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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Grace's Influence Part Two

Titus 2:11-12
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
NIV

Wow. Did you see that? The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared (become obvious, become visible or known) to all men (humanity). This blows me away. First, the grace of God is what brings salvation, and second that it has appeared to all people. Let's focus, for now, on the first part of this verse: The grace of God that brings salvation—

We discussed what salvation means—it is what Jesus carried out for all who will accept and receive—deliverance, preservation, health and well-being. Jesus accomplished our deliverance from sin and all the results of sin in the earth. If we believe Jesus is who He said He was, and did what He said God sent Him to do—we have received salvation through faith because of grace. By grace we're saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8).

James Strong (Strong's Concordance and Dictionary) defines grace as "…especially the divine influence on the heart (of humankind) and (that influence) reflected in the life." That's what grace is, and we see in Titus 2:11 that said influence in our heart is what brings salvation.

The dictionary defines "influence" as "an emanation (springing up, source) of spiritual or moral force, the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion or force or direct exercise of command. The power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways. One that exerts influence. To have an effect on the condition or development of: modify, affect."

So—God influenced our heart to affect us for change—from sinner to saved and from cursed to blessed, from rebellious sinner to obedient child. When we allow grace to mix with faith in what God has said about us, then that influence begins to display and reflect the changes to those who knew us before. The people who knew me in my twenties, knew a different person. Grace has changed me. I know I am not all God intends me to be yet, but I also know He is faithful to complete the work He began in me. The point is, His influence in my heart has changed me and I reflect that change in my life. It is reflected in the words I choose (to bring life instead of devastation), it is reflected in how I treat people, it is reflected in the work I do and how I live. Life is so much better now than then!

Knowing that grace is influence, makes me want to go through all the Bible says about grace again. I counted it once; seems like that word is used more than 125 times in the New Testament. I am convinced God wants us to know His grace and all it brings to our lives.

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