By David Gray
“Amazing Grace” is the favorite hymn of millions. I suppose it has blessed more people, calmed more troubled hearts, and inspired more devotion to the Lord than any other Christian song in the history of the world. John Newton certainly was exalted by the true spirit of divine inspiration when he penned:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Twas grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
Of all the wonderful blessings which God’s Word reveals are given humanity by the loving hand of God, grace is probably the most misunderstood. Some think that it is actually a license to sin. Others teach that grace has predestined some to be saved while barring the door forever to the rest. Still others twist grace to mean that God conveniently and blindly accepts their sinning and somehow turns it into righteousness. A segment of Christendom even goes so far as to teach that grace removes from man his power of free choice, so that once he believes, he is made into a kind of robot. Even though he may turn reprobate, revelling and delighting in the utmost filth and depravity, through grace he is forced to go to a sinless heaven whether he wants to or not. Some people’s grace is a disgrace!
Oh but how different is the true, wonderful grace of God! Even though grace in the minds of many has been so warped and twisted by those who teach “easy believism” that it is hardly recognizable as the marvelous gift of a loving God which it is, you have a right to know the great scriptural truth of the grace of God. I want to tell you what grace truly is, and the amazing yet wonderful power that grace provides for you, and how through the grace and love of God your life can be changed and made new. Listen to these wonderful words:
“… exceeding riches of his grace … ” (Ephesians 2:7).
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
The word “workmanship” is the Greek word poiema, the word from which our word “poem” comes. It literally means “masterpiece.” The body of believers, not a denomination, but those truly born again of the new birth of water and Spirit, the Church of the living God, the Bride of Christ which will some day be raptured, or caught up, to forever be with the Lord, this Church is called the Masterpiece of God!
While God created the worlds and everything in them including every living creature in seven days, it is taking two thousand years for Him to create His masterpiece, His Church! And you and I have the great honor to be part of it!
We are told in these verses that it is all done by grace, the exceeding riches of His grace, for by grace are ye saved.
Since grace is the means by which we are saved and through it God creates His masterpiece, His Church which shall be with Him through all eternity, it is of the most vital importance to us to know and understand just what grace is, and how we may obtain it. Many people have tried to define grace. Here are some definitions I have come across: grace has been called God’s good will or free, unmerited favor, or the undeserved goodness of God shown to fallen man. Another: It is the free and eternal favor of God, spring of all spiritual blessings bestowed by God. Still another: Grace is love unbought, mercy undeserved, and favor unmerited. Another says: It is that wonderful thing by which a sinner may be saved unto eternal glory, and without which the best and most righteous man shall not be saved. Finally this definition: It is everything really good and eternal, given and received absolutely gratis.
All of these definitions describe grace and tell us how wonderful it is, but do not actually tell us what it is, nor how we ~ay obtain it in our individual lives. And friends, that is the important thing. It is like someone saying that there is a wonderful creature that is very friendly and loyal to you, that will help keep burglars away from your home. You are thrilled but want to know actually what this creature is and where and how it may be obtained. You can spend a lifetime without the benefits of this creature and die without it unless someone tells you it is a dog and that it may be obtained at your local pet shop.
So I have never been satisfied with these definitions of grace, wonderful as they are, because they are not the complete answer. Let me tell you, friends, what grace truly is, and then I am going to tell you how you may obtain the marvelous benefits of the grace of God.
The definition I have found most satisfying and helpful is this: grace is the power God gives us to fulfill the will of God in our lives. Whatever the will and purpose of God is for you, grace empowers you to fulfill it. Instead of grace leaving the sinner as he is in his sin, but changing the mind of a holy God so that He can overlook or ignore his sin, as some teach, grace actually changes and transforms the sinner. Oh, the amazing power of grace!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).
The sinner does not have to remain a sinner, the weakling does not have to remain weak, the dope addict does not have to remain a dope addict, the homosexual does not have to remain a sodomite, the thief does not have to continue to steal, the prostitute does not have to continue being a harlot the alcoholic does not have to remain a slave to alcohol. Because the power of grace transforms weakness into strength, ugliness into beauty, uncleanness into purity, sinfulness into holiness, and enmity into love. Grace is all-sufficient, for all classes, in all circumstances unto all ages. Grace fills the vacancy in the heart, and it meets every need of God’s people in the time of sore trial. It IS the nature of divine grace to flood all the depths and to overflow all the heights of man’s need. Oh, the amazing power of grace!
How may this marvelous grace become mine? How may I obtain it? How may the power of grace begin to work its wonderful transformation in my life? Listen to the gracious words of Jesus:
“… ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you … ” (Acts 1:8).
You see, friends, the power of grace is the power of the Holy Ghost. It comes in the Holy Ghost! The invitation Jesus gave is still today reaching out to embrace you. Jesus said,
” … If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly (or innermost being) shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, [the Holy Ghost] which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given [that is, at the time Jesus spoke these words] because Jesus was not yet glorified)” (John 7:37-39).
But now He is glorified, the Holy Ghost is given and its amazing power, the power of grace, the power to fulfill the will of God in your life, is offered you.
Perhaps some weary, sin-sick soul is crying out even now, “Brother Gray, what shall I do? I want, I need the grace of God, the power of God, to cleanse me, to fill me, to change me. What shall I do?” The Apostle Peter answered that very same question with these words, in Acts chapter two verse thirty-eight: “Repent (that is, turn away from your sin and turn to Jesus, the Lamb of God), and be baptized (that is, immersed or plunged, into water) everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ (and friends, there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, Acts 4:12), for the remission of sins (this is the power of grace in action, bringing about remission, or the complete removal of all of your sins), and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (and that is the power God gives us to fulfill the will of God in our lives).”
I will continue this theme by bringing you a message on, “The Riches of God’s Grace.” But may I close this message by speaking directly to your heart for a moment. This was all purchased for you by Jesus on Calvary. The songwriter said,
In looking through my tears one day,
I saw Mount Calvary;
Beneath the cross there flowed a stream
Of grace, enough for me.
Grace is flowing from Calvary,
Grace as fathomless as the sea,
Grace for time and eternity,
Grace enough for me.
And friend, there is grace enough for you. You need no longer be weak, a slave to your sins, or deceived by a powerless “easy believism.” The amazing power of grace, the power God gives you to fulfill the will of God in your life, that power is yours in the Holy Ghost. It was purchased at Calvary, delivered to mankind at Pentecost, and it can be yours now. Let God’s Spirit accomplish in your life what you have always longed for, by the amazing power of grace.
This article “The Amazing Power of Grace” by David Gray is excerpted from Harvestime Guest Pulpit Library, 1982.