My pastor asked us last week in staff meeting how we are enjoying the grace of God. Great question - tough to answer in a few words though. I started studying "grace" in scripture and found something very interesting. Paul began most of his letters with the words, "grace be to you" and he ends his letters with "grace be with you" (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Corinthians...) Why the difference in wording? Isn't grace "to" us and "with" us the same thing?
I believe that when Paul is beginning his letters he is acting as a vessel to flow God's grace into the reader's lives. Grace is coming from God, through Paul, to the reader - us. When he finishes his letters the grace has been imparted to us and now must be with us as we put our bibles down and go on about our daily lives. One way we enjoy the grace of God is in how it is given to us when we read or hear the Word. We extend the grace that is now with us to others. They, in turn, should do the same. The grace "to" and "with" should be a continual process. We cannot just hear the Word and discard the grace that was imparted. It should empower and ignite our souls, spurring us to actions of grace extended toward those around us. It must remain in us - with us- working through us.
God's grace is not just something we know but also experience! Grace isn't just a topic in scripture to be studied. It is a bountiful treasure - a fountain of pleasure. Sure, our spiritual lives were initiated when grace was granted to us, but our lives and calling are sustained and energized by the continual filling of grace within us! Apart from the on-going, life-giving, soul-satisfying, sin-destroying grace present within us, we cannot live a triumphant Christian life. We need not only the grace of God imparted to us through His Word, but also the Grace of God extended with us throughout our daily lives. Grace be to and with you always!