Grace given at special times of need, especially during adversity or suffering.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV) And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Nearly three years ago I started a Grace category for this blog. I started the category with a four part series. In that series I wrote that; “Grace is the most important concept in the Bible, Christianity, and the world. It is most clearly expressed in the promises of God revealed in Scripture and embodied in Jesus Christ himself.”
Dictionary definition for grace;
a. unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b. a virtue coming from God
c. a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
I identified six types of God’s grace.
The kindness or favor God gives to all mankind, believer or not.
Matthew 5:44-45 (NKJV)44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Emphasis mine)
The provision of salvation through Jesus
Romans 5:15-17 (NLT)15 But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
The favor of God by which the Christian's salvation is kept secure in spite of sin.
John 10:27-29 (NKJV)27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.
The Spiritual Gifts that believers have been given by the Holy Spirit are serving grace. The Greek word translated grace, charis is the root of the word charisma which is the word Paul used for spiritual gifts.
Ephesians 4:7 (NKJV) But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
Following something that I read today, the Holy Spirit has prompted me to write more details about these six types of God’s grace, starting with what I read today about His Sustaining Grace in an excerpt from the book The Comeback by Louie Giglio.
Here a description of the book:
Have you ever longed for a comeback?
We all know what it feels like to have life disappoint us and not work out as we’d hoped. We all know what it’s like to long for something different, something better, something more.
The Comeback celebrates new beginnings. It offers encouragement and perspective, and it’s for you if you feel frustrated or confused, if you’re sorrowing or in pain, if you’ve made mistakes or are grieving, if you’re disappointed or feel as though life doesn’t make sense.
The good news is that God is in the business of giving fresh starts to people. He gives hope to the hopeless. Direction to the directionless. Help to those who need help. God is always good, all the time, and God’s plans will always prevail, even when our plans don’t.
God already knows what the solutions are. No matter what kind of disappointment or grief or pain or trouble or heartache you encounter, God always offers a new beginning, a change of heart, or a powerful spiritual turnaround. God offers the way forward, and his pathways are always good.
Your current circumstances will not get the final say in your life. God is the God of the comeback, no matter what kind of challenge you’re facing.
And your story can become a great comeback story too.
The excerpt that I read today, and the one that I am sharing, hit home in a personal way to me because in it Louie talks about those times when there is no comeback. Something has happened in your life that will never be the same again no matter what God does. For me it was the death of my wife of over 40 years. Ruth died, over three years ago, from complications caused by lung cancer. The day that she died, although God gave me His peace that passes all understanding;
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:5-7 NIV
However even with that peace and the knowledge that Ruth was now in the presence of God and that I would see her again, I knew that as long as I was still alive and in this body I would not see, hear, or hold her. A part of my life was gone forever. What I didn’t realize until today is that what has enabled me to go on without great sorrow is God’s Sustaining Grace.
Here’s are some excerpts from Jesus is Enough from The Comeback by Louie Giglio
“But what do you do when you can’t come back?”
Jesus is enough
That statement acknowledges there won’t always be happy endings to our comeback stories — at least not here on earth. Things break in this life and can’t always be repaired. Not every story has a happy conclusion on this side of eternity. We don’t understand the reasons God allows grief to come into our lives, but it does.
Still, within the journey, Jesus can become enough for us.
And that’s the strange sort of comeback that God’s Word offers. God can bring Courtney back from her deep loss in a way that only God can define, and the way God is going to bring her back is by being enough for her every day. And God can do the same for you.
I call this sustaining grace, a moment-by-moment grace. It’s the type of grace that God gives for each and every moment of intense grief, frustration, sorrow, agony, or pain. This type of grace is a tailor-made grace specially designed for each person. It does not transfer over, and it’s never repeated exactly the same way, and it’s not experienced the same from person to person.
This grace is specific. Timely. Personal.
This is the type of grace that God gives you when you get a phone call that changes your life forever. The shock of the blow hits you so hard, and your mind is a jumbled mess of questions. Where do I go now? What do I do? Who do I call? God gives you sustaining grace for that moment.
This is the type of grace that God gives you when you walk down a hospital corridor and know that behind the door is the body of the one you love. Nothing can prepare you for this moment. There’s no textbook for this. You have feelings of agony and shock that can’t be put into words, and God gives you a sustaining grace for that moment.
This is the type of grace that God gives you on the day you bury your spouse. You struggle to put one step in front of the other. You can hardly breathe. It feels like half of you has been buried in the grave. And God gives you sustaining grace for that moment.
The sustaining grace you receive in the first moment is different than the grace you receive in the second. And the grace received in the second moment is different than the grace received in the third moment. And in the fiftieth moment. And in the two thousandth moment. And every moment after that.
There is a grace for everything. God gives you what you need, and what you need is Him.
You feel His sustaining grace holding you together. You feel His sustaining grace as you fall apart. You feel this grace because God never leaves you or forsakes you. You feel this grace when you can only be still and know that He is God.
There’s a new grace for you when your child doesn’t live. There’s a new grace for you when your father dies. There’s a new grace for you on the first Father’s Day after your father dies. There’s a new grace for you when you lose a limb to an IED in Iraq. There’s a new grace when you know what’s lost isn’t coming back. There’s a new grace when what was dreamed is never going to come to pass. There’s a new grace when what was hoped for isn’t going to be seen.
This is not a grace that promises you that everything is going to work out for you as you’d hoped. This is not a grace that offers you any guarantees — except one. This grace is seldom fully understood. This grace can hardly be articulated even when it’s felt. This grace is nothing you need to produce on your own. This grace is what God gives to you when you have nothing left. This grace is the only hope of the moment, the hope of Christ today, the grace that Jesus is enough.
Excerpted with permission from The Comeback by Louie Giglio, copyright Louie Giglio.
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.