If we’re going to love like Paul, then we need the grace of God to do so. Look at the first two verses of Paul’s letter:
“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:1-2)
There are some important steps here we need to take into consideration. First, to love like Paul, you have to be like Paul. He called Timothy and himself “bondservants of Christ.” That means they were slaves to Christ; they had given up their rights to themselves. Also, look at how Paul addresses the Philippian Church: saints. This means Christians; this means you must be born again. Salvation comes before slavery in the dictionary and it is the same in the Christian life.
We get saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, and then we become bondservants of Christ to do the work He has planned for us.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
So what is this grace of God? The Thompson Chain Reference Bible defines it as “unmerited favor, available to the sinner for salvation and the redeemed for victorious living.” Did you get that last part? Grace is for we Christians “for victorious living.” Are you living a victorious Christian life? Time to get some of God’s grace.
Why is that so important Bro Dave? Good question! First, Jesus thought it was important:
“And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” (Luke 2:40)
I can’t tell you how many Christians tell me that “my spirit is willing but my flesh is weak” and that they wished they had Biblical wisdom. These are the same people who only crack their bibles open with the pastor or Sunday School teacher (if they actually go) tell them to. To grow close to God, you must know God. So how do we do that? Read His love letter to you or His manual for living or Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth book. Read the Bible.
The grace of God is key to agape love brothers and sisters. Paul knew that the power he needed to serve Christ came from the grace of God:
“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:9-11)
Did you see that last part? The foundation of all we do must be Jesus Christ. So you see, you have to be saved.
What I’m trying to tell you is you need to be saved.
Paul knew the importance of salvation because he remembered his life as Saul and that all he was and did for Christ was because of the grace of God.
“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” (1 Corinthians 15:9-11)
Paul considered himself unworthy and that’s what made him work harder as a Christian. Too many church trout Christians swim from church to church demanding to be served and spiritually fed as if they honor the visiting church with their presence. If that’s you then I wouldn’t give you a half-a-hallelujah for your salvation. Grace brings humility because we know we are who we are because God gave us something we did not deserve: grace; and He did not give us something we did deserve; condemnation, which we avoided by mercy.
To love like Paul and to live a victorious Christian life we need the grace of God through Jesus Christ and I want to end this with two more verses. The first one is Paul’s admonition to his spiritual son Timothy:
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:1)
The second verse I want to share with you is the very last verse in the Bible, so if you’ve never made it there before, turn there now:
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:21)
That’s how the Bible ends; the Holy Spirit closed the Holy Book with those 12 words.
Do you have the grace of Jesus Christ? Did I mention to you that you needed to be saved for this to work in your lives?
Are you saved? Have you confessed your sins to Christ and acknowledged that He paid the sin offering for you and that because He died and rose alive again after three days in the grave, we can have eternal life with Him in Heaven? Have you made Him your Lord and Savior?
I pray you will if you have not. If you have I pray you will avail yourself of the abundant grace of God, a wellspring of eternal life that never runs dry.
I’m going to be off tomorrow so I pray you have a blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
If you’re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and use “Please add to Devotional List” as the subject.
Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers