Aug 25, 2023 Assessing the Impact of God’s Grace on Us – Words of Grace Blog – August 25, 2023
This Sunday at Grace Community Church we will consider the parable of the failed vineyard in Isaiah 5. While letting the weight of Isaiah’s words land as they will in our hearts, we will look beyond Isaiah to Jesus, the true vine from which a new vineyard grows and bears fruit for God’s glory (John 15).
Related to this theme of fruit-bearing for God’s glory is the testimony of the Apostle Paul. He wrote about the impact of God’s grace on his life. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” And, in Philippians 1:22, he said that life on this earth meant “fruitful labor” for him. He understood that his labor was accomplished by the grace that God supplied.
This week I found myself asking two questions aimed at assessing the impact of God’s grace on my own life.
First, what am I by the grace of God? Or, asked negatively, what am I not by the grace of God?
Paul reflected on being an apostle by the grace of God just after he said he was a former persecutor of the church. He saw the two sides of the impact of God’s grace on him; the former (what he was in sin) and the current (what he became in Christ). There is no doubt that Paul never forgot the “used to be” and the “but now” of Christ’s grace toward him.
Do you remember your “used to be” and your “but now” of God’s grace? Surely you haven’t forgotten. If you haven’t thought about it in a while, go get alone with Christ. Read Paul’s words again. Add your name to this verse and reflect on all the things you once were and all the things you are now because God chose to save you by his lavished grace through the death of his Son Jesus Christ. Assess the impact of grace by remembering the reality that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
Second, what is the grace of God working in me?
Paul said the grace of God toward him was not in vain. God’s grace was a power that worked something in Paul, and it worked through him to do something. God’s grace so defined and dominated his life that he said living on the earth meant fruitful labor. Paul wasn’t perfect, but there is no doubt that his life changed and that he labored by the power of God’s supply through the Spirit.
Are you seeing evidence of God’s grace in your life? Are there qualities like humility, courage, love, and faithfulness growing in you because you are in Christ? Are there sinful things no longer in you, or are in you to a lesser degree, because of God’s grace? Is there some service for God’s glory flowing from you because grace is at work in you? If you are not seeing the fruit of God’s grace in your life, then go get alone with Christ. Don’t try to add fruit to your life by willpower and lots of service projects. Get with Christ and talk it out. Ask him to come in. Give him free rein of your life. When he says repent, trust, receive, obey, or rest, then do it. Abide in him and in his love. Then the fruit will grow. Fruitfulness is the impact of God’s grace toward you.
Isaiah 5 shows us the need to assess the impact of God’s grace in our lives. Paul gives us an example of one who assessed the impact and lived by the power of grace. Jesus is the grace of God. Think on these things this weekend. Join us Sunday for worship.