Strengthened by GraceAugust 29, 2023 Blogs
We all know what physical weakness means. It means we lack the strength to accomplish something. Maybe it is the inability to run the last mile on a day’s run. Or maybe it is the inability to lift the CostCo box out of the trunk. In order to do anything we need a corresponding strength. And we know what gives us strength physically. It is a combination of sleep, diet, and exercise (Acts 27:34). Youthfulness helps too.
We can lose or gain spiritual strength as well. Where do we get spiritual strength? There are a number of answers in the Bible. One of them is “grace”. Grace strengthens the church.
As Paul went from church to church in Acts 16 the churches were “strengthened in the faith” (16:5). I think it means specifically they were firmed up in the doctrine of the gospel of Christ. What strengthened the church or “firmed them up”? Grace. They were strengthened by hearing the message of grace reported from the Jerusalem council. It was this:
11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
The decision made in Jerusalem (15:11) was delivered to the churches (16:4) and it strengthened the churches (16:5). Grace strengthened them. The gospel of grace in Jesus Christ does not only save, it strengthens.
Paul encouraged Timothy to this end as well “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:1).
Strength then is something that we receive, something God gives. Like food turns into strength in the muscles, grace becomes strength in the spirit. By God’s strength we can “endure and be patient with joy” (Col 1:11). That is strength for spiritual and mental things.
If grace -- the knowledge of grace and faith in grace -- is the means of strength then what is the means of weakness? Just like we can actively weaken ourselves by our diet we can weaken ourselves by forgetting grace. When we forget what God has done for us in Christ we are doomed to weakness.
Remember God does not disregard us. It is not his desire to forget us and leave us in weakness.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
For His Glory,