Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1 KJV
It’s Christmas time. The time we celebrate Jesus’ birth with gifts, festivity and worship. It is the time we thank God for sending His only begotten Son to this earth and thank Jesus for coming. It is also a time for all hell to break loose. Thus, it is also a time when we should be especially strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Grace comes to us by the Holy Spirit
The grace that is in Christ Jesus comes to us by the Holy Spirit. Briefly, here is how the Holy Spirit was sent to be with us and in us.
Jesus had told His disciples He had to leave them so the Spirit could be poured out.
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. Jn 1428-31 HCSB
“But now I am going away to Him who sent Me, and not one of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going? ’ Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. Jn 16:5-11 HCSB
Three days after Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, God raised Him from the dead. Jesus walked on this earth for forty days after that, speaking of the Kingdom of God. Then, God took Him to into heaven and seated Him at His right.
My former narrative, Theophilus, dealt with all that Jesus did and taught as a beginning, down to the day on which, after giving instruction through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom He had chosen, He was taken up to Heaven. He had also, after He suffered, shown Himself alive to them with many sure proofs, appearing to them at intervals during forty days, and speaking of the Kingdom of God. Acts 1:1-3 WNT
Shortly after Jesus ascended into heaven, God poured out the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). With the Spirit came grace.
The moment we believed in Jesus, we were born again and regenerated and became new new creatures created in Christ Jesus. Now, the Spirit is with us and in us. Thus, we can strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Two primary aspects of grace
The first side of grace illustrates God’s love. It is, “The higher Christian signification, based on the emphasis of freeness in the gift or favor, and, as commonly in New Testament, denoting the free, spontaneous, absolute loving-kindness of God toward men, and so contrasted with debt, law, works, sin.” VWS
The second side of grace is God‘s power working for, in and thru us. God empowers us (Eph 1) to do good works in which He long ago planned for us to live (Eph 2:10). He gives us everything we need to grow up in all ways into Christ and do the work He sets before us.
God’s power working for, in and thru us
God’s power working for us
By His power, God helps us walk worthy of the Lord. He has made us able to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. God our Father has delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His Son
For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him. Col 1:9-14 HCSB
God’s grace and power working for and in us
In Romans 7 Paul shows us how the flesh works against us. Then in Romans 8:1-2, he begins: “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (HCSB). Paul continues, elaborating on the ministries of the Holy Spirit, the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us and if God is for us, who is against us
Luther emphasized grace. He summed up Paul’s letter to the Romans and to us this way.
The summary of the entire epistle cannot be given more beautifully than in the words of Luther: “Thus we find in this epistle in richest measure what a Christian should know, namely, what Law, Gospel, sin, punishment, grace, faith, righteousness, Christ, God, good works, love, hope, cross, is, and how we should comport ourselves against every one, whether he be pious or a sinner, strong or weak, friend or enemy, and against ourselves. And all this well established with Scriptures, proved with examples from his own experience and from the prophets, that there is nothing more to be desired here. Wherefore it seems that St. Paul in this epistle for once wanted to condense the entire Christian and Gospel doctrine in a brief summary, and prepare an introduction to the entire Old Testament. For without doubt, he that has this epistle well in his heart has the light and power of the Old Testament in himself. Therefore let every Christian make it his common and steady occupation and exercise. Whereto God give His grace! Amen.” Link
I especially like his statement: “and how we should comport ourselves against every one, whether he be pious or a sinner, strong or weak, friend or enemy, and against ourselves.” CF: Eph 1:15-23
God’s grace and power works in and through us
When all hell breaks loose against us, we get strength from our God our Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore,
- with truth like a belt around your waist,
- righteousness like armor on your chest,
- and your feet sandaled with readiness
- for the gospel of peace.
- In every situation take the shield of faith,
- and with it you will be able to extinguish
- all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
- Take the helmet of salvation,
- and the sword of the Spirit,
- which is God’s word.
Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Eph 610-18 HCSB
The battle we are in is running rampant around the world because the world runs in the flesh mode. The tactics of the Devil have overcome billions of people. Yet, when the worldly hurt us, we must remember, “our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” With that in mind and spirit, we do not retaliate when the worldly hurt us.
There is absolutely no grace in the works of the flesh. We saw most of them displayed in our recent presidential race. I find it telling that those who are politically correct consider the works of the flesh politically correct. The world runs on the desires of the flesh. We follow the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit helps us walk full of grace.
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance — as I told you before — that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Let me interject here. Not inheriting the kingdom of God means they are heading to hell for eternity (Mt 25:31-46). “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Mt 25:46 KJV).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.Gal 5:16-25 HCSB
Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus
My wife and I participate in a small Zoom group. Together from our homes, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper and enjoy fellowship. If you would like to join with us for a one time connection (more on request), call or email me. Bill Bremer, Colorado Springs, 719-216-9055, email@example.com.