Essential Principles of Grace

Steve Behlke   -  

Living fully by grace is essential; it’s the key to joy, freedom, and power in Christ. In Acts 6, Stephen’s life demonstrates this truth. His passion for God’s grace and His radical trust in Jesus transformed and empowered him.

Luke says Stephen was “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). Then he adds Stephen was “full of grace and power” (Acts 6:8). This reveals an important connection: faith opens us to God’s grace and the Holy Spirit empowers us.

For to whom does God give His grace?

God gives grace to the humble.

But who are the humble?

The humble are those who trust Him; i.e., those who believe or have faith in Him.

Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit and power. He was also full of faith and grace; he understood the principles of grace. This in part fueled his passion for the Lord and the Gospel of God’s Grace in Jesus Christ.

These are important principles for you and me to know:

1) Grace is the unmerited favor and lovingkindness of God freely lavished on the undeserving, regardless of merit or performance, either before or after.

2 Timothy 1:9 [God] has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.

2) Grace alone makes us fully embraceable to God. Grace alone justifies us.

Galatians 2:16 Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law, no flesh will be justified.

3) Grace is above all, relational.

Grace is the boundless, unconditional love of God that invites us into a relationship with God despite having nothing to offer Him.

Joseph R. Cooke, “[Grace] is what God does when He reaches down in love for us—sinful as we are—and welcomes us into a relationship with Him.”

4) It is not only sinners that are saved by grace through faith, but believers are saved (sanctified, delivered, rescued) by grace through faith, each day.

In other words, we are saved by grace through faith, not only initially but daily.

It’s common to think believers come to God by grace but once we are saved we have to prove ourselves worthy and show our gratitude and perform our very best or else we prove to be false believers who actually aren’t saved. WTH?

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

We fret so over our sin. Yet for the believer, sin is no longer even the issue, right? Jesus completely dealt with it. God wants us to trust His love and be led by His Spirit, these are far greater pursuits in your life.

We fret so over our sin. Yet for the believer, sin is no longer even the issue, right? Jesus completely dealt with it.

5) Grace is a gift that must be received. Receive in Christ and walk in it with Him.

These principles reveal that living by grace – receiving God’s boundless favor and love freely – is the key to joy, freedom, and power in our lives. Stephen’s life demonstrated this truth in such a radical way that it transformed and empowered him to face violent persecution with wisdom, grace, and power. His example calls us to live fully by God’s amazing grace.