|Becky asked what was meant when God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” I thought I would give you what Pastor Don Moore wrote about “grace” in his book Christianese /’kris-ch n-‘eze/ language of the believers. (You can see more about the book at Pastor Don’s Website)
Page 39-40 “The Bible says, “ye are saved by grace” )(grace is empowering ability of God bestowed upon the believer as unmerited favor of the goodness and the kindness of God) “through faith, lest any man should boast”. (Ephesians 2:8)
Grace: In the church “unmerited favor” is the most common definition, but further clarification is needed. It is God’s pleasure to empower us, show us favor and give us exceedingly wonderful gifts. Holy Ghost power is a demonstration of grace in the life of the believer. The church would be much stronger if it would realize that unmerited favor is mercy but grace is the ability to access and demonstrate the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Jesus told the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you”. Therefore, grace is not just favor but is the bestowed blessing that is given due to favored status. Jesus was telling Paul to use his own Faith to bear up under the attacks of satan’s messenger and go on to defeat his enemy.
Mercy: is defined as God’s kindness and favor to the undeserving. Well, this is no different than “unmerited favor”. This error (of using the same meaning for grace and mercy) has been overlooked for years; probably because another definition for grace would force a change in theology and thinking. Many denominations teach a Gospel of suffering and salvation through poverty, illness, weakness. So we end up with “God is merciful and gives grace to suffer through to a Heaven we don’t deserve. Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” is often cited as evidence of God’s reluctance to heal and the suffering fate of believers. A careful reading of the passage, 2 Corinthians 12:7-12, shows that Paul was troubled, tormented, afflicted and opposed by a demonic spirit that influenced the people in the places he went to preach. There is no evidence that his “thorn” was physical illness. In verse 9 the Lord tells him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” The Lord says is sufficient. In the Strong’s Concordance, we see the word grace is 5485 “Charis…the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life including gratitude, acceptable, benefit, favor gift.” God affects man’s heart by giving him grace as defined above and this is then reflected in the man’s life. This grace comes with gifts and benefits – empowerment, not suffering. True grace can impart to one a supernatural ability to be longsuffering, but one can also be an overcomer. Paul states in 2 Timothy 3:10-11 “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at (Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra) – what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me”. We see that Paul was delivered, showing that God’s grace was sufficient once Paul received it and acted upon it. God’s grace empowered Paul and God’s mercy qualified Paul to receive the power.
Hope that is helpful. Sometimes I think we sell God short by not realizing the fullness of the Words that He uses in His Scripture.
Have a blessed Sunday,
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