Enabling Grace of God (2)

Each of the three main chapters on spiritual gifts, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4, as well as 1 Peter 4:10, tells us two things. First, every child of God has at least one spiritual gift given at conversion and, second, we need grace to use our gift profitably.

Every child of God does not have a speaking gift and may not have a public gift, but I believe that every child of God can have the gift of “helps” (1Cor 12:28). This gift has the greatest variety. We can all be a help in one way or another.

In Acts 27:17 they used helps to under- gird the ship in a storm. The word used there for “helps” is different, but by application, we can all be a help to keep the assembly together when there is trouble.

Romans 12:3 says, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (KJV). This faith is a “working for God” faith. C. H. Dodds, a clergyman commenting on this passage (Rom 12:1-8), makes an important and honest admission:  “It is obvious that the apostle Paul never envisioned the division of God’s people into clergy and laity that later developed.” He is indirectly acknowledging that God’s Word does not support a clergy.

“For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the Same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles: And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision” (Gal 2:8-9, KJV). Paul could write, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1Cor 15:10, KJV). Spurgeon wrote, “It takes more grace than I can tell to play the second fiddle well.” We all need God’s grace to play the second fiddle well. God gave Barnabas the grace to play the second fiddle well for the apostle Paul.

Grace for getting along with one another

We all need grace from God to have a right spirit. Albert Ramsay used to say, “Keeping your own spirit right is the biggest job you’ll ever have” or words to that effect. We sometimes should pray as David did, “Renew a right spirit within me” (Psa 51:10, KJV). We all need grace from God to continue in a right spirit with our brethren. We should “walk … with longsuffering forbearing one another in love” (Eph 4:1-2, KJV). We need to make allowances for one another. All of us might well wear a sign, “Please be patient with me, God isn’t through with me yet.” Every one of Paul’s epistles begins and ends with the grace of God, usually the last verse or very near the end. Only three other books have grace at the end (Heb 13:25, Rev 22:21 and 2Peter 3:18, KJV). “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

There are only three books where Paul desires grace for the spirit of his readers: “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit” (Gal 6:18 RV). Galatians 6 begins and ends with the word, “brethren” in the RV. Philemon 25 says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit.” (I think it is significant that, in both cases, it is the full title of our Lord used, for it is submission to His Lordship which will enable us to show His grace, and no one ever was more gracious.) Philemon was to receive his runaway slave Onesimus back again. He was to forgive Onesimus. We as well as Philemon need the grace of God to properly forgive from our hearts and in our very spirits. “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you” (2Tim 4:22, KJV). In a dark day we need our Lord Jesus Christ Himself to be with our spirits and His grace to be seen in us.

As a young boy, I had a temper tantrum. My mother said, “Walter, you have to do something about that temper of yours. Some people have done something in a temper that they were sorry for during the rest of their lives.” I’m thankful for the way my mother brought me up.

To dwell above with saints we love
That will be glory.
To dwell below with saints we know
That is a different story.

We all need the enabling grace of God to get along with one another.