• THE MEANS OF GRACE AND THE GRACE OF MEANS

    by Shawn Merithew on October 12, 2011

    All of your Christian life, you have had Sunday School teachers and Preachers teach you about the importance of daily prayer and Bible reading.  In fact, we have heard it so often, we can sometimes become numb to it, especially when we’re not doing it.  But there is another pitfall we can sometimes fall into — doing it for the wrong reasons.  If you think that daily prayer and Bible intake secures God’s love for you or earns you more of His blessings, you are wrong.  More generally, if you think that doing spiritual things is the sum and substance of what it means to walk with Christ, you are wrong. Our salvation is not based upon what we do in any form or fashion, it is based on our faith in what Christ has done, and the faith we have has been given to us as a gift of God’s grace (Eph 2:8-9).  So true life is a matter of true faith.

    That doesn’t mean that, as Christians, we simply believe and do nothing.  Prayer and Scripture reading are the foundational means of our communion with Christ (our primary ‘means of grace’).  But what we must understand is that these fundamental disciplines are, in themselves, acts of faith.  As a result of being regenerated through true faith, we believe that God is the One true God, we love Him as the One who has saved us and adopted us as His own, and we desire to know Him more intimately and to be like Him.  In faith, we mature spiritually by communing with Him, by extolling Him in prayers of faith and by filling our minds with the truth of His Person and Purpose.  Conversely, to read your Bible and pray apart from faith renders such disciplines useless.  “And without faith it is impossible to please Him for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb 11:6)

    This is our spiritual service of worship: to live by this faith, to present ourselves to Him in love, and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:1-2).  When we are thusly loving Him and seeking Him by faith, all the means of life become graces of Christ.  This is what Pastor Tom taught us so well in his Sunday evening sermon.  It is not only the things that we would expressly label as “spiritual” that are means of grace.  When we live unto Christ in all things, then all things become exhibits of grace; and these graces of means themselves become further means of grace.  Allow me to illustrate this truth by quoting pastor Tom:

    “It’s not only godly to teach your children Bible verses, the catechism, how to pray, and so on. That’s vitally important!  But, it’s also godly to play with your children, to enjoy them, and enjoy the world with them.  They’re just discovering God’s world.  It is godly to discover it with them, and to encourage them to worship by your own worship in light of who God is.  It is godly to give your children good material gifts as the Father gives us gifts, and spend time with them to express your love to them, just like our God, who will never leave or forsake us.  This is living out the gospel to your children.

    “Husbands, it is godly to date your wife.  It’s an act, not only of communion with your wife, but communion with God to date your wife.  You should certainly have couples devotions, and come to church together as a couple, and so on.  But it’s also an act of communion with God and walking with God to love your wives by taking them on dates. Or by having a night out, in.  Or by taking care of the kids so she can have some time for herself.  If done in faith to Christ and love to Him, those physical activities are spiritual and necessary, not low and worldly.

    “You don’t only glorify God at work by doing evangelism. It is vital. Do evangelism at work! But it’s also godly to work for the glory of God, and out of love to Christ and obedience to Him, to serve others.  So, that in doing your work, you become a manifestation of God’s service and love for others.  It’s godly to make money and to use your money wisely for God’s glory.  Wives, it is godly to clean your house, to form and fill your homes, putting everything in its place, to reflect God’s own creative activity.  It’s communion with God to wash the dishes in faith.  God is there in the kitchen. That’s not low and worldly. It’s subduing the earth as God has commanded.”

    Sometimes there is a tendency to think that your walk with Christ equals reading your Bible and praying, but faith is the true foundation of communion with Christ.  Scripture reading and prayer are only the beginning, the fundamentals, of walking with Him.  Each of us must deepen our understanding by recognizing that faith transforms the whole of everyday life into an exhibition of His grace.  In faith, your walk with Him is your whole life, in thought, feeling, word, and deed.  It is every activity of life (even the things we might call mundane) undertaken joyfully as graces of means and, therefore, means of grace.  I love you all dearly!

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