Grace is a characteristic of God that seeks to give good things to those who are undeserving because of His love. The entire point of Christ’s death for sinners was based upon God’s idea that He wanted to give us a gift that we could not earn, nor did we deserve.
Grace is one of the characteristics that is most often lacking in human beings. Although we recognize grace when it is given to us by others, we seldom are able to show the same grace to people we meet who need it equally as much.
Grace is the quality that those who have come into a new relationship with God through Jesus Christ, should endeavor continually to cultivate in their treatment of others.
In order to fully understand God’s Grace and how it is most effectively observed and illustrated, we must look at Jesus.
The characteristic that best illustrates a person of Grace is one who is first humble. In Jesus’ life, though He is God, we see an incredible character of humility in all of the things He says and does. This humility enabled Jesus to express incredible Grace to the world and show is an example that every person who trusts in Christ should follow.
Humility For Grace, Illustrated
An abiding principle of humility, is the fact that—as soon as any person thinks they are humble, they have suffered its loss. Humility is not a quality that can be sought after; it comes from the heart. A person of humility is not someone who is weak, meek, or powerless. A humble person is not someone who doesn’t think too highly of themselves, they just don’t think about themselves at all.
In the chapter: “Coming Humbly,” we see how Jesus did not regard His rights and privileges as God—as something to be held on to, but chose to set aside His glory as the eternal God and submit Himself to death, for us.
The prophecy of Psalm 8:5-6 is clearly written for the Messiah, as supported by the statements of Paul in the New Testament, who applied this verse of scripture to Jesus.
Psalms 8:5-6 “For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet…”
—Literally in the Hebrew language: vattechasserchu meat meelohim, “You have made him less than God for a short time”
New Testament Fulfillment:
Hebrews 2:5-9 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him? 7 You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands. 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
Philippians 2:6-8 (Jesus) “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Hebrews 12:2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
1 Peter 3:22 (Jesus) “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”
1 Corinthians 15:24-28 “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He has put all things under His feet.’ But when He says ‘all things are put under Him,’ it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”
A Humble King
It is clear from Hebrews 2:5-9, that Paul believed this verse from Psalm 8:5-6 is applicable to Jesus. Paul attributes the submission of Jesus to the Father, for our benefit, as the fulfillment of this prophecy. This tells us that Paul believed Psalm 8:5-6 is Messianic and specifically written for Jesus.
Although the Messiah is the eternal God, when He takes the body of a man, He will voluntarily humble Himself in order to complete our salvation. As a result of His obedience, the Messiah and all those who have trusted in Him, will be resurrected from the dead, into life eternal.
1 Corinthians 15:2o-24 “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.”
The concept that God would become a human being is difficult enough to grasp; added to this impossibility are the details of this prophecy; that God would humble Himself and die for the very beings He created.
If we would sit in a quiet place and contemplate the visual images of the torture which Jesus endured, while considering that the one we are observing is the Eternal God, we should be deeply moved. Contemplating that God has come to us in the form of a man, humbly allowing evil men to torture and butcher Him; this is undoubtably one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.
Let us presume that there is a Being who has the power and ability to speak the universe into existence as the Bible describes, how is is possible that He would permit malevolent men to savagely beat and crucify Him? If it had not been for the fact that this entire event was carefully and methodically recorded for us by the very people who saw these events take place, none of us would ever believe such a story.
I suppose that this is one of the reasons that some people find the account of Jesus’ death and Resurrection, so hard to believe. It really is an amazing narrative, of extraordinary proportions. Many Christians have failed to consider the stunning reality of how Jesus lived, died, and then rose from the dead—because we have heard this story on so many occasions. We have grown used to hearing the story of the Lord’s torture, to the point where it no longer impacts us in the way that someone who is hearing it for the first time—would respond when such things are told to them.
From our vantage point as human beings, it is difficult to understand why God would be willing to become one of us, just so that we could viciously put Him to death. If the roles were reversed, most people would say that they would not give their life, or be willing to go through horrible torture and suffering, for anyone who has conducted themselves in the manner that we have, during our brief history upon the earth.
The real suffering that Jesus endured was not experienced during the six hours in which He hung in agony upon the cross. It was the mental and spiritual anguish that He felt as He was abandoned by God and forsaken, as He was made sin for us.
Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
The Father turned away from the Son when He took all our sins upon Himself. Just as we cannot have fellowship with God because of our sin, the Father could no longer have fellowship with the Son when He became sin for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He (the Father) made Him (the Son) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
None of us could possibly fathom what it was like for the Son of God to be separated from the Father when He died in our place. Imagine the unbroken love and fellowship, which had existed for countless eons, suddenly shattered because our sins were placed upon Jesus.
Jesus did this for us because of His great love. Even while we were still sinners, He was willing to die for us. This is God’s Grace—illustrated in the most vivid colors possible.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The deep humility that Jesus displayed before the world, is a shining example of the kind of service and humble heart that each one of us should exhibit in our own lives. Jesus’ example of humility, in submitting His life to the Father on our behalf, is the fulfillment of this prophecy of from Psalms 8:5-6.
An Acceptable Time
Before the Lord created the universe, He had all of us in mind. It was His plan to create one planet in which human life could be blessed and sustained. It was only because sin entered our world that Jesus was compelled to come and rescue us. This plan of God to save us, was not an afterthought. In the mind of God, He determined that on one specific day, He would send His Son into the world to become one of us. In this next prophecy, Isaiah describes an “acceptable year,” an appointed time, a moment in human history, when our Savior would arrive and make the day of salvation a reality.
Isaiah 61:2 the LORD has anointed Me… To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD…
New Testament Fulfillment:
John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
2 Corinthians 6:2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
A Limited Offer
In the Old Testament, the Lord describes a period of time in which He would accept man’s repentance and a turning to the Messiah’s sacrifice for his salvation. This offer of pardon has a fixed and finite time when it will be valid. God has given all people the limit of one life to make a decision—to accept God’s offer of pardon or reject Him. If a person should die without receiving the Messiah’s sacrifice as the payment for his sins, this person will be lost forever, with no hope of redemption.
Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
The Grace of God, though it is far-reaching; of long in duration, and with great patience; it does have a limit. God will not strive with us over our sins and our great need for salvation, forever.
The time period in which God will hear a sinner’s repentance and plea for salvation is now; before we die; before Jesus returns to make His final judgment on the world. If anyone should remain obstinate and refuse the Lord’s offer of forgiveness, this offer will expire, and there will be no right of appeal.
Isaiah 61:2 is a proclamation by God that the acceptable time of salvation is now. The Messiah has come, and He has finished His sacrifice. The time to repent and receive Him is today. To put off this decision, even for an hour, is to jeopardize our eternal life. We do not know if we will still be alive a moment from now. God holds each one of us responsible to hear and respond to His offer of salvation.
To those who have never heard of Jesus Christ, God will rely on the witness of our conscience that He has placed into the heart of every person. He will hold each one of us accountable for the knowledge we have of our sins and our need for salvation. This is a truth that God has placed within the heart of every person. God has also placed a knowledge of Himself inside our heart, so that we are without excuse. Finally, God is known instinctively by every person, by the things that He has made. He knows that when we see the beauty of the earth, the wonder of the universe, and the miracle of human life; we all know that God exists. To deny this truth is a lie against our own conscience. God knows, that we know, and He will hold us accountable for what we do with this knowledge.
Romans 1:19-21 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…
By these two immutable truths, even those who have a very limited knowledge of the Bible, or Jesus Christ, will still be held accountable for what they do know, in their heart, as-well-as, creation.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 … He has put eternity in their hearts…
Psalms 98:2 The LORD has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
There will be no valid excuses heard when a person stands before God to give an account for their life. The Lord will not accept the excuses of those who claim that they didn’t know, because He has hardwired this information into our being. He has given us the Bible that contains His word, His promises, and His warning. If we choose not to read or ignore it, we will not be able to use this as an excuse. He sent people into the world with the message of salvation—to every generation. In every place of the Bible where a person stood before God, we see that they were unable to speak a word. Those who stand before the Lord simply collapsed before Him and are unable to utter a word or even stand.
The unsaved will be aware of their guilt and the fact that there is no valid excuse for why they refused God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.
In the Book of Revelation, John is taken to heaven to see the events of the Tribulation period that will occur on the earth. As John stands before Jesus, he falls before the feet of the Lord, unable to utter a single word.
Revelation 1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.”
When the Angel Gabriel tells Zechariah that he is going to have a son and that he will be the forerunner of the Messiah, Zechariah does not believe the words of the angel. Because of his unbelief, he is not able to speak until after John is born.
Luke 1:20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.
The day of salvation is today. The time when the Lord is ready to hear our prayer of repentance and our turning to Jesus Christ, is now. God loves us all. He has proven this fact beyond any doubt by giving us His only Son to die in our place. His patience, though it is long and enduring, will not last forever. There is a finite period of time in which God will hear the prayer of the sinner. There is an expiration date appointed for all of us. I pray that you will make your decision for Jesus and receive Him as your Savor, before the time allotted to you has expired.