Proper Use of Grace!
Amos 2:6 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;
Amos 2:13 Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.
Here, God warns Israel! . . . . I am pressed hard under your load of misbehaviors; I am feeling the weight of keeping your iniquities from spilling over your head; I am having trouble, as it were, keeping the just recompense of your misdeeds from tumbling over your life. Hear Oh Israel, the cart of grace, which has contained and constrained my anger and punishment hitherto, is getting full . . . . grace is running out, mercy is being pushed to her limits.
Grace, indeed can bear the weight of misbehavior because Grace flows from Mercy and Mercy can make a man go free as if he never offended. But Grace can be hard pressed by iniquity. Mercy can be overstretched by wrongdoing. Mercy can be over tasked. Grace is not indefinite. Even though His mercy is everlasting, yet Grace that covers misbehavior does come to an end.
This morning, dear Lord, I hear you sending a warning to my heart also.
Oftentimes, I have not done all I ought, I have even done what I ought not, yet mercy flows, I am forgiven and Grace is released in the place of labour. Grace covers up; Grace bears the weight of misbehavior and provides the pressure that correct behavior should have. The warning therefore is not to take that for granted as if that can be stretched unendingly. God can be hard pressed under the weight of such carelessness to the point that He will step aside and withdraw His hand to allow the just punishment for such sin or misbehavior!
Meanwhile, Grace, I do agree is unmerited favor. It is that which enables a man to partake of what he did not work for and so does not deserve. Grace surely covers up for deficiency, Grace fills up the valley dug by inadequacy and weakness and carelessness. Sometimes it is guilt from sin or carelessness that brings the feeling of undeservedness, but Grace can surely carry and bear up under the weight of misbehavior.
Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
When Grace has worked, it allows a man to walk straight on in life as if his life and activities has not dug holes and depths for him to fall, or drop into an abyss of difficulties and hindrances. Grace covers up the valley and makes it plain ground. Grace stretches from one end of the valley to the other end like a concrete bridge that enables a man to speed on and cover much ground as if there were no rivers or marsh land on his path of progress.
BUT ALL OF THIS IS JUST ONE SIDE OF GRACE!
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Grace is not given altogether just to cover up a deficit. Grace does not only deal with the negative or wipe out the effect of misbehaviors and weaknesses. Grace also is meant to propel a man higher than where his best legitimate and commendable effort can carry him.
Even when a man has not misbehaved, Grace is still relevant. When a man's life has risen to a healthy consistency by diligence, commitment and hard work, God doesn't turn away from him and say "This one is ok, he does not need Grace". God only says that to a man when he becomes proud and forgets that it was grace that brought to him wherever the point is that he has attained. The truth is that every man, strong in anything, only shows the evidence of having received Grace.
Yes! Grace brings up a man from his depths but it continues to propel a man unto his heights. When Grace meets a hardworking man, it suddenly shoots his productivity beyond the normal expectations of his hard work. When Grace comes upon a strong man, if he remains humble, it makes him do beyond his strength, beyond his wisdom, beyond his expertise.
Grace actually just propels higher! . . . . from wherever it meets you.
Grace adds, grace helps, Grace Lifts. If your weakness leaves you deficient and misbehaving, Grace lifts you to normalness. If your weakness however, is only an expression of desiring more, Grace lifts you into the superlative. Everyone needs Grace, everyone requires Grace. Lord! May I ever know my need of Grace!
But it is a tragedy to keep needing Grace throughout a lifetime just to keep from sin and misbehavior. It is failure to maximize Grace, if we only need it to compare favorably with those around. It is a misuse of Grace to perpetually utilize it to beg for pardon from sin, from carelessness and from disobedience. The first consignments of Grace should heal a man of backsliding permanently, so that he can make real, quick, steady progress in life.
Heb 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
The greater use of Grace is to present our best as weakness for Him to multiply. The greater need of Grace is to realize that at our best height, with our greatest strength and in our highest wisdom, we still fall short of the requirement for Glory in life and ministry . . . . And only Grace can make up the difference.
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Co 12:9 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.
God's real intention in giving Grace is not to give us a reason to continue in sin, carelessness and misbehavior. God's favorite recipient of grace is the humble . . . and the humble is hardly a perpetual sinner.
Act 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
Grace is meant to build up. Grace is given to augment, to energize and to accentuate. Grace makes a small effort achieve a great result. Grace makes a modest achievement radiate in glory as if it was more than it really is. Grace presents a man of medium ability as if he were a genius. Grace makes a legend out of a mere man. Grace grants a man space in the community of saints that has obtained mercy.
Grace is meant to make victorious. Grace is given to effortlessly leap over high walls. When a man has received Grace, he runs over giants as if they were grasshoppers. It is great grace that makes great men.
And God does this so that everyone who becomes great in His kingdom may honestly say with Bro Paul . . . .
1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Men truly great, know the inner labour of Grace. They have experienced the inner laborious working of Grace. They have both experienced the sudden failure of human strength and enjoyed the swift takeover of quiet inner grace. And by experience, they have learnt to go in search of grace when confronted with the tasks of life. They have learnt to maximize grace. They have ceased to fall back on grace only as last resort and as a standby to cover up failure. They are men who would rather go boldly yet humbly to the throne of mercy to receive help in their every moment of need.
They are the ones that have learnt the proper use of Grace!