Question: How does grace build us up?
Acts 20:32 “So 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 among all those who are sanctified.
After Paul warned them of savage wolves that were to come in and of men among them who would speak perverse things, Paul commended them to God and to the word of His grace which would build them up and give them Heaven.
The phrase “to the word of His grace” really caught my attention. Paul said this word of His grace would build them up and give them an inheritance among the sanctified. I believe Paul commends them to the word of His grace for two reasons.
Are we saved by works or by grace?
First, Paul knew that deceivers would come and try to put them back under the law.
Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Galatians 4:9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.
11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.
Collosians 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
When I share the gospel with others, I ask them, why should God let you into Heaven? Most of the time people will appeal to their good works. They naturally think that if they keep the rules that this will save them. Yet the Bible is clear that this is not the case because it is impossible for us to keep all the laws perfectly. As Paul, we must continue to reinforce that we are saved by God’s grace and not by our works. It is by grace that we will receive an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
How does grace build us up?
Second, to an ungegernerate man, grace may not affect them. A friend told me a story of a mother who gave everything she had to pay her son’s bail to release him from jail. But once the man was released, the man went and immediately committed the same crime the next day. Her grace in giving all that she had was not enough to change his behavior. But for a man who has been regenerated / born again by the Spirit of God, the grace of God does matter, and the grace of God does change behavior.
Below Charles Spurgeon says it best from his book, “All of Grace“.
…The more you try to produce penitent emotions in yourself, the more you will be disappointed; but if you believingly think of Jesus dying for you, repentance will burst forth. Meditate on the Lord’s shedding His heart’s blood out of love to you. Set before your mind’s eye the agony and bloody sweat, the cross and passion; and, as you do this, He who was the bearer of all this grief will look at you, and with that look He will do for you what He did for Peter, so that you also will go out and weep bitterly. He who died for you can, by His gracious Spirit, make you die to sin; and He who has gone into glory on your behalf can draw your soul after Him, away from evil, and toward holiness.”
Consider that our sin crucified our Lord. Reflect that He was forsaken for our sin. He proclaimed on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!” Yet He knew it was for our sin that He was judged. Knowing these things, how can we continue to be the same? His grace will motivate us to be holy like Him. We will not be able to continue in sin. And when we are weak and fail, His grace is never empty, but He continues to forgive us which motivates us even more. We cannot help but be built up by the word of His grace.
God bless, Bob