Grace, faith and love in Christ Jesus

landscape-11Timothy 1:14: And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Paul was giving an explanation for his amazing transformation. He was once a murderer, a blasphemer, a persecutor. Now he won’t hurt a fly and he is totally devoted to the course of Christ. He did not try to claim that his transformation was because of anything he had done. He actually called himself the chief sinner (1Timothy 1:15); the least of the apostles (1Corinthians 15:9-10) who is not even worthy to be called an apostle. He said the manifestation seen in his life was not something he achieved but the tremendous flow of the grace, faith and love that were in and of Christ Jesus.

Grace

Grace is a transformation factor. Paul said the grace of our lord Jesus was exceedingly abundant for him, cancelling out his past deeds, making him into a different person entirely.

There was a time a messenger of Satan was buffeting him, then Jesus told him: My grace is sufficient for you (2Corinthians 12:7-10). Jesus wanted him refocus on His grace, focus on what Christ is doing and can do, and not what the devil is doing or can do.

Somewhere else in another place in the bible, we read that we can come to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in times of needs (Hebrews 4:16). What are the times of need? It is all the time.

David prayed: let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight oh Lord (Psalm 19:14). He was asking for grace. From that prayer, it was clear that we need grace all the time. This is because if we are not sleeping, we are either thinking (meditation of the heart) or talking (words of the mouth). Its either something is going on mentally within us or verbally with our mouth.

In another place David added that it is the Lord who gives his beloved sleep (Psalm 127:1-2). It is therefore clear that we need the Lord 24/7. Sleeping, thinking or speaking, we need his grace.

Grace is divine influence on the heart; causing it to beat with the rhythm of God. A man of grace is a man who is constantly being changed for the better. If you are not in pursuit of change in yourself as an individual, then you have concluded that you have no need of grace.

We are meant to be changed from glory to glory, setting our gaze on Christ (2Corinthians 3:17-18). We need change from being foolish to wise (Ephesians 5:15-18), from being children to becoming matured (1Corinthians 14:20), from ignorance to knowledge (Romans 10:3, 2Corinthians 2:11), from being weak to becoming strong in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10), from lukewarmness to being red hot for the Lord (Revelation 3:15-22), from sickness to health (James 5:14-15), from being unmarried to married (Isaiah 34:16), from poor to rich (2Corinthians 8:9), from listlessness to a sense of purpose (Ephesians 2:10), from being weak in prayer to being a prayer junkie (1Thessalonians 5:17, Romans 12:12).

The list of possible changes goes on and on. And the answer that God gives is grace; as Jesus told Paul: My grace is sufficient for you; My strength is manifest in weaknesses (2Corinthians 12:9).

Weakness is a sense of neediness and that is the precondition for the manifestation of the grace of God. To express neediness is to be poor in spirit. Jesus said that blessed are the poor in spirit because theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).

Faith

Paul did not claim that faith originates from him; the faith that he operates in where in Christ Jesus. Jesus said that we should have faith of God, because the faith that we express emanates from our union with God.

Faith is the currency of the spiritual realm. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). It penetrates into the realm of God and brings the reality supernatural, of heaven, into our lives. Faith bridges the gap between the natural and the supernatural. It makes the impossible possible (Mark 11:12-14, 20-24).

Jesus walked in the reality of the supernatural in his time. But he didn’t think that those things he meant he was extra special. He was forthright about showing the disciples that with faith they can reproduce any supernatural dynamics that see in Him. He told the disciples that greater works than what they see him do, would someone who believes in him do (John 14:12). He added that apart from Him, they can do nothing (John 15:5).

The faith that Jesus have is operational 100 percent of the time, which is the kind of life he invites to share. That is part of the package of eternal life that he bequeathed to us through his death.

Faith allows us to see possibility in impossibility. Paul credits Jesus with all the faith he expressed in his time, to chart new territories for the gospel, enter new locations and make impacts, moving on regardless of the opposition, persecution death threats etc. nothing else explains this except faith in Jesus that drives him.

Love

Love coloured Paul reasoning, that is why he could be so passionate about Christ. Nothing can get done in the kingdom of God except fired by passion for God. Of Jesus Christ it was said that the zeal (heightened passion) for God’s house consumed him (John 2:17).

Love adds the factor of commitment. John wrote that we should be careful so that we don’t allow the love of the world to choke the love of God in our heart; love not the world nor the things in the world, if love the world the love of the father in not in you (1John 2:15-17).

The things that are in the world are: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. These reflect what people pursue apart from God. There is the need to possess things that drives people (lust of the eyes), need to meet the (sometimes legitimate) needs of the body (lust of the flesh), and also need to be rated highly by men (pride of life). It is in those three ways that the love of the world manifest. And the two main ways that love is expressed in real terms is in the use of time and money, either love for God or of the world.

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