Daily Readings and Thought for September 8th. “THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST”
Paul ends his second letter to the Corinthians by stating (praying), “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” There are 3 key words here that must be ‘in’ our lives, day after day. Let us particularly seek to fully understand “grace.”
“Grace” (Gk. ‘Charis’) is a particularly special word for Paul; we rarely find it in the gospels, it is not in Matthew or Mark – and John only has it in his prologue (1 v,1-18) which causes us to think John’s first 18 verses were added later before he released his gospel for general circulation.
Luke, who travelled with Paul uses it in his gospel, but it is rarely translated as grace, for e.g. Luke 6 v.32, translated in the ESV as “benefit.”
We meditate on how Paul’s final words in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians which we read today sum up the spiritual principles that we should be developing – and which should now be operating in our lives.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.” We meditate on the fullness of Paul’s meaning here! He told the Ephesians, ” even when we were dead in our trespasses, (God) made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” [2 v.5] – and then Paul added in v.8, ” by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
It “is not our own doing” – we do not ‘earn’ salvation! That “grace” – that loving favour which Jesus has toward us, brings with it “the love” of the Father. It’s foundation was laid in his love for his disciples – and then it spread out from them!
Remember the prayerful words of Jesus we find in John ch. 17. After praying for his disciples, Jesus said, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” [John 17 v.20,21]
The initial ‘unity’ of the disciples as described in the early chapters of Acts – had a great effect – but true unity is founded on truth – in v.17 we also saw how Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
As we read of “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” and sense the spirit of this “grace” in action; let us take to heart the lessons in Paul’s words that we have read in Corinthians and try even harder to follow his example, “by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” [1 Cor. 15 v.10] How hard are we working? Our work for our Lord will show how fully we appreciate “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.”