Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)
When we live by the new covenant of grace, God impacts our lives. He makes us sufficient by sharing His sufficiency with us. "Our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant." This sufficiency is from His grace at work on us, in us, and through uswhich produces spiritual characteristics in our lives. A brief reflection upon the workings of God's grace will provide a helpful context as we begin to consider these characteristics.
The grace of God is brought to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us
full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). When Jesus came to earth as God's incarnate word to man, He came overflowing with the grace of God.. This abundance of grace in Christ is to be our ongoing spiritual provision for living the Christian life. "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for [upon] grace" (John 1:16). One work of God's grace built upon another work of His grace is to mark our pilgrimage day by day.
This constantly-available grace of God is able to justify and sanctify lives. "And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance" (Acts 20:32). God's grace, held forth by His word, offers us new birth by grace. When we believe on the Lord Jesus, we are justified (declared not guilty, righteous in God's sight). Thereby, we obtain the spiritual inheritance of the children of God: "the word of His grace, which is able to
give you an inheritance." This same grace of God then becomes our heavenly resource for progressive sanctification (practical growth in godliness): "the word of His grace,which is able to build you up."
Part of growing in godliness involves being set free from the dominating influence of sin in our lives. God's grace provides this liberating reality. "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14). As we learn to live by God's grace, instead of by our own best performance, the grace of God is working deep within us, bringing spiritual stability to our inner man. "It is good that the heart be established by grace" (Hebrews 13:9).
This working of God's grace in us marks us with distinctive spiritual characteristics, which will be examined in the passages of Scripture that lie ahead.
Lord God of abounding grace, give me spiritual eyes to see and a humble heart to receive all the ways You want to mark my life by Your grace, in Jesus' name, Amen.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon