7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.--II Corinthians 12: 7-10Perhaps easy to understand, but sometimes extremely difficult to accept.
Saturday, July 5, 2014
If my problem is that I do not live in grace, it is necessary to define the Biblical concept of grace. The defintion appears simple, but, as I have discovered, the application to life can be anything but. The Old Testament uses the word hen to represent grace. The grace spoken of by hen is the unmerited favor of God. Old Testament figures such as Noah and Moses were written of as expressly having the favor of God. A point most apt in my6 case is God will, in his grace, wait upon man as though he is his servant. When God called Gideon to lead Israel against Median, he asked god to wait for him to prepare a sacrifice. God did so, and when Gideon brought the offering, God gives instructions on how to place the sacrifice and creates a supernatural fire to consume it. God will often wait for people to recognize and accept His grace. Grace in the New Testament is referred to by the word charis. This type of grace is considered unmerited favor.. Most often, this is the gift of salvation itself, which a man only receives when he humbles himself before god and asks for it. Jesus never expressly uses the word charis, but his teachings exemplify the concept. Perhaps the best example is the parable of the prodigal son who is shown favor by his father even though he has done nothing to deserve it. Jesus may not have spoken directly of grace, but a couple Gospel writers used the term in association with Jesus. John describes Jesus as full of grace. He bestows upon his people grace upon grace from the fullness of his grace. (John 1:16) John further states that the Law, a good thing, was given through Moses; the better things of grace and truth came through Jesus. Luke uses the term grace several times throughout his Gospel and in Acts. Luke speaks of grace in the Old Testament sense of unmerited favor, but adds a spiritual component. Luke speaks of both the grace of god and the grace of Jesus. The combined grace is generally considered to be an indicator of God’s ability to create spiritual life and sustain Christians. The latter is the grace I appear to misunderstand. At the very least, I seem to have resisted it in my life. Most recent life, at any rate. Paul often wrote of grace as not only unmerited favor, but the power to do God’s will through use of one’s God-given abilities. It has been about a decade since practicing law has been considered God’s will for my life. I have been stagnate during that time. Perhaps I was unwilling to admit it, but much of my stagnation was doubt about grace having been bestowed upon me.