Understanding Grace 3

Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

It is so often thought that grace is primary in the initial salvation of the soul, but it is not that important for daily life. However, if we look at our text we can see that grace is something we grow in. We are told in other Scriptures that we are to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the text we can see (vv. 5-6) that the word of truth, the Gospel, is COSTANTLY bearing fruit and increasing. It does this when people understand the grace of God in truth. I take it that as we grow in understanding grace then we will grow in bearing fruit. We will only bear fruit to God to the degree that we grow in our understanding of grace. The understanding of grace comes to us over our entire lifetime as we are inwardly taught to die to self and yield more and more to the workings of grace in our souls. It is not just a study of books that can teach us about it, but it is the very working of the Spirit of Christ in our souls that teaches us these things.

Once again we need to focus on the fact that it is only by grace that we can understand grace. We cannot work our heads hard enough to understand grace. We cannot apply works to obtain grace because grace is always opposed to works for grace or any blessing. The glory of grace is that we can only learn grace when Christ teaches us grace and yet He will only instruct us in our inner soul by grace alone. It is impossible to obtain a true understanding of grace if we think we can obtain an understanding of it by reading books, following rules, or perhaps by becoming more holy. True holiness is only obtained by grace since Christ Himself is our sanctification and He only gives Himself by grace alone.

It is the Gospel itself that constantly bears fruit and increases as people grow in their understanding of grace. The Gospel bears fruit when God uses it to draw sinners to Himself and they are regenerated and delivered from the kingdom of darkness. But it is also the case that the Gospel is about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the beloved Son. The Gospel is not just good news in order to be saved, but it is good news for those who are being made holy. Holiness is not some grim work the one with Christ has to do with drudgery, but the eternal God who lives within Himself as triune and in perfect joy and love shares Himself and His love and joy with His people. Grace is how God relates to His people and it is how He makes them partakers of His life.

As 2 Peter 3:18 tells us, we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Surely this is more than just an intellectual grasp of the facts, but instead we are to learn about grace and we are to live in that grace as we grow in that grace. If we grow and bear fruit as we understand grace more, then we should give ourselves with diligence to pursue this grace. As noted in the Bible, however, grace is only given to the humble. We should seek the Lord for humility in order for Him to bestow us with grace. All spiritual blessings are given in Christ and as such we are to seek Christ for humility and grace as both are blessings. We will never have grace until He has humbled us, yet we will never grow in grace apart from a correlating work of His working humility in us.

This should instruct us greatly. We will never grow in grace as we are commanded to do unless we grow in humility. A proud person will never obtain any grace unless God humbles the soul first, so people should seek humility from the hand of God. A person should never expect any spiritual blessings since they all come by grace unless that person is seeking to be low and humble before God. We cannot possibly keep our pride and obtain true grace at the same time. The Lord is constantly working in His people to humble them in order that He may give them grace and then all other blessings by grace. The understanding of grace can only come to those who desire to die to self and pride and so seek those things.

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