“But by the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not [found to be] for nothing (fruitless and without effect). In fact, I worked harder than all of them [the apostles], though it was not really I, but the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God which was with me.”
-1 Corinthians 15:10 (AMP)
Here we are smack dab in the middle of our journey. Just yesterday we talked about holiness, and the call to a life of greatness. On the menu today is grace. Have you heard about it before?
We’ll start with our verse. The amplified defines grace as “the unmerited favor … of God”. Simple, right? So simple that we can easily overlook the good stuff.
What’s “unmerited” mean? It simply means that it’s undeserved. Nothing is required in order to have it, and yet, it’s being had.
What’s favor? When you favor something how do you treat it? You’d treat it a little differently from the rest. Probably bend a couple of rules for its benefit…? Find loopholes…
I think we can safely say that favor is an unfair advantage.
Here’s Zondervan’s definition of grace: Dynamic force that does more than affect our righteous standing with God. It also affects our experience in life. It’s marked by God’s enabling work within us to overcome our helplessness. It’s the ability to go beyond our own ability. It gives us the ability to live like Jesus.
Let’s look at Paul for a paragraph. We can thank Paul for over two thirds of the New Testament. He was whipped, tortured, thrown into jail, and still had the gumption to continue his mission. He survived snakebites and shipwrecks, preached to countless multitudes, and debated smart, greek councilmen (and won). In short, Paul achieved greatness.
“How’d he do that?” you ask.
1 Corinthians 15:10. “I am what I am because of the grace of God.”
Now to Jesus. He saved the world from an eternity in hell, restoring relationship with the Creator of the universe. He knew what to say, when to say it, what to do and how to do it—whatever “it” was—at the exact right time that it needed to be done/said. He trained 12 nobodies to change the world, introduced a new standard of life to the world. Jesus, as a man, lived life like God Himself.
“…How’d He do that?!”
“Jesus needed grace?”
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52 NKJV)
Don’t forget how we’ve defined grace: undeserved favor of God.
I like what Paul said. He compared himself to the twelve apostles when he said, “I worked harder than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Let’s do a quick review:
Unmerited = Undeserved.
Favor = unfair advantage in life.
This means that God gives you an unfair advantage in life, and you didn’t deserve it, but you got it anyway.
Paul had an unfair advantage in life.
Jesus had an unfair advantage in life.
You have an unfair advantage in life.
All this being said, it’s pretty obvious that God didn’t just save us; He empowered us. Ephesians 2:8 says that it is by this “grace that we are saved through faith.” Faith means you believe it. And that word “saved” conveys a little more than we think. This amazing grace saved you from wretchedness, and it keeps the wretchedness out. Grace keeps us saved.
It’s no small coincidence that we’re talking about grace right in the middle of the Everyday Jesus Journey. Why? Because grace is everything He is for you everyday.[hr style=”2″ margin=”30px 0px 30px 0px”]
So how do we get this unfair advantage in life? The key is “undeserved.” Even Jesus said that He was nothing, could do nothing, knew nothing, and had nothing apart from His Father (John 5:19-21, 30 AMP). What is this a picture of? Humility.
“… for God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (I Peter 5:5 NKJV)
In order to live everyday grace, we need to move over and receive God’s unmerited favor by faith. Pride doesn’t think it needs help, and isn’t even looking for help. Humility receives the help, and not only wants it, but is grateful for it.
Today, move over and know that everything you have, are, can do, and know is because of the grace of God. Pride takes the credit, and humility is glad it doesn’t have to. Now, enter into His greatness.[hr style=”2″ margin=”30px 0px 30px 0px”]
“Lord, I’m moving over! Even though I did nothing to deserve it, thank You for Your grace. Thank You that it’s free! I’m looking for that unfair advantage in my current situations. It’s Your grace that has made me who I am, and it’s by Your grace that I will continue to be formed into Your image. I enter into this life of greatness by Your grace in faith. In Jesus’ name, amen.”