The grace of God is typically taught from Ephesians 2.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Yes, we are saved by grace through our faith in Christ, and not by our good works. Sadly, however, the very next verse—which is essential to the concept of grace—is neglected.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This takes the concept of grace as it is typically taught into a rarified realm. By God’s grace we are created to do “good works”. These good works will of course be in obedience to his holy commands. What are the followers of Jesus Christ commanded to do? Let us summarize the commands down below.
- Live holy lives here and now on earth
Matthew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
1 Peter 1:15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
2 Peter 3:11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives…
- Love and serve one another in the body of Christ
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- The Great Commission
Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
Luke 10:9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
These are the “good works, for which God created us and prepared in advance for us to do. That is God’s grace.
Sadly, however, the grace that we hear about on TV and radio falls far, far short of this. Such popular grace more often than not focuses rather on the unconditional forgiveness of sin no matter what we’ve done or how many times we’ve done it. “God loves you unconditionally; there’s nothing you can do to make God love you any less.” This kind of “grace” tells us that no matter how imperfect we are during our decades of going to church on earth, we have a guaranteed one-way ticket through the Pearly Gates as long as we’ve said the sinner’s prayer.
This teaching is based primarily on 1 John 1:9.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
However, we forget what John wrote just two verses later.
1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.
The grace of God is available for us NOT TO SIN, and to live godly lives in this present age.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
It is God’s will for His people to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. And God’s grace enables us to do so. These are the good works we were created in Christ Jesus to do.
By God’s grace, a husband can remain faithful to his wife for four decades and more. By God’s amazing grace, a believing couple can stay happily married for decades ‘til death do them part. By God’s extraordinary grace, we can be one with God’s people, loving them and freely serving them.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
By God’s wonderful grace, we can heal the sick miraculously in Jesus’ name, we can preach the gospel fruitfully as recorded in Acts and make disciples in all nations. By God’s marvelous grace we can have a part in fulfilling the Great Commission during these very Last Days.
That is the TRUE GRACE of God revealed to prepare God’s people for the great and terrible Day of the Lord. That is the grace of God freely available to us through the obedience of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the cross.
We are personal witnesses of God’s magnificent grace.
Finally, there is the grace of God to be lavished—in the next life—on those who obey the Lord’s commands to the end:
Revelation 2:26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—
Revelation 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Just for obeying the Lord’s commands during our brief earthly pilgrimage, disciples will be given imaginable authority to reign over the nations for all eternity in the next age! That is G-R-A-C-E.