O, To Grace How Great A Debtor
How do we define Grace?
Grace is God’s favor—unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor toward mankind; His divine influence on the heart.
How Precious Did That Grace Appear
When did God’s grace toward mankind come into place?
Peter wrote that we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, Who was foreordained before the foundation of the world to die and be raised from the dead that we might be born again (1 Peter 1:18-23). From eternity past, the purpose and plan of redemption and salvation from sin was in place. Before the first man became a sinner, before the creation of the world, the penalty had been paid, in God’s plan, before there was a charge.
When Adam and Eve sinned, their response was to hide from each other: they covered themselves (Genesis 3:7).
And they hid from God (Genesis 3:8).
What was God’s response?
He called out to them (Genesis 3:9).
God Is The Grand Initiator
Before there was sin, He initiated the plan of redemption and salvation from sin.
When sin occurred, God initiated contact with the sinners, questioned out their confessions (Genesis 3:11-13), then initiated the blood sacrifice that covered their sin and clothed their bodies (Genesis 3:21).
The Divine Influence
Jesus stated that He came to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13).
Paul wrote to Timothy that Christ came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
To the Romans, Paul wrote that God showed His love to us in that, while we were sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
God is The Grand Initiator. The whole premise of the Gospel, indeed, the whole of the Word of God reveals that God came down to man. That God calls out to each one of us. Grace—God’s unmerited favor poured out on sinful mankind.
Jesus said, “No one can come to Me except the Father draw him” (John 6:44, 45).
He also stated, “No one comes to the Father but by Me (John 14:6b).
And we know that the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8).
The Trinity is deeply involved in drawing us into salvation. God initiating our right relationship with Him.
Why do we love God?
Because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Initiation! The Holy Spirit sheds His love into our hearts that we may love Him in return (Romans 5:5).
How can we believe?
Without faith it is impossible to please God. So God initiates our faith in Him: God has dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).
The writer of Hebrews titles Jesus the Author—the Initiator—and the Finisher of our faith (12:2).
And He has initiated the means of growing our faith in Him through the hearing of His Word (Romans 10:17).
All good gifts come from our heavenly Father (James 1:17).
Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive?”
The answer to that question is “Nothing.”
The Living, Initiating God has given us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).
And that good work that He has initiated in us through salvation? He will finish it; of that we can be confident (Philippians 1:6). Hallelujah!
Does prayer start with us, or with God?
God invited Jeremiah to pray. “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not” (33:3).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs us to “ask, and it shall be given” (Matthew 7:7).
God told David: “Seek My face” (Psalm 27:8).
Paul tells us, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Jesus said, “Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
And on and on, again and again, we’re encouraged and commanded to pray, to ask of God Who supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19).
It is God Who Initiates our praying to Him
A saint of long ago penned this:
I Am the Ground of thy beseeching. First, it is My will thou shalt have it. After, I make thee to will it, and after that I make thee to beseech it and thou beseechest it. How should it then be that thou shouldst not have thy beseeching?
After I fought my way through to understanding that, my soul has since clung to the truth and victory it champions.
Come Boldly, and Find Grace To Help
We’re told that the Holy Spirit helps us pray, interceding for us (Romans 8:26).
Jesus also intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:25).
And God hears this intercession in our behalf because it is His will (Romans 8:27).
The Trinity is at work when we pray! Talk about powerful prayer Partners!
Should we not then have our beseeching?!
And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will—His initiating—He hears us; And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him (1 John 5:14&15).
When God initiates a prayer within you, obey and pray and hold on—don’t give up. You are about to see God, the Great Initiator, at work!