Confidence in Grace — Gary Henry
His devotional today on Reaching Forward has deep and important implications for the broader Christian family to which I belong, the churches of Christ. Many of my brothers and sisters believe in grace, because it is in the Bible, but I’m not sure they trust it, have confidence in it. We’ve been taught (ironically, much like the Mormons from whom I escaped) that grace is for the obedient, and since we all know we’re not as obedient as we ought to be, how can we trust grace?
I am working on ways to make my blog a haven of grace — a place where we can talk and wrestle with real issues without fear, and a place where grace is fostered and trusted and encouraged. Look tomorrow for an announcement of a couple of new series, hopefully developing into conversations, starting here.
In the meantime, let me leave you with Gary’s words today.
Confidence in Grace — Gary Henry
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:10,11).
AT SOME LEVEL OF OUR THINKING, WE KNOW THAT WE SHOULD “TRUST” GOD. Whatever may happen, we understand that God can be counted on to help us get through our difficulties. But in practice, we find it hard not to worry. We become anxious about what may happen in the future, and we fear that we may not make it to heaven. The long haul often looks very long indeed.
Yet God CAN be counted on, and we ought not to let any discouragement cause us to doubt that fact. Never having failed us before, God is the ultimately trustworthy source of help. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
But here is something important to ponder: it is God’s GRACE that we should put our confidence in. The God whom Peter said would “perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle” his brethren was not just a powerful or a glorious God, but “the God of all grace.” One of the reasons we become fearful is that we know we don’t deserve God’s help. But by definition, grace is UNMERITED favor, UNDESERVED assistance, and that is what God’s help always is. Granted, God’s grace won’t help those who are actively and stubbornly refusing what they know of His will, but for those who are willing to take any step in His direction, they can be sure that He’ll HELP them take that step, whether they deserve to be helped or not.
We are rightfully thankful for God’s grace in forgiving our past sins, but grace looks forward as well as backward. The same God who graciously gave us a fresh start when we obeyed the gospel will help us in whatever way we need His help from that point forward. Yes, the way seems long and the obstacles seem fearful, but God will not begin a work in us and not finish what He has started (Philippians 1:6). He will see us through! That is precisely what grace means, and that ought to be the center and support of our confidence. Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed, and by His grace, we can make it the rest of the way.
“Thru many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come; ‘Twas grace that bro’t me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home” (John Newton).