Her beautifully crafted gown flowed gently to the palace floor. Her feet were adorned with delicately engraved sandals. Her hair fixed with the finest jewels, and her neck and wrists encased in costly gold. She stood before the king with nothing less and nothing more than what she was advised. It was out of her hands now, and yet the favor of God and the king were before her. Despite all the other women the king was able to choose from, ďChosen!Ē was the verdict Esther received. The kingdom was nothing she grasped for, but rather something that chose her.
Queen Estherís plight to becoming queen is a lovely example of grace. Grace is not something we run after or something we earn based on our talents, abilities, or strategies. It is simply favor poured on our lives for a specific purpose. ďHe saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.Ē (Titus 3:5).
Why is grace needed? Grace serves two purposes, 1) Salvation for eternal life and 2) to equip us to do Godís will upon the earth.
GRACE FOR SALVATION
In the New Testament, Godís grace was shown in more power and love than had ever been known or shown before. In Romans 5:15 we read that grace comes through Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ, grace for salvation does not exist. Godís gift of eternal life was absent until Christís work on the cross was completed. Jesusí death on the Cross was Godís plan from before the world was created. Sin brought death, separation from God and wrath on mankind, but it was Jesusí shed blood that erased all and Godís favor took its place. Without Jesusí willingness to die for mankind, we would all be eternally lost without any hope. ďI am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the GentileĒ (Romans 1:16) (emphasis added).
How do you know if Godís grace rests upon someone? Because of their faith in Jesus Christ. They believe that he is the Son of God and the work he did on the Cross as their finality to their salvation. Faith and grace work hand-in-hand with each other. It is grace alone that makes us righteous before God, but the backbone to Godís grace is faith in what Christ has done for us. When we have faith, our lifestyle will reflect this. Kindness, gentleness, love and mercy will all be lived out in our lives. James 2:20 states, ďÖthat faith without works is dead?Ē When we walk in faith, due to Godís grace, we will obey Jesusí words. When we do not live according to his words, we are not living by faith and therefore trampling on Godís grace.
GRACE FOR GOOD WORKS
In the book of Ephesians, Paul talks about Godís grace being administered to him in order to make the mystery of salvation known to the Gentiles (v.2-3). It was Godís favor upon him that chose Paul for such a responsibility. Remember it had nothing to do with his righteousness. It was Paul that was persecuting Christians in each city; and yet, God still chose to pour his grace on him and use him in an important mission.
There are many examples of Godís grace (favor) being on someoneís life. In fact, it seems like God uses the most unlikely candidates to bring His will into being. Like I mentioned before, Esther was shown favor in order to save the Jews from an untimely death (Esther 2:15). Mary, the mother of Jesus was ďhighly favoredĒ by God and brought the Savior into the world (Luke 1:28). Moses found favor in Godís eyes and set a whole nation free from bondage (Exodus 33:12). David found favor in Godís eyes, which allowed him to govern Godís people (1 Samuel 16:12).
Godís grace is nothing to be taken lightly. It is a gift from God that we are to cherish deeply. Apart from Godís grace in our lives, we would be lost, without hope and purpose. Godís grace equips and enables us to fulfill our purposes in Christ Jesus, for without him, we can do nothing.