...The Most Amazing Sound in God's Kingdom
Yet to See Its Most Amazing Work in All the Earth
Consider the number twelve. In its spiritual significance it denotes
governmental perfection. We associate it with the authority and power
of God's Government. Well might we say it is through the authority and
power of His grace that we are brought into the government of His Kingdom.
As we move on into the power and glory of the Kingdom, grace touches us all the way. God's work in us is begun by grace, carried forward by grace, and finished by grace.
Never will this grace be so important as when all the forces of anti-Christ arise to make their demands to bring in their "new age." Then, the grace of God will become our last resource--the powerful provision of God's Eternal Kingdom secure and triumphant in the heavens. It will be given its greatest release in the earth to bring in The New Age of Christ's Rule over every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Rev 5:9).
MY FIRST INSIGHT--nearly forty years ago--about the continuing work of grace came, strangely enough, from the Prophet Zechariah. It was in a Messianic prophecy, directed to the Lord Jesus as He was typified by Zerubbabel, the leader of the first exiles returning to Jerusalem from their Babylonian captivity. The Prophet's word to him had to do with finishing the humanly impossible task of bringing Zion to her perfection with a Temple adorned with God's presence. Although I took the passage out of its immediate context, it spoke something powerful to me. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it--Zech 4:7.
That He will bring forth the headstone means He will finish the work, placing the last stone of the structure while there goes up a celebration of praise extolling the grace that brought it there. On reading this prophecy, I could see it as reaching through the ages to the greater government of Zion and the greater Temple made of living stones (Heb 12:22 and I Pet 2:5).
To me it was a personal word of hope that the work He had begun in my life would be carried on--and then finished--through the power of His grace. We can know: grace will bring to perfection all the work of Zion's Government (the Kingdom of God on earth), and grace will bring to perfection the work God has begun in our lives as we grow together unto an holy temple in the Lord--Eph 2:21.
GRACE NEVER TOOK ON SUCH MEANING as it did in the New Testament. It had its place in the Old Testament. Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD--Gen 6:8. There it is from the Hebrew word chen meaning "favor, or acceptance by another." It is perhaps closest in meaning to the Hebrew chesed which means "goodness and kindness." But it became so powerful a concept in the New Testament that a word of deeper meaning had to be found to describe its might and beauty. Written in the common Greek language of the first century, it became necessary sometimes for New Testament writers to take words of lesser meaning and elevate them to fit new language demands. One such word was cháris, the word that became the name of grace in the New Testament. There had never been any word in any language that could fully describe that quality the Lord Jesus introduced into the world when He brought us the fullest expression ever of God's love.
Richard Trench, in his Synonyms of the New Testament, has this to say about cháris: "There has often been occasion to observe the manner in which Greek words taken up into Christian use are glorified and transformed, seeming to have waited for this adoption of them, to come to their full rights, and to reveal all the depth and the riches of meaning which they contained, or might be made to contain. Cháris is one of these."
Before cháris was promoted into the New Testament, it came to express not only the beauty of a thing, but the thing itself; not only the graciousness of an act, but the act itself. It also took on the meaning of "thankfulness for a beautiful thing done or given."
But this noble word waited for its highest consecration. Trench tells us more. It came "not indeed to have its meaning changed but to have that meaning ennobled, glorified, lifted up from the setting forth of an earthly to the setting forth of a heavenly benefit, from signifying the favor and grace and goodness of man to man, to setting forth the favor, grace and goodness of God to man, and thus, of necessity, of the worthy to the unworthy, of the holy to the sinful."
It is a strange thing. Religion asks man not to sin that he might better know God. Yet, like the prodigal who left his father's house for the swill of the swine, it is the one who has fallen into sin and has been deeply hurt by it who can come to know this greatest dimension of God's character that He will reveal to man. It is the sinner, the failure, the wreck, the man written off as hopeless, who can know the sweetest touch of mercy. This is the one who can more fully appreciate the Holiest of All where he finds the Mercy Seat. In the finding of this, the prodigal finds the merciful swoop of grace that lifts him into the bosom of the Father.
PAUL UNDERSTOOD GRACE as starting with God, and continuing to pour forth from Him. Then, he saw it as a quality not remaining with God alone but coming over upon us who receive it. Thus, it becomes a quality of life and character that will find release in us who are saved by grace.
To Paul, grace was like a river flowing, and flowing, and flowing--and flowing.
He saw saving grace. This is the dimension of grace that receives us in our lost estate. It brings us to God and releases a work in us that will continue on to the end of the age with a salvation ready to be revealed at that time. We never move from the saving work of grace. It will operate in us even into the ages to come.
Paul also saw enabling grace. Here grace becomes a quality of life that flows from God to us. It gives us the power and wisdom to face any demand life can bring. As difficulty increases, our perception of grace as an enabling force will only increase. This grace will bring harmony out of disharmony. It will make something beautiful out of what was ugly. It will work success--albeit the success of the Kingdom--out of failure.
Paul saw what we can call ennobling grace. Whether we be from the family of a beggar or a king, grace lifts us to the position of royalty in the Kingdom of God. What nobility! This is a grace that endures in the face of every demeaning circumstance. Whenever the enemy works to devalue us, this grace takes on exceeding force to make us all the more valuable in the Kingdom of God. This is the value, and this is the nobility, that will stand when all of earth's nobles fall either in repentance or in disgrace.
Then Paul saw grace in another dimension. We can call it healing grace. It will flow from one who has received it unto another who needs it. This is ministerial grace. It ministers hope, cheer, love, encouragement, and strength. It heals. It starts out in God and moves like water through a channel from one thirsty soul to another.
READING ALL THE VERSES in Ephesians on grace will reveal some of the different dimensions of grace we just mentioned. Each statement is important in the working of Ephesians truth into our lives. Mark them in your Bible and observe each one with its context.
RECENTLY, GLENDA AND I were in Toronto Canada, I was impressed that she should call some friends in the States. Later, the mother in the household she called, said they considered it nothing short of a miracle that she should have called at that time. While Glenda was talking on the phone, I sat there a little tired and weary simply waiting on the Lord . It came to me I should read Zech 12.
Saying nothing about this, I read the chapter and received little from it. I thought, "I'm tired and simply need to go to bed." After Glenda finished her telephone conversation, she too prepared to retire. I was looking forward to resting and didn't want to read or consider anything else after a very long day. Before she got in bed, she said, "I feel we should read Zech 12."
I was startled and asked her three times if I had said anything to her about Zech 12. She said no. She just felt we should read it before going to bed.
We've continued reading it, over and over, perceiving it has a powerful statement regarding a latter day release of grace exceeding anything yet known--especially to Israel. Look at verse 10 with us. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
In a one-time move of mercy, God will pour out upon the house of David (Perhaps this means the church.) and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Israel) an operation of His Spirit that causes those who receive it to both give and receive grace--a quality too little known in either company. Thus, they both shall mourn in repentance for the way they have regarded the One whom they have pierced. Along with this powerful movement will come the strong desire to pray--like never known. It will break down all barriers and thrust the souls of men everywhere into the presence of God.
What a day! We are moving close upon it.
© Berean Ministries
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