Monthly Archives: May 2010

♣ The ‘Amazing’ of God’s Abounding Grace

WE’RE ALL FAMILIAR, if not over familiar, with John Newton’s hymn, ‘Amazing Grace’, that is sung in the light of our past; that moment we recall of first tasting grace, the consciousness of our salvation. Many others strongly associate it with the abolition of slavery in Newton’s time, while others view it in the light as the hymnist intended – grace at the beginning, in-between and the end – grace walking with us through the entirety of our lives:

‘Tis grace has brought me thus far
And grace will lead me home.”

God’s grace is not to be confined to the day we were spiritually born anew but His grace that will continue and that will abound against all odds throughout our lives and as Newton wrote, “And grace will lead me home.”

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

When we consider that word, ‘sufficient’, we’re inclined to think of limit; “it’s just enough to get us through” kind of scenario. God gives us no more than we need. God is abounding in grace where there is no limit. Neither is He frugal but in His generosity He is kind so as not to give us too much; He is wise in all His dispensations. A father or mother who gives their child too much food will do more harm than good. God delights that we enjoy His provisions.

It’s not just grace that was sufficient for Paul, but that “the God of all grace”, all powerful, all knowing, GOD HIMSELF giving His grace and knowing how much to give. A good doctor will never prescribe less or more of the cure, but rather the exact quantity. How much more does our all-wise, heavenly Physician administer a perfect amount!

God’s love and grace, especially unto His own children, abounds in a fatherly way; as God’s children we are the objects of His special care. “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). This echoes similarly to what the same author wrote in Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours…” But remember that God in His wisdom gives us what we really need.

The later half of Philippians 4:19, “…according to His riches in Christ Jesus” is reminiscent of the following passages,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 1:3);

“…according to the riches of His grace, with which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight…” (Ephesians 1:7-8); and,

“…in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

God’s grace is overabounding with sufficiency not just for the moments of intense joy but for the down, dreary and dark days – the days of acute depression. Paul proved that; he knew the power of God’s grace and was content (that word ‘content’; please see my previous note entitled, ‘God’s Will Expressed: From Vessels of Wrath To Vessels of Mercy’) “…with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Was Paul a wreck as a result of all the descriptions in that verse? Quite the opposite! “For when I am weak, then I am strong”, verse 10; as he mentions in verse 9, which he basically says, ‘I’d rather give up my own prideful strength in order that Christ’s power rests on me’, which is the same tone he uses in Philippians 3:8, “…I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

It is this same grace, the power of God that kept and sustained Paul – without which he would have been overcome and defeated if left to his own strength. Now, take a moment to ponder the words Paul used to describe these intense circumstances, “We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken (friends would forsake, but God faithfully remains); struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). And Paul’s reaction to all of this (and remember this grace and victory wasn’t just confined to Paul, but for every child of God then and now) wasn’t one of weariness about to be blown over by a gentle, summer breeze. No, in the most hellish moments he could say with absolute conviction, “…in ALL these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”. Paul defies the fear of anything that threatens harm, “…shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Romans 8:35). The love and grace of God are inseparable; nothing will overcome us or thwart God’s purposes for our lives and nothing can cut us off from God. I love how Paul answers someone out there who may be saying, “Hang on a second, Paul… but aren’t you forgetting something?” No! Paul comes back exhausting every possible, conceivable opposition; totally disarming every conscious and unconscious insinuation, “For I am sure (meaning fully persuaded; don’t forget Paul had one of the most brilliant minds and still stands even today as the greatest theologian) that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation…”, verses 37-39.

God’s grace is rich toward us even in our most desperate moments. Yesterday’s grace will not suffice for today; tomorrow’s grace is not designed for today; but God’s present grace is absolutely guaranteed and totally sufficient to meet every one of your needs in the here and now, this very moment.

I need thee ev’ry hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.
I need thee, O I need thee, ev’ry hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.

I need thee ev’ry hour; stay thou nearby;
temptations lose their pow’r when thou art nigh.
I need thee, O I need thee, ev’ry hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

I need thee ev’ry hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
I need thee, O I need thee, ev’ry hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

I need thee ev’ry hour; teach me thy will,
and thy rich promises in me fulfill.
I need thee, O I need thee, ev’ry hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

‘I Need Thee Every Hour
Annie S. Hawks, 1872

“Thy rich promises in me fulfill…”

His all sufficient grace will bear you up, keep you and prevent your heart from fainting; His all sufficient grace will give you strength, instill courage, peace and rest. HIS GRACE, not your graces, virtues or strength, but His omnipotent power will make your heart bold and enable you to confidently declare, “No, in ALL these things we ARE more than conquerors through Him who eternally loves us.”

His grace that will amaze and overwhelm you and put a new song in your heart is there for you now, “Your heavenly Father knows what you need.”

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Our Great High Priest perfectly sees, knows, feels and understands and will faultlessly provide all we need according to His glorious riches.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

‘How Firm a Foundation
John Rippon, 1787

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