God did not send Jesus to the world so good people could be rewarded. He sent Jesus so everyone – also hopeless has-beens – could be saved by grace. None of us deserves any grace. It is not given for good people but for desperate people in need of salvation who want to receive grace upon grace. First grace to be saved and then grace to do good.
Augustinus has said, “For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them”. And he was right. Grace is not given for good men but for anyone who wants to receive it and be saved. And then we are – by God’s grace – able to do good works. It’s always grace first.
For grace is given because we’ve done bad things (and therefore need saving grace) but not in order that we could continue to do bad things. Grace is not a license to sin but a license to do good. Grace is so powerful that it changes people. Even desperate has-beens. Nothing or no one is wasted in God. When we surrender everything to God, he creates amazing things out of our messes. That’s grace. First, we receive saving grace, then we receive sustaining and empowering grace to do good.
Grace to do good
We don’t contribute anything but our sins to our salvation but we don’t need to. Jesus got us covered: he died for our sins. How can God want us when we are nothing? It is beyond me but that is how it is. God loves unlovable and creates beauty out of ashes. Hence there’s nothing you need to hide. You can come to Jesus just as you are, no need to cover up. The blood of Christ cleanses you so thoroughly that you will shine his brightness. Yet salvation is not the end, it’s the beginning of your new life empowered by God’s grace.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 1:19-20, NLT)
God offers us his own power for us. Use his grace to do good. God will show you what, when and where. He will empower you to make a difference. There’s enough grace to empower change in the whole wide world. Are you ready to do your part? Because grace does not replace effort but it empowers it and enlarges it. So pray hard, dream big, and go. Use grace to do good. And watch for God in action.
Let us pray
Thank you for your amazing grace,
that first saves and cleanses us from all unrighteousness
and then empowers us to do good for your glory.
We surrender to you, Lord.
Pour out grace upon grace.
Show us how to put it in good use.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Do you use grace to do good or do you keep all the grace you get for yourself?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let God empower you for his service!