This week we have been focusing our studies around a phrase often used to describe the followers of Christ – “Trophies of God’s Grace.” What does it mean to be a trophy of grace?
First of all, what is a trophy? A trophy is something that acknowledges an achievement. For instance, the team that wins the championship receives the Champions’ Trophy. Often their name is inscribed upon it and therefore, from that point on, anytime someone looks upon that particular trophy, they immediately recognize that the recipient did something remarkable.
So what does it mean to be a Trophy of God’s Grace? What is grace? The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon tells us that grace is: “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.” In other words, grace is God’s involvement in our lives that draws us to Christ; that keeps us in Christ; that strengthens us by Christ; and that makes us more like Christ. From beginning to end, everything that we are as a believer is a reflection of God’s grace. It is with this truth in mind that the Apostle Paul wrote–
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me. CSB
In other words, I am who I am because of God’s grace. I took advantage of every opportunity God gave me to be used by Him. I worked more than any other. Yet in reality, it was not me working and doing good. It was the grace of God working in me.
This week we have taken our deeper definition of grace and examined it phrase by phrase. Today we come to the last phrase which says – Grace is – “The merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls … kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” God’s grace is what makes us become more like Christ.
It’s unfortunate but many view the grace of God as though it was some kind of magical blanket that God threw over sin. They believe that because salvation is by grace, grace excuses all of their sin. Yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Consider these passages of scripture.
Romans 6:1 What should we say then? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may multiply? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? CSB
Galatians 5:13 For you are called to freedom, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. CSB
Jude 1:4 … they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into promiscuity and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. CSB
Perhaps the most powerful passage to help explain the purpose of God’s grace is Titus 2:11.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, with salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age. CSB
God’s grace does not say – “No one is perfect, so you might as well go ahead and sin.”
God’s grace says – “I have saved you by My grace and by My grace I will teach you how to deny what is sinful and to live godly.”
Here is another passage of scripture that will explain the working of God’s grace to us.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it. CSB
Though the word ‘grace’ is not found in this particular passage of scripture, the principle is. God’s faithfulness to provide a way is a work of His grace. By His power and influence, God will help us to deny the ungodliness and to choose godliness instead.
Recently someone told me that I was a wonderful person. Immediately I thought – “You don’t know the real me. You wouldn’t say that if you knew who I was on the inside.” Yet I also recognized that apparently they had seen some good in me. And the truth is – they should see some good in me. I profess to be a follower of Christ and therefore there should be a certain spirit of Christlikeness about me. I thanked them for their comment, but I also immediately told them that it wasn’t me, but Christ living in me. I let them know that I was nothing more than a Trophy of God’s Grace.