Grace through Faith
God’s grace and our faith are two recurring elements throughout Scripture. In fact, we often don’t recognize how regularly we deal in grace and faith on a daily basis. Everything that God created is a gift and every breath that we have is a tangible grace given to us. And we live moment by moment in a state of faith or doubt, often fluctuating between the two. We do this even whether we consider God regularly or not, it is a part of how we operate. But grace through faith is an area that we don’t always operate in.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary uses these words when defining grace:
- “Unmerited divine assistance”
- “A virtue coming from God”
- “A state of sanctification”
- “disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency”
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
When defining faith, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary uses these words:
- “Allegiance to duty or a person”
- “Fidelity to one’s promises”
- “Sincerity of intentions”
- “Belief and trust in and loyalty to God”
- “Firm belief in something for which there is no proof”
- “Something that is believed especially with strong conviction”
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 NASB
“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”
Hebrews 11:3 NASB
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 NASB
God initiated grace
So we have these gifts that God is constantly pouring out on everyone. Whether they know Him or not. For instance, the person that is extremely talented at an art or sport was born with a level of ability. The brilliant minds that invent things that change our world were not able to make themselves smarter than others. And the fact that Adam and Eve weren’t immediately annihilated when they disobeyed God was an act of grace.
We act in faith or in doubt all throughout our days. We worry about relationships with people or we choose to believe the best. When hearing a diagnosis of sickness, we are filled with either despair or a firm belief of getting through it. A hard season tempts us to doubt God’s love for us, or we believe His love is helping us through.
But we also have special moments of grace where God makes Himself known in the process of blessing us. We see in the Bible that our response of faith in these moments has an effect on what follows them. Mary probably didn’t ask to be the mother of our savior, but God graced her when she didn’t expect it. And she responded in faith saying “may your word to me be fulfilled”, before becoming pregnant with Jesus (see Luke 1:38).
However earlier in the same chapter, Zechariah doubted that in his old age he would father John the Baptist. Because of this he was made mute (Luke 1:5-25). I believe part of him becoming mute was so that his doubt would not be expressed further in his words. When he wrote in agreement with the word of God, he was suddenly healed (Luke 1:63-64).
I have many of these moments, Praise God, where He initiated something in my quiet times with Him. There are times where I didn’t respond in faith, and times where I did. I’ve grown to respond in faith more, but the first time that I recognized God speaking to me He said…
“I know you more than you know yourself. And I love you… enough to give my son to die for you.”
Now that’s a pretty intense word from God especially considering it came to me when I hated myself and Him! Even though I didn’t respond in faith until months later, the word stuck with me. The next time He spoke to me, I did respond in faith and it literally changed my whole world.
I’ve had to learn to have faith in the words that He speaks to me. He leads me to trust Him more and move into places where I am not confident in my own ability. As I have trusted Him more, I have been blessed more.
I’ve seen time and time again now that when I waver in my faith, it never goes well. Actually it often brings about what I fear. But He works it all out and I do straighten up again and see the good that comes out of it. When I praise Him and choose to believe Him no matter what I see or feel, He pours out blessings.
Man initiated grace
“As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened.
Matthew 9:27-30 NASB
In this verse we see the blind men request something of Jesus. They initiated this interaction and received healing grace. There are many examples of this in the Bible where people ask God to move on their behalf. Technically the initiation always leads back to God – the blind men couldn’t ask if Jesus wasn’t present. God leads us into knowledge of what is available and that He is able and willing to give.
But my point is that we take part in the course of our life. God allows us to make choices that affect how much we see of His goodness. He allows us to make bold requests of Him, and to believe He will come through or not. Jesus said in Mark 11:24 NASB…
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”
Before Jesus went to the cross He told His disciples…
“Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”
John 16:23-24 NASB
He says something very similar in John 14:13-14.
God is always looking at our hearts and James 4:2-3 is a warning about asking with wrong intentions…
“You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
James 4:2-3 NASB
Taking the verses above at face value should lead us to pray with hope and expectation. We should be taking the things in our life to God and believing He is going to answer. I am learning to believe for more than forgiveness, necessities, and getting to go to heaven when I die.
I’ve not written recently because I’m in a focused season of praying and expecting complete healing for my daughter. I won’t go into too many details now, but she has struggled with many issues for years. I can’t describe the pain and fear that comes when you think you won’t be able to communicate with your child. But praise God, we have seen amazing improvement in her over the last year and a half. This started when we began to believe God was not only able to heal her, but willing.
We started learning what different Christians believe about healing and found some common things that are supported by the Bible. Applying those truths in faith, our daughter has progressed quickly in all the areas that concerned us. Even more in the last few weeks, as my family has felt led to pray specifically for her each day. I’m writing a devotional as I go and hope to release that in the next couple of months.
What is your area of need? What bold prayer are you believing God will graciously answer?
By grace through faith
I believe that we receive God’s grace gifts very similarly to how we receive salvation.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB
The sacrifice of Jesus affords the world forgiveness of sin (John 3:16-17 & 1 John 2:2), but salvation is received by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Everyone in the world is not saved because not all have believed (John 3:18 & Romans 10:9-10, 13-15) but it is God’s will that everyone turn toward Him (2 Peter 3:9).
Salvation – we believe Him for this. Sometimes we may waver in our belief that we are really saved. But many churches have gotten good at teaching grace and faith for salvation as well as the assurance of salvation. We do not back down from the truth of it though we may not see evidence that it has occurred. Unfortunately, we are not as good at teaching grace and faith for what else God wants to do with us…
- Heal the body, thoughts and feelings
- Give power to do what He says
You may say that you don’t see these things being fulfilled. The result of sin is that the world is currently under the sway of evil one (1 John 5:19). So, we do not experience the fullness of heaven, but we are meant to pray and expect…
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
God wants to do all of the things listed above in a relational way that is individualized to each of us. His Word shows His character, promises, and truth, but will we believe? Would you receive everything He wants to give you by grace through faith?
Now faith is…
I’ve learned that I am more of a skeptic than I would like to admit. I picture myself as a man of faith, but looking back I see that I have doubted many things of God. It’s sad that even in light of Scripture we will find ways to explain truth away because of our experience.
We are predisposed to look at evidence in the natural rather than see the natural change when we believe God. We judge our understanding of the Word, our faith, and God sometimes by what we see. But remember…
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”
Hebrews 11:1, 3 NASB
Faith is in Him. It is in His character and His Word. Our faith is in who He says we are – the relationship He wants with us. Faith is in what He says He wants to do. And faith is not in what we see.
My question to you
What has God initiated to give you?
Maybe you felt like it was too hard to believe at the time, you thought you didn’t want it, or it wasn’t what you expected. I encourage you to revisit that.
Also what bold thing would you dare to ask God for?
What about healing, spiritual gifts, provision, purpose, or fulfillment of a promise He has given before. For the most part fulfillment takes time (look at the hall of faith in Hebrews 11). But do not let this weaken your faith in Him and what He has spoken to you.
“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”
– excerpt from Romans 4:18-22 NASB
Let me know in the comments what your answers to these questions are!