Grace: The Greatest Word
Now that I've finished reading The Glory of God's Grace, by James Montgomery Boice, I'm more convinced than ever that grace is the finest word in the English language, and that God's grace truly is a worthy subject for a lifetime of contemplation. The only appropriate response to such wonderful largesse is, to be perfectly trite, an attitude of gratitude (and hoopla, too).
Each chapter of Boice's book is a meditation on God's grace, seen through the prism of one or more key grace-verses. What I want to do this morning is simply recapitulate for you a short passage near the end of the book, entitled, "Growth in Grace." We have received grace (John 1:16), and we stand in grace even now (Romans 5:2), but just what does it mean to "grow in grace." (2Peter 3:18)
In answer to that question, Boice offers 4 Biblical replies.
1. We need to be settled in the great grace doctrines.I don't have time unpack all of this for you, but I do want to look closely at the first of these, which discusses the idea of being "settled in grace."
2. We need to grow in the knowledge of God's grace.
3. We need to exercise the gift for serving others that God has given each of us.
4. We need a continuing supply of grace in order to grow in grace and thus complete the work assigned to us.
There are, Boice tells us, several ways that one can fail to be settled in grace.
1. We can allow something other than Jesus Christ to be at the center of our lives. [Jonah 2:8 NIV]And Boice concludes:
2. We can forget how gracious God has been and thus become harsh with others. [Hebrews 12:15]
3. We can substitute the mere form of Christianity for the Gospel. [Hebrews 13:9]
The cure for these multifaceted ills is to be so aware of the nature of the grace of God in saving us that we become enamored of Jesus Christ and never forget that it is by grace alone that we have been brought out of death and darkness into God's marvelous light.[All Scripture quotations from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.]