reflect upon some of the heavenly territory we have explored thus far. Grace is for spiritual growth and progress in the Lord. It is not intended only for birthing and starting out with the Lord. "But grow in the grace…of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Growth in Christ always results as God's grace works in us.  
    2. At times, we can be apprehensive about such an emphasis upon God's grace. We become concerned that irresponsibility, ungodliness, laziness, or indulgence will result. We can rest assured on the promises and purposes of God that true grace does not produce such consequences. Ungodly living always involves the flesh of man, which is inclined toward licentiousness and legalism.  
    3. Licentiousness hopes to turn grace into a means by which sinful indulgence is acceptable. "For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness" (Jude v.4). Legalism aspires to add religious performance to grace, thereby appealing to the self-righteous hopes of man. "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:2-3).  
    4. When a person truly lives by the grace of God, righteousness results, not ungodliness. As a person increasingly learns to draw upon God's grace for daily living, Christlikeness develops, not worldliness. As grace becomes our resource for life, sin diminishes; it does not increase. "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14).  
    5. The temptation is to rely upon the law of God in order to generate godliness. The demand of the law to be holy, loving, and perfect becomes a false security to our flesh. We think that by hearing, repeating, or striving to meet this demand, we can thereby accomplish it. Let us not forget that "the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope" (Hebrews 7:18-19). God's grace is the "better hope" that does not fail to bring forth what God desires.  
    6. The Lord has ordained for us a life-long involvement with His grace. He wants to work "grace for [upon] grace" (John 1:16) for the rest of our days. This is the "new and living way" (Hebrews 10:20). Perhaps this could all be summarized in another acronym on grace: "Glorious Realities As Christ Empowers.
    7. "Gracious Father, how bountiful is Your provision for my spiritual growth. How foolish of me to think that I need more for developing in godliness than Your grace supplies. O Lord, I long to grow in the image of Christ. I beseech You, remind me and convince me that Your grace is the only sufficient hope. In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen."   - From the DBD 1/27 message in the MacSword Program.
  9. The motivation for God's justification of guilty sinners is grace.  As has been rightly said, "If mercy is not getting what we do deserve, grace is getting what we don't deserve."  Only grace could declare an unrighteous sinner righteous.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Romans 3:24,  pg. 90. 
  10. Psalms 149:4 - For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Through His grace, His people would be elevated to the level of angels, and even higher. In God's wisdom, the last (His people) would be first, and the first would be last. Are we His people? Do we accept Him, and fashion our life to His will, or do we reject Him, continuing to live by our own rules? Christ will beautify the meek with salvation. It is in our meekness that we realize our need for God. Let God beautify you, and you will find His pleasure.  Prayer: Make me meek, Lord. Break my spirit of willfulness and recreate me with Your beauty. Amen. - Excerpts from the December 26, 2015 devotional reading from Wisdom from the Psalms by Dan R. Dick
  11. When sinners are justified by God's grace, there is no room to boast except in God and his righteousness. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Romans 3:27-31,  pg. 112.
  12. Christ did not suffer and die to offer cheap grace.  Jesus did not willingly go to the cross so we could have an easy life or offer a faith built on easy-believism.  As someone said, “Salvation is free, but not cheap.”  It cost Jesus His life.   - From page 158 of “Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.
  13. Those who have work to do for God must stir up themselves to do it, and strengthen themselves for it. Being strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus may be understood in opposition to the weakness of grace. Where there is the truth of grace there must be a labouring after the strength of grace. As our trials increase, we have need to grow stronger and stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger. Or it may be understood in opposition to our being strong in our own strength: "Be strong, not confiding in thy own sufficiency, but in the grace that is in Jesus Christ." Compare Eph. vi. 10, Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Observe, 1. There is grace in Christ Jesus; for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, John i. 17. There is grace enough in him for all of us. 2. We must be strong in this grace; not in ourselves, in our own strength, or in the grace we have already received, but in the grace that is in him, and that is the way to be strong in grace. - II Timothty 2:1  of the Matthew Henry Commentary (MHC) as found in the Macsword software program.
  14. What has God done for us? Think of Romans 8 alone. God has removed all condemnation from us through our union with Christ. He has made a new arrangement for us, the New Covenant, so that the righteousness of the Law will be fulfilled in our actual moral character by the Spirit’s power. Christ now lives in us, as the Holy Spirit imparts life to our personalities now and to our bodies at the resurrection. We are being led forward in this new life by the Spirit, who awakens in us a sense of God’s fatherly love for us. He has made us co-heirs with Christ of the new heavens and the new earth, where all our hopes will be fulfilled. And right now the Spirit helps us to press on even when we’re too weak to pray. God is working all things for our good along the way, according to his eternal plan, and nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. And that is just Romans 8.  - From location 1062 in the Kindle Book - Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  15. The most telling indicator that God’s grace is renewing us is not when we say all the right things about his grace but when we stop putting ourselves above others, and even above God: “I’m not that bad. In fact, I’m better than most. Heck, God’s just lucky to have me for one whole hour every week.” God’s awakening grace turns us completely around with new thoughts like, My opinion of myself doesn’t matter. What matters is where I stand with God. Here I am, breathing his glorious air, eating his glorious food, oblivious to the continual display of his glory all around me — what right do I have to be here? - From location 1274 in the Kindle Book - Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  16. The remedy for our deadness to God’s grace is more grace. The remedy is the touch of God himself, as the truth of the gospel breaks upon us with clarity. If God triumphs over us by his grace, we will live. If he doesn’t, nothing in us will suffice, because our whole problem is our incapacity for self-renewal. This is how radically we need God.  - From location 1312 in the Kindle Book - Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  17. You and I will not achieve the victory of God in this world. We don’t trust God that much. We rarely live fully for him. But God is solving our problem for us, because his heart is not divided. That is the guarantee of our salvation. When we are finally glorifying and enjoying him perfectly, we will look at one another and say, “We didn’t do this. God did. This is the triumph of his zealous grace.” - From location 1555 in the Kindle Book - Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  18. As God catches us up into his purpose sweeping through history, what do we contribute? Nothing to be proud of. What does God contribute? Grace greater than all our sin — grace for Isaiah (6:6, 7), grace for Judah (8:9-22), grace for Israel (10:16-34), grace for us. Isaiah is saying, “We have all failed God. But he is not defeated. He has a remedy — his saving grace in our Messiah (9:1-7; 11:1-16). He will triumph.”  - From location 2064 in the Kindle Book - Isaiah: God Loves Sinners.
  19. God intends for His children to continue accessing grace day by day throughout their lives. Every time we face any matter with dependence upon the Lord Jesus, we are drawing from the bottomless ocean of God's grace. Thereby, His grace becomes our resource for living. - From the DBD 2/7 message in the MacSword Program.
  20. The risen Christ works by His grace in and through our lives, as we humbly depend upon Him- From the DBD 2/10 message in the MacSword Program.
  21. You may think that you don’t deserve forgiveness after all you’ve done. That’s exactly right. No one deserves forgiveness. If we deserved it, we wouldn’t need it. That’s the point of grace. On the cross, Jesus experienced the Hell we deserve, so that for eternity we can experience the Heaven we don’t deserve. - From location 811 of the Kindle Book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn
  22. God protects those who are his, guarding their souls until the time when he brings them into his kingdom.  No evil plot of man or Satan can snatch God's children from his loving care.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - 2 Timothy 4:18   pg. 326.  
  23. As we have seen, the new covenant of grace is essentially about developing a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Our God desires to impart His grace into our lives through this acquaintanceship with His Son: "the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus." This phrase ("by Christ Jesus") points once again to the intimate relational aspect of living in Christ by grace. God's grace flows into our lives "by Christ Jesus." It might be helpful to restate this truth. God's grace comes into our experience by means of another person, the Lord Jesus. The limitless grace of our great God is available to us on the basis of who Jesus is and all that He has done for us. It is accessed whenever we humbly, dependently relate to Him.   - From the DBD 4/12 message in the MacSword Program.
  24. The grace of God is brought to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). When Jesus came to earth as God's incarnate word to man, He came overflowing with the grace of God. This abundance of grace in Christ is to be our ongoing spiritual provision for living the Christian life. "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for [upon] grace" (John 1:16). One work of God's grace built upon another work of His grace is to mark our pilgrimage day by day.
    1. This constantly-available grace of God is able to justify and sanctify lives. "And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance" (Acts 20:32). God's grace, held forth by His word, offers us new birth by grace. When we believe on the Lord Jesus, we are justified (declared not guilty, righteous in God's sight). Thereby, we obtain the spiritual inheritance of the children of God: "the word of His grace, which is able to…give you an inheritance." This same grace of God then becomes our heavenly resource for progressive sanctification (practical growth in godliness): "the word of His grace,which is able to build you up."
    2. Part of growing in godliness involves being set free from the dominating influence of sin in our lives. God's grace provides this liberating reality. "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14). As we learn to live by God's grace, instead of by our own best performance, the grace of God is working deep within us, bringing spiritual stability to our inner man. "It is good that the heart be established by grace" (Hebrews 13:9).
    3. This working of God's grace in us marks us with distinctive spiritual characteristics, which will be examined in the passages of Scripture that lie ahead.
    4. "Lord God of abounding grace, give me spiritual eyes to see and a humble heart to receive all the ways You want to mark my life by Your grace, in Jesus' name, Amen.” - From the DBD 4/22 message in the MacSword Program.
  25. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not for yourselves, it is the gift from God - not by works, so that no one can boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).  Bur we should keep reading, for the next verse completes God's purpose for his creation:  "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do" (2:10, emphasis added).  Christians are the creative work of Christ.  We are new creations, formed and shaped by Christ's death and resurrection.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 2:14  pg. 367.
  26. Grace teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.  Grace has a specific curriculum - to restrain certain behaviors and to promote others.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 2, VI. Deeper Discoveries, B. Grace Teaches Us (vv. 11-12)  pg. 373.
  27. Grace - Divine grace is the favor, kindness, and goodwill of God directed towards his creation.  It is free and spontaneous, totally unmerited.  It cannot be coerced, though it can be sought.  God's grace is exemplified by salvation, where his goodness and kindness meet in Christ Jesus, allowing people to know the greater depths of grace as they experience his joy, love, goodness, and mercy.  All these are extended to the believer in Jesus - the bounty of the heavens.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 2, VI. Deeper Discoveries, B. Grace Teaches Us (vv. 11-12)  pg. 373.
  28. Grace teaches us throughout the practicalities of our days as God uses whatever means necessary to lead us to maturity.  Paul clearly understood this teaching of God to be gracious and kind, but he also clearly recognized at times God uses difficulties and calamities to affect our training in righteousness.  Kindness is not saccharine passivity.  Kindness seeks the best for someone else, seeing beyond the moment to the ultimate welfare of the person.  This is the approach of parents as they train their children to be competent, skillful adults. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus 2, VI. Deeper Discoveries, B. Grace Teaches Us (vv. 11-12)  pg. 373.
  29. No one deserves the forgiveness and grace of God.  No person gains merit before the Lord.  Everyone stands equally sinful and equally guilty.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philemon v. 3  pg. 401. 
  30. God generously pours out his grace, goodness, and kindness on those who want it.  He responds to those who seek him, to those who want to know him.  While we do not deserve God's salvation and blessing, nor can we earn it, we must respond to the Spirit's enlightenment.  God pursues us, demonstrates his love toward us, opens our understanding-but still remains for us to listen and respond.  If we are to know God and participate in the life of faith, we must heed what he says, follow through on what he commands.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Titus, Conclusion,  pg. 389.
  31. God's sovereign grace works through all human affairs.   - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Philemon vv. 15-16  pg. 407. 
  32. Attaining righteousness by grace as a gift through faith results in boasting - but boasting in God. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Romans 4, Principals,  pg. 141.
  33. God's throne of grace is always available to lead us to experience God's rest. We see no sign announcing, “Closed for the day.” He makes his grace and mercy available around the clock. Come to God with boldness, an awareness of his majesty, and a willingness to claim his mercy and grace to reach his rest. Jesus will take you where Joshua never could.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary" - Hebrews 4,  at location 1895.
  34. As we face the challenge of Christian living, we must not imagine that all our difficulties will vanish if we become committed Christians. We can't pin our hopes on an anticipation that God will suddenly destroy all difficulties in our path and give us an easy road to follow. God will supply through Jesus the grace for us to travel the path he chooses for us to follow.  - From the Kindle Book "the Holman New Testament Commentary" - Hebrews 5,  at location 2464.
  35. Now, if grace is embraced to work in our lives, practical righteousness grows day by day bringing love, selflessness, kindness, fullness, hope, and the like. All of this is the qualitative aspect of the everlasting life that comes by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: "even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."   - From the Matthew Henry Commentary as provided in The Sword Software program for the Mac  - in the DBD for November 21.
  36. Hebrews 10:17 - I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.
  37. Grace is not only the way we begin with the Lord, but it is also the means by which we go on with Him. God's grace is to be sought every day. It is a major error of the faith to relegate grace to days gone by. We can praise and thank the Lord for all of His grace experienced in previous years. Nevertheless, the grace of God is essential today—and in each new day.  Grace cannot be separated from the Lord Jesus. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 8:9).  - From the DBD for 12/1 as provided in The Sword Software program for the Mac.
  38. Paul's exhortation to followers of Jesus Christ was to "continue in the faith" (Acts 14:22). "The faith" (in which we are to continue) is the word of God. Paul later called it "the word of His grace." Since God's word is permeated with His grace, it is able to do glorious things in our lives.   - From the DBD for 12/3 as provided in The Sword Software program for the Mac.
  39. God's grace characterizes His word: "I commend you to God and to the word of His grace." This permeating presence of grace in the Scriptures is what makes God's word so able to effect godly changes in our lives: "the word of His grace, which is able." This is why the Lord wants us to continue in His word: "continue in the faith" (Acts 14:22). Also, continuing in the word allows the Lord to remind us of things pertaining to grace, things we need to hear over and over again. - From the DBD for 12/4 as provided in The Sword Software program for the Mac.
  40. The Comprehensive, Freely Giving Plan of God -"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)"
    1. By the free gift of God's grace, ministry is given to us. "I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me" (Ephesians 3:7). By His grace at work in us, our ministry can be marked with courage and selflessness. "None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself" (Acts 20:24). This pattern of grace fits the entire plan of God, because His plan is a comprehensive, freely giving plan.  As we have seen, give is the language of grace. Note the extent to which God desires to give to us. He wants to "freely give us all things." Everything that God considers as needful for fullness of life, He freely makes available by His grace. The Scriptures repeatedly speak in such comprehensive terms. "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3a). All that it takes to live as God intends, and to grow in godliness as He desires, has already been given to us in Christ. As we get to know the Lord more and more, all that He has given us in Christ is progressively brought into our experience: "through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3b).  The death of Christ is our assurance of having the comprehensive dimensions of God's grace fully available to us: "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all." Jesus is the Father's deeply loved Son. Through a prophet of old, the Father proclaimed this divine love. "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!" (Isaiah 42:1). When the Son was on this earth, the Father declared His loving delight from heaven. "And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'" (Matthew 3:17). Jesus is consistently revealed as the object of the Father's love: "The Father loves the Son…the Son of His love" (John 3:35 and Colossians 1:13). The magnitude of the Father's love for His Son is behind His love gift to us. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). Our loving and generous Father has not held back from us the sacrificial gift of His beloved Son, who died for our sins. Now, if He did not hold back His most prized treasure (His own beloved Son), there is no way that the Father will hold back any lesser gift from us. "How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
    2. "Loving Father, I praise You for Your great love, in giving Your beloved Son to die for my sins. I thank You for the assurance this brings that everything else that I need will be freely given with Him!” - From the DBD for 12/14 as provided in The Sword Software program for the Mac.
  41. Jesus Given for Us to be Given to Us - "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10)"
    1. As the ultimate free gift of God's grace, Jesus was given for us (dying for our sins): "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all" (Romans 8:32). Moreover, He was given for us to be given to us (that He might express His life in and through us).
    2. We began as enemies of God. Certainly, we were lost and condemned. Yet, our situation was even worse than that. Our lives worked against the purposes and plans of God: "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works" (Colossians 1:21). Our evil thoughts and activities set us against the Lord in both mind and deed. The only way that we could become the friends of God was for Jesus to be given as a sacrifice for us. "When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son." The Lord had to deal with our dual problem of sin and unrighteousness. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Father graciously placed our sins on His Son that we might have His righteousness. This precious gift of reconciliation, the turning of enemies into friends, was for all who would believe in Christ.
    3. Even after this rich grace of reconciliation, the Lord had "much more" yet to give us. "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." What remained after Jesus was given for us (for our reconciliation) was that He would be given to us. Jesus came to dwell within us so that we could be "saved by His life." Why do the friends of Jesus still need to be saved? Well, His followers would be persistently threatened by the world, the flesh, and the devil. They would still be vulnerable to temptation, doubt, fear, fruitlessness, distraction, inadequacy, and more. How then would they be saved from such threats? This ongoing rescuing work of the Lord would be "by His life"—by Jesus living in and through His people. "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). Jesus was not, and is not, susceptible to any of these threatening issues. When He is allowed to express His life in and through us, each of us finds all that we need all of the time. This astounding statement is true, because "Christ is all and in all" (Colossians 3:11).
    4. "Dear Father, my reconciler, I thank You for giving Your Son for me, that I might be changed from Your enemy to Your friend by His death. Yet, much more, I praise You for giving Your Son to me, that I might be saved from spiritual futility day by day by His life. Lord Jesus, live in and through me, I humbly pray, Amen."  - From the DBD for 12/14 as provided in The Sword Software program for the Mac.
  42. The rich may rejoice in humbling providences, as they produce a lowly and humble disposition of mind, which is highly valuable in the sight of God. Where any are made poor for righteousness' sake, their very poverty is their exaltation. It is an honour to be dishonoured for the sake of Christ. To you it is given to suffer, Phil. i. 29. All who are brought low, and made lowly by grace, may rejoice in the prospect of their exaltation at the last in heaven. 4. Observe what reason rich people have, notwithstanding their riches, to be humble and low in their own eyes, because both they and their riches are passing away: As the flower of the grass he shall pass away. He, and his wealth with him, 11. For the sun has no sooner risen with a burning heat than it withereth the grass. Note hence, Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Riches are too uncertain (says Mr. Baxter on this place), too inconsiderable things to make any great or just alteration in our minds. As a flower fades before the heat of the scorching sun, so shall the rich man fade away in his ways. His projects, counsels, and managements for this world, are called his ways; in these he shall fade away. For this reason let him that is rich rejoice, not so much in the providence of God, that makes him rich, as in the grace of God, that makes and keeps him humble; and in those trials and exercises that teach him to seek his felicity in and from God, and not from these perishing enjoyments. - From the Matthew Henry Commentary in The Sword Software Program for the Mac, James I:2 - Necessity of Fith and Patience; Evil of Indecision. II. 5.
  43. Jesus said of his Father, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). God extends common grace to all. The air breathed by every person—sinner or saint—is God’s gift, regardless of the person’s morality. - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 1820.
  44. The humblest servant, most dependent on the grace of God, is greatest in God's eyes. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 308.
  45. Mark 3:28 - "Truly I say to you, all sins will be  forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,"  -  For those who seek, nothing is beyond God's grace.  Forgiveness is there for the asking.  Jesus never turns down anyone who asks from a repentant heart for forgiveness.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, page 60.
  46. Mark 16 - Rejoice that you serve a God of the second, third, and fourth chance.  And remember, "The one who is in you is greater that the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4).  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 16, IV. Life Application, Every Day is Christmas, page 280.
  47. God’s grace flows like water, steadily downward to the lowest part. Indeed, how could we experience grace at all except through our defects? - From location 546 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  48. “Prayer is not a means of removing the unknown and unpredictable elements in life, but rather a way of including the unknown and unpredictable in the outworking of the grace of God in our lives.” - From location 1563 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  49. In strange and mysterious ways, prayer incorporates the unknown and unpredictable in the outworking of God’s grace. - From location 1570 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  50. “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.” God is more merciful than we can imagine and welcomes appeals to that mercy. - From location 1776 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  51. We are Christ’s body on earth, to borrow Paul’s metaphor. We are “in Christ,” a phrase the New Testament repeats 164 times. Those we minister to, Christ ministers to; those we forgive, Christ forgives. When we extend mercy to the broken, we reach out with the hands of Christ himself. - From location 2227 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  52. Grace characterizes the word of God. Grace permeates the word of God. Grace flows from the word of God. It is in the Scriptures that we learn of God's grace. There we learn of what it is (the Lord's undeserved riches, poured out freely for our justification, sanctification, and glorification). There we learn of our great need for grace (a desperate, comprehensive, continual need). Also, in the word we learn of how we can access it (through humble dependence upon the Lord). - From the Pocket Sword daily devotional for December 2nd, from the Day by Day By Grace Daily Devotional by Bob Hoekstra.
  53. Psalm 4:6-8 - Lord, let us have thy favor, and let us know that we have it, we desire no more; let us be satisfied of thy loving- kindness, and will be satisfied with it. Many inquire after happiness, but David had found it. When God puts grace in the heart, he puts gladness in the heart. - From Psalm 4:1 of Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
  54. Medical research is discovering that gratitude is the one emotional trait most likely to benefit physical health and recovery. Grateful people tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives, and may actually live longer. “A grateful heart might be a healthy heart,” one researcher concluded after studying the effect of gratitude on relieving stress and hypertension. - From location 5651 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  55. Grace descends as the gentle rain from heaven. It does not divide, does not rank. It floats like a cloud high in the sky, and the thirsty pray for it as desert nomads pray for rain. - From location 5737 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  56. Prayer for grace offers the chance for a deep healing, or at least a way to cope with what cannot be fixed.  - From location 5741 in the Kindle Book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey.
  57. Five things he promises himself here in the strength of God's grace:- (1.) That he should be free and easy in his duty: "I will walk at liberty, freed from that which is evil, not hampered with the fetters of my own corruptions, and free to that which is good, doing it not by constraint, but willingly." The service of sin is perfect slavery; the service of God is perfect liberty.  (2.) That he should be bold and courageous in his duty: I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings. Before David came to the crown kings were sometimes his judges, as Saul, and Achish; but, if he were called before them to give a reason of the hope that was in him, he would speak of God's testimonies, and profess to build his hope upon them and make them his council, his guards, his crown, his all. We must never be afraid to own our religion, though it should expose us to the wrath of kings, but speak of it as that which we will live and die by.  (3.) That he should be cheerful and pleasant in his duty (v. 47): "I will delight myself in thy commandments, in conversing with them, in conforming to them. I will never be so well pleased with myself as when I do that which is pleasing to God." The more delight we take in the service of God the nearer we come to the perfection we aim at. (4.) That he should be diligent and vigorous in his duty: I will lift up my hands to thy commandments, which denotes not only a vehement desire towards them (Ps. 143: 6)- "I will lay hold of them as one afraid of missing them, or letting them go;" but a close application of mind to the observance of them- "I will lay my hands to the command, not only to praise it, but practise it; nay, I will lift up my hands to it, that is, I will put forth all the strength I have to do it."(5.) That he should be thoughtful and considerate in his duty (v. 48): "I will meditate in thy statutes, not only entertain myself with thinking of them as matters of speculation, but contrive how I may observe them in the best manner." By this it will appear that we truly love God's commandments, if we apply both our minds and our hands to them.  - From Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible in commentary on Psalm 119:45-48.
  58. Mercy and Grace - Psalm 119:58  - I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. - "Be merciful to me, in the forgiveness of what I have done amiss, and in giving me grace to do better for the future."  The gracious soul is entirely set upon the favour of God, and is therefore importunate for it. I will not let thee go except thou bless me. - From Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible in commentary on Psalm 119:58.
  59. Psalm 119:76 - Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. - The benefit he promised himself from God's lovingkindness: "Let it come to me for my comfort (v. 76); that will comfort me when nothing else will; that will comfort me whatever grieves me." Gracious souls fetch all their comfort from a gracious God, as the fountain of all happiness and joy: "Let it come to me, that I may live, that is, that I may be revived, and my life may be made sweet to me, for I have no joy of it while I am under God's displeasure. In his favour is life; in his frowns are death." A good man cannot live with any satisfaction any longer than he has some tokens of God's favour to him. - From Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible in commentary on Psalm 119:76.
  60. Psalm 119:93 - I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. - The grace of God works by the word and makes use of it as a means of quickening, and this is a good reason why we should never forget it, but should highly value what God has put such honour upon, and dearly love what we have found and hope still to find such benefit by. - From Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible in commentary on Psalm 119:93.
  61. Psalm 119:116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
  62. and let me not be put to shame in my hope! - We stand no longer than God holds us and go no further than he carries us. Those that hope in God's word may be sure that the word will not fail them, and therefore their hope will not make them ashamed. - From Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible in commentary on Psalm 119:116.
  63. If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness and all perfection, he must tell you to make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you. For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing. - William Law - From the March 9th devotional reading from "Daily Strength for Daily Needs" by Mary Tileston in the Olive Tree Reader, 
  64. Psalm 119:156 - Great is your mercy, O Lord;  give me life according to your rules.- Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord! The goodness of Gods nature is his glory (Ex 33: 18 – 19), and it is the joy of all the saints. His mercies are tender, for he is full of compassion (78: 38; 86: 15; 111: 4; etc.). They are many and great; they are a fountain that can never be exhausted. He is rich in mercy to all who call on him (Ro 10: 12). - From The New Matthew Henry Commentary Psalm 119:156. 
  65. Psalm 119:164 - Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. - 1. How often David praised God — Seven times a day, that is, very frequently, not only every day but often every day. Many think that once a week is enough, or once or twice a day, but David wanted to praise God seven times a day at least. Praising God is a duty we should do very often. We must praise God at every meal, praise him on every occasion, giving thanks in everything (1Th 5: 18). We should praise God seven times a day; this subject matter can never be exhausted, and our devotion toward him should never become tired. See also v. 62.   2. What he praised God for — because of thy righteous judgments. We must praise God for his precepts, which are all just and good; for his promises and threats; and for the fulfillment of both in his providence. We are to praise God even for our suffering if through grace we gain good from it. - From The New Matthew Henry Commentary Psalm 119:164. 
  66. Psalm 119:156 - Great is your mercy, O Lord;  give me life according to your rules. 1. God is merciful (v.   156). Our translation of this verse says, Your compassion is great, but the same Hebrew words might equally well be rendered, Many are your mercies. Whatever the translation, the fact that God is rich in mercy is the most wonderful thing we can know about him. We have already seen that this is what God revealed to Moses when he placed him in a cleft of mountain rock, covered him with his hand, and passed by, saying, The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin (Exod. 34: 6–7). In the Old Testament these are the most frequently cited of all verses (cf. Num. 14: 18; Deut. 5: 9–10; Ps. 86: 15; Joel 2: 13; Jonah 4: 1; Jer. 34: 18; and Neh. 9: 17), and with good reason since mercy is what we all desperately need. As New Testament believers, we know that we have this mercy through the Lord Jesus Christ.- From the Boice Expositional  Commentary Series: Psalms - Delight in God's Decrees:Part 13 - Psalm 119:153-168.
  67. Rom. 5:15–21  - Every human being is either in Adam or in Christ. We are all born in Adam, but God by his grace brings many into Christ. Whereas Adam’s trespass led to death and woe, God’s grace abounds through the free gift offered “by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ” (v. 15). The word “grace” occurs 21 times in Romans—six times in Romans 5 alone. This chapter marks a high point of Romans’ teaching about grace. By God’s grace, the “free gift of righteousness” can be dominant in our lives (v. 17). Condemnation for “all men” because of Adam is universal, but the availability of “justification and life for all men” (v. 18) does not mean universal salvation, as the next verse makes clear. It is by grace—received through faith—that Christ’s obedience makes righteous “the many” (not “all”; v. 19). In the end, grace reigns over and among God’s people through the righteousness Christ won (v. 21). The result is eternal life through him—the strongest possible reversal of all the ills that came about through Adam.- From the Gospel Transformational Bible by Crossway.
  68. An Easy Yoke - The yoke of the Old Testament Laws (over 600 of them) would be impossible for most anyone to keep.  If you broke one, you broke them all, as all are sins.  It was a heavy yoke indeed.  But when Jesus came, He announced a different kind of yoke, one that is easy to bear because we are given the Holy Spirit to help us Glorify God and are offered forgiveness when we don’t.  Christmas is a time to celebrate the fact that Christ has come to show us how to keep God’s laws.  The weakest link for us is our sinful nature.  But when we accept the Christ of Christmas, we are given his Nature - a nature that wants to keep God’s law.  “When the law of God is written in our hearts, our duty will be our delight. - Matthew Henry - From December 24th Devotional (page 375) from Turning Points with God by David Jeremiah
  69. Every breath I take, every sound I hear, every light that I am able to see, every thought that I have, every good memory I recall, every step that I take, every hand that I am able to shake, the roof over my head, the clothes on my back, the food on my table, the job that I have, the wonderful family I have and am a part of and everything I have ever had, that I currently posses or ever will possess come from God’s glorious grace.  I am ever so thankful and am truly blessed!  How easy it is that to take for granted our abundant blessings, that many in the world today can only dream of. If you ever feel depressed or are losing hope, count your many blessings and give thanks to God.  Don’t wait until adversity hits to fall on your knees and ask God for help. Go ahead and strengthen your relationship with Jesus by counting your blessings and thanking him daily with prayer.  Do something for someone or help someone else somethimes helps put your problem in perspective.  Knowing that He is with you always through the Holy Spirit inside you, will give you the hope and strength you need to endure any difficulties you might have.  You are not alone.  God is bigger than any problem and will help you find a way past your problem and will make you stronger as a result.  What a glorious Father we have! - Ken Little