“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was with them all.” (Acts 4:33)
The meaning of grace. The most common understanding of the word “grace” is “God’s unmerited favor.” In other words, even though we were sinners, deserving of judgment, God looked upon us in love and forgave us. This, however, is only half its meaning. It also means “God’s enabling power.”
“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thes. 2:16, 17)
Not only does His grace make us accepted into the family of God, but it also provides the power we need to live out the Christian life. Two scriptures indicate the 2 aspects of God’s grace in every believer.
1. God’s unmerited favor - “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—and not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
2. God’s enabling power - “...In love He predestined us to be His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace [enabling power], which He has freely given us in the one He loves.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)
In salvation, not only is God’s unmerited favor expressed (in that we receive forgiveness and restored relationship with Him even though we don’t deserve it), but so also is God’s enabling power—for it is only by His power that we can be transformed. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17)
This principle truth of grace continues throughout our walk with God. In every area of our Christian lives, it is God’s grace that causes us to grow and be strong—God’s enabling power given to us without any merit on our part. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:8)
In our relationship with God - as we walk with Him each day - we constantly meet situations that would try to overwhelm us. Our response to God is to trust His word. We express our trust through obedience. This proves we believe what God’s word says despite what the circumstances might indicate. God’s response to our faith is His grace - His enabling power, which causes us to triumph in every situation.