Paul and Grace

by Rev. Vince Finnegan on June 29, 2014
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2 Corinthians 5:15 - Paul personally knew that grace caused the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God and therefore wanted others to enjoy the same experience and service with and to God.

The definition of “grace” is unmerited (undeserved and unearned) but freely given love and favor of God toward man.

Acts 8:1-3; 9:1 and 2; 1Timothy 1:11-17
- Paul, once the main proponent and leader of Christian persecution, was himself redeemed and entrusted with the mystery that God kept to Himself for centuries.

Ephesians 3:2-8
- Paul never doubted the privilege that was His and knew exactly where it came from and why – God’s grace.

Ephesians 1:1 and 2
- Considering man’s innate sin and guilt, the only access to God must be by grace. We have no grounds for anything we receive from God, yet the blessings are incomprehensibly bountiful due to their eternal implications. Understanding and embracing grace produces a life enriched with thankfulness, humility, and love. Grace is our personal evidence of God’s love.

- Why is He so good to us? The explanation provided for His great loving generosities are found in verses 5, 7, 9, and 11. The words “according to” earmark His reasoning and motivation. “According to” sets the standard for what proceeds and sets the agreement or conformity for what follows. The verses show His demonstrated grace and love are in agreement or conformity to His inner desire, His heart for you.

According to:
• The kind intention of His will – 1:5
• The riches of His grace – 1:7
• His kind intention which He purposed in Him – 1:9
• His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will – 1:11

- “Redemption” is to regain possession of by paying a price. 2:1-3 reveal our standard of life or that which we conformed to before Christ (which is again set-off by the words “according to”).

- We were owned by the prince of the power of the air and were slaves to our own impulses and longings. God paid the price or ransom with Jesus to set us free, to rescue us from the devil to become His possession.

- “Possession” implies we once belonged to the devil and with redemption we now belong to God.

- We move from complete engrossment in the impulses and longings of self-centeredness to salvation that issues in God showing the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in the ages to come. Is there any more contrasting extreme in comparison?

The appreciation of grace is found in understanding what we once were (seldom grasped by anyone) and the reality of what we are now coupled with the promise of our destiny. Paul is our example of someone who really understood grace based on the aforementioned. He never forgot who he was and what he did before Christ, and he strongly embraced the hope.

2 Corinthians 5:15-18; Ephesians 4:29
- Like Paul, we should be driven by the grace that has been given and the hope that is coming to live faithfully and proclaim boldly the gospel of grace.

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