Only by His Grace: Part 1
September 13, 2018
September 13, 2018
Christianity isn’t about being a worm and letting life roll over you. It’s about understanding the principles that open the power of God to you.
You and I don’t deserve to be saved. There’s nothing we can do to earn our way to heaven. We can’t take enough communion, say enough “Hail Marys,” go to church enough, or give enough money.
We are saved only by God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Grace is a gift to us that produces not only eternal salvation but access to the God-kind of life on this earth as well.
If we don’t understand the grace of God and its operation and applicability to our lives, then we will limit the things salvation can do for us. Whether it be healing, protection, or deliverance, we need to understand not only what the grace of God is but its application to our lifestyles in order to experience the fullness of life He’s made available to us.
You Humble You
Look at 1 Peter 5:5–7:
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (KJV).
There are three main points from this Scripture I want to touch on briefly. Number one: God doesn’t humble you. You humble yourself.
Some people humble themselves without realizing it. They go their own way and experience the frustration of their inability to deal with various kinds of adversity. That frustration will eventually bring them to their knees. They’ll be confronted with the fact that they are powerless to generate a meaningful life outside of the grace of God.
But the Lord doesn’t want any of us to have to learn that way. He doesn’t want us to be humbled by our circumstance or the enemy of our souls. He wants us to voluntarily humble ourselves beneath His mighty hand.
Hopeless Without God
The second point is that the grace and power of God will only work within the environment of humility; therefore, we need to understand what humility is. Now I could preach a whole series on humility, but I won’t take the time to do that right now. I’ll simply say that humility is, in a basic sense, a refusal to exalt oneself. It is an acknowledgement of one’s inability without God.
When you humble yourself, you recognize your inability to produce anything that will bring contentment or fulfillment in this life. As long as you think you can make enough money to find a little happiness or to buy those things you want, as long as you think if you just had a little success in the marketplace or a little recognition as a good businessman then you can be happy, you’re in for a resounding disappointment. You cannot do anything to find fulfillment or contentment in this life outside of the grace of God.
This heart recognition is where humility begins.
Humility isn’t the mindset of “I’m just a lowly person who can never do anything right.” It isn’t getting walked on by the circumstances of life and never raising a defense against what might come your way.
Humility has to be interpreted within the context of other scripture such as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and “You’re more than a conqueror through Him who loves you” (Romans 8:37). The idea is this: Without God you can do nothing, but with God you can do all things.
This is genuine humility: A heart recognition that without the Lord, you can’t pull it off, but with God you can do all things. To the people who recognize this truth, God gives grace.
He Will Exalt You
The third point is that it is God’s will and plan to exalt you. But as Peter wrote, He’ll exalt you “in due time.” (We’d like to get rid of the “due time” part and get on with the exalting, right?) Due time will come if you humble yourself. And as time passes, God will give you visibility, more and more influence, more success and more increase. That’s what “exalt” means. The reason why is simple. When you’re living for Him, your life will make the kind of statement that He is the only One who gets the glory, not you.
Look at James 4:6–7, 10:
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. … Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (KJV).
Do you see what the theme is? Humility. And the humble person is the one who receives grace from God. Look at these verses in the Amplified:
But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. … Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].
Christianity isn’t about being a worm and letting life roll over you. It’s about understanding the principles that open the power of God to you and bring increase in every arena of your life. That increase is God lifting you up so your light can shine brightly in this dark world and bring change to bear.