Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected – Jonathan Edwards
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul speaks of our light afflictions as we minister for the Lord. Even though ministry is difficult, it’s God’s grace (God’s undeserved favor) that allows us to participate. And how is affliction an “opportunity” and what’s the connection to grace and glory?
We gladly join the Apostle Paul in wanting to know the power of Jesus’ resurrection (see Philippians 3). But few hang with him as he also asks to participate in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering. Why is that? Maybe it’s because we are forgetful. Forgetful? Yes. The Word says we are perfected in suffering. And our future glory (2 Corinthians 4) is birthed in our afflictions. Grace connects them both.
Grace is a certain beginning of glory in us – Thomas Aquinas
God’s undeserved favor toward us is an incredibly encouraging thought. It is beyond our comprehension. So it must be communicated in various ways. Many have offered their own definitions. Here is a great one: Love that looks up is adoration; Love on its own level is affection; Love that descends is grace. God is Love and He descended to us. That he didn’t have to do that is just reason His loving grace is so incredible. But there’s more.
Our relationship with Almighty God, our Abba Father, is begun by grace. Most of us get that. However, our continued growth, provision, gifting, ministry, and future glory is all rooted in His grace. Such amazing, undeserved favor is humbling and exciting. And it prompts my attempt at definition:
Grace: The point where Divine Provision meets human need
We have no need that grace cannot, or has not, met. For your edification and encouragement please ponder the following proofs of God’s love for you!
- We have freedom from the law of sin & death – Romans 8:1-2
- We can become sons of God – Romans 8:14
- Grace allows us to receive a future glory – Romans 8:23
- God works in all things for our good – Romans 8:28
- God gives us all things: Himself – Romans 8:32
- Accusations of guilt won’t stick – we are declared righteous – Romans 8:33
- Separating us from God’s grace/love is impossible – Romans 8:35
- Grace depends on God not man – Romans 9:16
- God’s glory is displayed in mercy to sinful men – Romans 9:22-23
- Believers are a remnant chosen by grace – Romans 11:5
- Our gifts are employed in proportion to our faith – Romans 12:6
- Service is in proportion to our faith (serve one another) – Romans 12:7
- Teaching is in proportion to our faith (instruction in righteousness) – Romans 12:7
- We encourage in proportion our faith (encourage one another) – Romans 12:8
- Giving with generosity (imitating God – Ephesians 5:1) – Romans 12:8
- Exercise leadership with zeal (eagerness) – Romans 12:8
- We can show mercy with cheerfulness – Romans 12:8
Soli Deo Gloria!