Grace Gives, Faith Receives
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
It is hard to receive isn’t it? Someone gives you a surprise gift at Christmas, you did not think to purchase them a present. The moment is awkward. You have to receive with nothing to give. Our tit-for-tat obligatory works mindset does not want to receive unless we can give something back. We hesitate, we obfuscate, and we apologize. We do everything we can not to receive that gift.
We treat God that way, too. He gives us the grace of his Son’s life and death and we attempt to pay him back by performing better. We just can’t receive all that God has done for us. We must do something in return to prove to God that we are worthy of his love. We reject grace because it just can’t be that simple. We think we must do something in return, but that is not the way grace works. “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace” (Rom. 11:5-6).
As Anglican pastor, John Stott, has noted, “Grace is God’s free and unmerited favour, loving the unlovable, seeking the fugitive, rescuing the hopeless, and lifting the beggar from the dunghill to make him sit among princes.” Grace is taking in all of what Christ has done for us in his life and death and simply saying back to the Lord, “Thank you.” We receive by grace all the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
God has called us to be great receivers. When have a need, ask of God, and we will receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need (Heb. 4:14-16). In times of temptation, in times of despair, in times of confusion–look to God, ask, and you will receive.
Someone has said that great saints are great receivers; men and women who take their holiness by faith, and who go on taking it by faith . . . . In others words, if you are impatient, you have his patience; if you are impure, you have his purity; if you are bitter in spirit, you have His grace; if you are critical in spirit, you have His love; if you are worldly in spirit, you have His glory.
The opposite to everything that I am by nature, is in Christ; and He by His Spirit is in me: therefore in every moment of satanic temptation I may look up to Him and say, “Lord, in this situation I claim Thy grace, Thy patience, Thy purity, Thy love, Thy holiness.’
Alan Redpath, “Fourfold Challenge to Holiness,” Daily Thoughts from Keswick: A Year’s Daily Readings, ed. Herbert F. Stevenson (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1980), 349.