THE APOSTOLIC BENEDICTION: GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
“And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:16-17 KJV
For those joining us for the first time, we started on the subject of The Apostolic Benediction from capsule 18. This is commonly quoted but the significance is not commonly understood. The feedback I have received, confirms that this teaching is timely and appropriate. In the introduction we shared a few foundational thoughts. Paul, in his second letter to the church at Corinth meant this to be an affirmation, a statement of certainty. The addition of 'MAY' at the beginning as is often the practice in the modern church, removes the Authority necessary to enforce compliance in the spiritual. Secondly, if we live in constant awareness of this declaration, 'even when we are alone physically, spiritually, we are not really alone'. Lastly, unlike in the Old Covenant where the revelation of the divine is limited to God the Father. The Apostolic Benediction, gives a perfect functional expression of the Godhead in the life of a New Covenant saint.
Starting from this capsule, we would consider these functional expressions individually. We cannot do an exhaustive study, what I intend to do is show practical applications.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 KJV
John 1:17, says it all. Moses brought the law with all its harshness and punitive measures. Christ brought the UNMERITED, UNEARNED FAVOUR and TRUE NATURE of God. What a startling contrast! Starting from the very first step of salvation, everything we enjoy is the product of the sacrifice of Christ. This is the true definition of grace, to make you cease from toiling, stop you from trying to 'EARN' God's favour but receive it as a GIFT (Romans 11:6). The concept of grace was scarce before Christ, it was not freely available, with trickles here and there (Genesis 6:7-8). But see John 1:16 'and of the fullness of Christ we have received grace upon grace, meaning, Christ came to lavish grace on us (my paraphrase). The result of redemption is, Grace in abundance like the world has never known: Freedom from the condemnation of sin, freedom from demonic oppression, freedom from poverty with divine health and healing on top. This is what it means to have a savior.
Paul wanted The Corinthians to focus on such magnificent resources. Can you imagine the peace of mind if we only believe this? It would not matter whether you are in the crowd or alone. Faith will no longer be a struggle, because you know what you have access to. Grace gives you the assurance that what you are believing for already exist.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” Titus 2:11-12KJV
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
Romans 6:1-2 KJV
An in depth study of the two epistles to the church at Corinth would show you that they struggled with sinful and unruly behaviour. The cure for sin is; understanding what Grace truly means.
Grace sets you free from sin, (not to sin) because it teaches holy living, it makes sin distasteful (Titus 2:11-12). This is the flip side of grace, it creates such contentment when you know the depth of what you have in Christ. When you truly appreciate what you have, sin loses it's attraction because you are secure. The reason why Eve fell for the subtlety of the serpent was because she did not have a perfect understanding of her status, (none of us do perfectly, that is why we still sin to different degrees). Compare that with the three temptations of Christ and His responses. People sin because they think they are missing out, but if we truly appreciate the abundant provision of grace, you will go through 'the lean, mean times to reach the fat, rich times' (Philippians 4:12-13). This is something I constantly remind myself, because that is the purpose of the Apostolic Benediction. I hope you can see why there must not be any hesitancy if you are to maintain focus. Grace is the antidote to sin which leads to holy living (this requires a bit more explanation which we don't have space for here) Romans 6:1-2.
In the next capsule we would look at the second functional expression, LOVE. The two fits in very snugly. You cannot comprehend the unconditional LOVE of God in a practical way, until you taste the unmerited, unearned favour called Grace. No wonder it comes first in the Apostolic Benediction.
REMEMBER, IT IS 'THE GRACE........'!, AND NOT 'MAY THE GRACE......'
The feed backs I have are really encouraging, lets keep doing what we are doing, link your social medial sites to MinDGym.org.uk