At The Intersection of Faith and Grace
Faith and grace are both amazing things. Faith could be simply defined as believing God. The Complete Jewish Bible often translates the word faith as trust or trusting. Grace is God's willingness to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. It is His power at work on your behalf.
When you combine faith and grace, that is when things really begin to happen.
Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV) states:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Wow. We were saved because God was willing to use His power to bring us into fellowship with Him when we chose to believe or trust Him for salvation.
Our faith alone wouldn't be enough to save us- or to accomplish anything spiritually. Our trust in God cannot make anything happen unless God is willing to operate in His power to bring it to pass. According to Hebrews 11:6, we know that it takes faith to please God, but God must add His grace to the package in order for that faith to produce anything.
God's grace alone wouldn't be enough either. His grace has been extended to all of mankind. He has provided His power to save all. II Peter 3:9 (KJV) says that He is not willing that any should perish, but we can see that not all people are saved, are they? Faith, or our believing and trusting Him, must be combined with that grace for it to be effective.
So, if it takes both faith and grace to be saved, how are we to continue to live a victorious Christian life? The same way, of course. To walk in the promises of God, we must combine faith with grace.
First, however, we must understand how faith comes to us. Romans 10:17 (KJV) explains it.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
It is a bit clearer in the New English Translation (NET):
Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.
This tells us that faith comes through hearing God's Word. If we need faith for healing, for example, we should get in the Word to study, meditate on, and speak scriptures about healing, as well as listen to anointed preaching about healing. As we do, faith is coming and we are positioning ourselves to believe God in that area. Then God's grace can bring about the healing we need.
When I was a new believer, I used to think that I had to "try" to have faith. I figured I needed to concentrate hard on having faith and make a real effort to have faith. I had not yet learned how faith comes and I did not understand the role of grace. I thought I had to somehow make faith appear through my own effort, and it was very frustrating. When the Lord showed me that my part was only to receive and believe His Word, it was a real game changer. His grace is the power that brings it about.
And it is because of that grace that the Lord can tell us in Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV):
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
The Message (MSG) says it like this:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
The unforced rhythms of grace- what a great way to say it. As long as we are in His Word, we don't have to force faith to come and we don't have to force faith to work. That's what grace does. What a relief! We can easily receive all we need at the intersection of faith and grace.