“For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.”
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 NIV
Grace! It’s a word that we must talk about through all eternity. We became all we are today because of it. We have come this far simply because of Grace. We have not always measured up, we have not always had strength, we have not always kept on the straight path. Wish we had but we haven’t. So, why are we still here, counted in the number, beloved and called by name? Grace.
Now, permit me to attempt, with my little sense, an explanation of Grace, and try to contrast it with work, especially as it concerns our walk with God.
Israel were captives in a strange land, and by the look of things, there was no amount of work or energy that they would have exerted that could have brought them out of the tyranny of Pharoah. As long as their strength was concerned, they were depraved, and could not bring themselves out. Fast-forward hundreds of years later, and they were leaving en masse from Egypt, Pharoah himself letting them go. What happened? GRACE.
They were stuck between two mountains, with a great uncrossable sea in front and their enemies approaching from behind. They had no means by which they would have fought back or prevented the approaching massacre, and jumping into the sea would mean sure death for all. Fast-forward days later, they were on the other side of the sea, with all their enemies dead, and no casualties on their part. What happened? GRACE.
There was no market in the wilderness for men to buy food. There was no farm for them to get things from. There was no means of cooling the hot afternoon air of the desert, or warming the cold desert night air. They did not even have generators with which to have light to see, nor anywhere to get changes of clothes and shoes as they grew older. Yet, they went through the wilderness for years sustained and cared for, with all their needs met. What happened? GRACE.
The doctrine of Grace begins foremostly from the understanding of the depravity of man. The depravity of man does not mean that man does not have any strength, but that his strength and capabilities cannot help him face or survive the challenges ahead of him. His strength cannot bring him out of his predicament. Every man needs a hand from above, every man needs help to come from Heaven. That is why Jesus came; he came to help the seeds of Abraham, the sons of men. That is the privilege of Grace.
In the passage above, Paul listed all the privileges the Grace of God bestowed on our fathers. That Grace gave them all they needed to succeed in life, and not to be cast away. They all experienced divine protection and deliverance, they were all baptized in the Spirit and in water, they all had God’s word come to them, they all shared some fellowship and drank from Christ. This Grace did not appear to some special people. It did not just appeared to a few; rather, it appeared to all. Yet, some succeeded and others failed. Some reached the mark, and others were cast away. What actually happened?
Remember that I said earlier that depravity does not mean you do not have any strength, it only means your strength is insufficient. However, the difference between one man and the other is how each man utilized their little strength. The privilege of Grace can be properly utilized, but it can also be abused. This makes all the difference between one Christian and the other.
God has paid the price. He has bridged the gap. All you have to do is to stretch forth your hand and receive. Now that may look little and easy, but some do not do it, and so fall short of Grace. They abused that privilege and so lost their place in what God would have done with them. When God shows His kindness to you, He does not expect you to take it for granted. He expects you to use it as an incentive to seek Him, to long for personal fellowship with Him. You may not have strength for many big things, but what about little things like praying, reading your Bible, fellowshipping with the brethren, confession and all that.
See, it is not like there are some people who never strayed from God. All have sinned. All are where they are because of Grace. But that Grace does not mean that God just carried them and they did absolutely nothing. No, God gives each man a little responsibility, a little duty. It is all that your little strength can carry. Do that little one, and God will take over the rest. I, too, have struggled with besetting sins. I have looked back at my past and feel like I failed God. However, I never excused it. Thank God for the brethren God placed around me. With my little strength, I kept pushing, praying, reading and fellowshipping, and God reached His hands and picked me up out of that pit. That is Grace.
It does not mean that there is nothing at all for you to do. This is why some fail, because they are abusing the Grace of God. They are taking it in vain. They are thinking that however they live their lives, Grace will speak for them. But life does not work that way. God does not expect much from you because He knows how depraved you are. But He does have little expectations. Do that little, and it will make all the difference whether you will reach the prize of the High calling, or you will be ordered to stand aside.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your Grace which you have poured out towards all men, including me. Thank you for the little strength that I have. I am dependent on Your Grace to see me through. But, help me to do the little which you expect of me, to discipline my body, to seek you with all my heart, that I may not be in any form, cast away. Thank you for answering my prayers. Amen.
For further reading: 1 Corinthians 15 vs. 10; Hebrews 3 vs. 7- 4 vs. 2; 2 Corinthians 6 vs. 17- 7 vs. 1; Ephesians 2 vs. 4-10.