Down through the centuries Christians have often been called- ‘Trophies of God’s Grace.’ A trophy is something that recognizes an accomplishment. We are not trophies of our own goodness. We are trophies of God’s grace. Only by the grace of God have we been saved from our sins and equipped with the ability to live godly lives.
What is grace? The most common definition of grace is – ‘God’s unmerited favor.’ That is a good definition, but let’s go a little deeper.
The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon defines grace as – “The merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” To better understand this definition, over the next few days we will examine it phrase by phrase.
First we see that grace is “the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ…” The Bible teaches us that our salvation is completely dependent upon the grace of God.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift- 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. CSB
It is God who designed our way of salvation and it is God who draws us to it. Jesus said “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…” (see John 6:44)
But the activity of God’s grace does not end the moment we are saved. God’s grace continues to work in our lives even afterwards. Consider the next part of our definition – “The merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, … keeps…” God’s grace brings us to Christ and then it keeps us there. As I write this I think of the words to Robert Robinson’s hymn – “Come Thou Fount.”
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
I appreciate Robert Robinson’s candidness and honesty. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love…” How true that is. Even though there is a part of us that loves the Lord and wants to follow Him, there is also another part of us that is prone to wander and to drift. Therefore, if our salvation was dependent entirely upon us keeping ourselves saved, we would soon be lost. Robertson understood this and wrote – “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.” Robinson understood that he was indebted to the grace of God to save him and to keep him saved. Consider this in light of what we read from the book of Jude-
Jude 1:24 Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now, and forever. Amen. CSB
It is God who is able to keep us from stumbling. It is God who is able to make us stand blameless in the presence of His glory. It is God who saves us and then keeps us saved. Therefore, all the glory and honor goes to Him and Him alone. We are a Trophy of His Grace!