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"Jesus Increased"

(Luke 2:40-52)

Lesson 4 -- first quarter 2004
December 28, 2003

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications

God's effective grace for you

Jesus' perfection and sinlessness are unique and unrivaled in human history. Even as a child, no moral, spiritual, or character flaw revealed itself in Him. Whether child, youth, or adult, we know we cannot attain to such a life record. Yet we can be sure that something about Him can also be true about us. Luke 2:40 says that even while yet a child, "the grace of God was upon him."

God promises that same grace to us! That means the same grace that worked so effectively in the life of Jesus can work in your life too. And because of that, you too can be pleasing in God's sight.

But what is grace anyway? Many words have been said and written to answer that question. No doubt plenty of good explanations and definitions have resulted from those efforts. For now, though, I present Philippians 2:13 as a key to understanding grace: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." One dimension of God's grace is the desire and ability to do His will. Keep that in mind as we look a bit at a few verses focusing on grace for you.

"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:1). Our ability and strength to please God comes only from Him. I believe we need to do better at appealing to Him for His grace for daily living. That exercise will keep us focused on Him, which will surely lead us to victory. Oh, and speaking of exercise, this verse suggests that we must continually exert ourselves in purposefully doing those things which we know please Him. How strong are you in that department?

"And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). I so easily forget that the Bible is the Word of His grace. God's Word needs to be my daily choice and focus if I wish to grow and be strong in grace. God and His Word will not only give me the spiritual maturity and strength I want, they will also give me a place among those who are His chosen ones.

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8). In every situation and under all conditions, God's grace will enable you to please Him. So despite your weaknesses and failings, don't give up. Rather, let them remind you to call on God for His abounding grace. Never forget that His "grace is sufficient" and His "strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Instead of giving way to despair over your humanity and sin, take hope in His "grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28).

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble" (James 4:6). When I choose humility, God chooses grace for me. Putting God and others first in your life will free the grace of God to work in your life.

"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord" (2 Peter 1:2). Here you have another way to experience God's grace: Develop your relationship with Him.

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