The grace of God that I receive so readily, sing about so often, is not given for me to just bask in. We all identify with the words of the hymn – “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”. The grace of God, His undeserved favour, is part of our birthright in Christ Jesus. We have received it, revelled in it and been greatly humbled by it. Sadly, in some of God’s people, it is received in bucketfuls but ministered to others in thimblefuls! If I receive the grace of God and it stops with me, it has not fulfilled God’s purpose. How so? The grace of God is available to all in abundance, but we are to be channels of His grace to others. This is the glory of God. Jesus said, “….freely you have received, freely give”, Matthew 10:8.
God gives His grace to the undeserving, not because of merit on man’s side. I do not truly understand or believe in grace, until I minister it to others. It has to find an expression to fulfil it’s final purpose in giving it to the undeserving, to the unlovely – just as the Lord Jesus ministered it to us.
Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan challenges us, (Luke 10: 30-37). We cannot be all things to all people and meet everybody’s need, but for everyone of us, God will relate us to a certain person and their need. Will we be as the priest and the Levite in the parable, and “pass by on the other side”, or will we be as the Good Samaritan and be a minister of God’s grace?
Grace is the character of God’s Son. John 1:17 declares “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”.
After the crucifixion of Jesus, Luke 24: 13-30 gives the account of two of the disciples on the Emmaus road talking about the events surrounding Jesus’ death. They had an encounter with the resurrected Christ, but to begin with, they did not recognise Him. They had misunderstood Christ’s mission on earth, thinking He had come to deliver them from the cruel Roman rule and oppression. Jesus challenged them: “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to have entered into his glory? It was God’s salvation plan for Christ to suffer as the sinless Son of God, to be the first minister of grace and to go through the suffering of the Cross. If He did not fulfil His Father’s plan, we could not receive His grace. Christ suffered the physical pain for us so we do not have to go through that, but we do have to yield to the leading and promptings of the Holy Spirit to minister His grace to others. I have received His grace, it is the life and character of God’s Son. It is in me, but not OF me, it’s the life of Jesus Christ.
I find out if I truly believe in the grace of God if my life speaks, and I minister it to others – freely and unreservedly, no strings attached, no hidden motives.
The ongoing challenge is: Am I just a receiver of God’s grace, or am I a minister of it to others? “…freely you have received, freely give!”