The Secret Grace of God – Pastor Ken
1 Peter 4:7-10 – Grace is a gift but not a possession.
“The manifold grace of God” may be read in the following ways…
o as good trustees of God’s many sided favour
o OR as efficient stewards of God’s varied grace
o OR as careful stewards of the manifold favour of God
What is plain here is that grace though free to receive brings responsibilities for its use. It is a stewardship.
Compare to Jesus’ amazing parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30)
We may think they are our human Talents or, since the Bible uses the term Talents for an amount of money, that it was money. It is GRACE in all its varied forms.
We don’t all receive the same kinds of grace or the same amounts of grace but we all have a responsibility to use the graces we receive.
It also means that the graces need to be received. We understand receiving Christ as in (John 1:12)
Receiving Him meant
o 1st: meeting Him;
o 2nd: hearing what He was saying and teaching about Himself;
o 3rd: making a conscious decision to accept Him and His claims and His teaching; and
o 4th: welcoming Him into your Life as Lord and Master.
So, if there are graces that we have been given and have not recognized, understood, decided to accept as true and welcomed into our lives and invested we will not be fulfilled as people or as followers of Jesus.
1 – The first and deepest secret of grace is life itself.
David writes in Psalm 139:14-16 “…When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought…”
& in 1 Peter 3:7 “…as a fellow heir of the grace of life…”
Peter says that man and woman are heirs together of the grace of life. Scientists may boast that they have put chemicals together that make a living cell. But not a complex one.
How does David, the Psalmist know this? He says he knows it in his soul. In the Bible the terms for the complex person are hard to define. Soul, heart, spirit and body are used to describe us and they all interact. David’s soul knows. He knows internally, intuitively who His creator is and knows his relationship to his creator.
This is similar to Paul’s words in: Romans 1:20–21.
Paul goes on to say that if a person doesn’t get this right that they will devolve to worshipping some aspect of creation or spirits that attach themselves to creation. Then they will lose sight of who they are and begin to practice various forms of sexual impurity
The foundation of proper sexuality is knowing who God is and who we are in relationship to God. Think of a tape measure. Humanism is measuring all things by man’s measure. Christ measured all things by God’s words and God’s works in creation. The proper relationship between men and women and husbands and wives is found in recognizing that our life-force is given by God and our roles are determined by him.
There is one more important thing to say about this life that we have been given. It is everlasting. It begins but it never is extinguished. You are an everlasting being.
You have life and you can’t escape it even by physical death.
Give thanks for your life. Just say, “Thank you God for life.”
2. The Second secret grace is your amazing physical body.
Every conception when egg and sperm connect creates a new being who will live forever. One or two million sperm are released to fertilize one egg. The sperm are made fresh but the egg in a female comes with the package and when its’ best before date passes the egg is ejected from the female body.You are a one or two million to one chance. If you don’t like the way you were made you might be thinking that you would like to grab one of those little tadpoles by the tail and yank him back so another could win the race.
But the All Wise God doesn’t leave it all to chance. When I see the moment of fertilization I see mystery. I see the conjunction of human will, natural law and Divine oversight and plan.
Most of us go through a time when we hate our bodies or some aspect of them. I know I did and wished I could change things about it. Some of the most beautiful people have deep anxiety about their bodies and minds.
But God don’t make no junk!
An Old Testament passage says, “God made mankind upright, but they have sought out many inventions.” Eccles. 7:29 Or “schemes”.
We are familiar with genetic damage and see it all around us and in us. The marvel is that it is not able to extinguish the beauty of the creation that is us or destroy the life that animates us.
May the Lord give you grace to accept the way you were made in secret in the deep place of your mother’s womb.
Give thanks for the sperm and egg that came together to provide your DNA.
Give thanks for the things you don’t like about the way you were made and for the wonder that your body is.
All genetic deformities will be erased in the resurrection and not before. Modify that. If such miracles happen, and I believe they have and may again, it will be as a sign and wonder pointing to the new age of the resurrection and restoration of all things.
To be whole persons we need to give thanks for our bodies with all their shortcomings and imperfections. Thank you Father for this body you have given me. Give me grace to steward it carefully, use it wisely and glorify you in my body.
3. The third secret grace is tied into the first two.
o First, Give thanks for life itself.
o Second, Give thanks for the body God has provided for you.
o Now give thanks for the woman and the man from whom your whole body, soul and spirit grew, for your natural Mother and Father. They had many sins and weaknesses and may have hurt you in deep ways. But God is your Maker, your Creator, your life comes ultimately from Him. You are your own responsible person, not a clone. You are unique. Resentment and bitterness toward parents needs grace to overcome. Acceptance of your DNA and those who gave it to you opens the path to independent living.
Ask God for grace to accept the reality and trust Him as a good good Father to bring glory to you and to Him through honoring your parents.
4. Here is a fourth secret grace that each one needs to receive in order to be whole in soul.
By Soul I mean in LIFE with mind, emotion and will founded on a right understanding of God and the universe.
Here is a video that exemplifies a profound truth.
The pool player:
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God, is the Prime Mover and Shaker of all things. The pool player is the only one who moves all the balls. They bounce off one another and off the bumpers but only he originates the motion. This alone would only give you the impression of a detached, impersonal God of Deism.
But Yahweh is not detached and impersonal. The things he sets in motion He oversees. Because He is not part of creation. He is the potter not the clay. As the creator he guides creation and history according to His plan through secret and open intervention called Providence and Miracles and prayer.
However, one of the overlooked keys to understanding life and the Bible is that what one does through another one does oneself. God takes responsibility for everything his creatures do on his watch and in wisdom. He acts to correct, discipline, guide, modify, protect and fulfill His plan.
You can see this through a statement in the gospels, see John 4:1–2.
All through the Bible we see this principle at work. **what one does through another one does oneself**
We live in a creation of cause and effect. We live in a creation governed by laws that we rely on, laws the God made. Chaos does not govern the universe. Even the chaos that exists in the atomic structure is harnessed by God to bring order suitable for our fragile lives.
God stands outside creation. He is not the creation and the creation is not God. God therefore, is free to direct it and mold it according to His wisdom, His logos, His word.
Jesus/Yeshua is the Word of God, come into the world to show us God.
God holds all things together by the WORD of his power.
Karma is not governed by a loving, just, powerful God. Blind fate is not governed by such a Father.
Our lives are.
The whole creation is filled with His mercies. They are new every morning.
Even the birds and the trees know this. When God speaks to Israel he says that He will change their fortunes. What we call chance is still governed by the good, wise God.
Mankind, demons and angels, animals and bugs are all subject to Father’s wise control. Every reference to the evil being called Satan indicates that Satan is subject to the boundaries God sets. Satan is not a demi-god like Loki, challenging and impeding the purposes of God. ( cf the Hulk) He is not a free agent. HE ROARS BUT HE IS CHAINED. For temptations that he brings God provides escapes from. Even disasters are under Yahweh’s control and guided by His wisdom.
If you want to live securely you need grace to receive this grace and welcome it into your being.
Notice that in the first secret King David says that his days are numbered. David Livingston, explorer of Africa and Missionary said, “I am immortal until my work is done.” Accept this grace of an Almighty, good and kind God who cares for you more than many sparrows. “He’s got the whole world in His hands…”
5. The fifth hidden grace is the Providence of God.
See Genesis 50:20-21
1 the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power
• God or nature as providing protective care
2 timely preparation for future eventualities
• late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin providentia, from providere ‘foresee, attend to’ (see provide).
6. The Sixth Hidden Grace is Escapes from Death
See Psalm 68:20
Many people have amazing stories of escapes from death. Perhaps at lunch you could tell someone of your experience. When you know that God controls your days and destiny fear dials back.
7. A Seventh Hidden Grace is Ways of Escape
See 1 Corinthians 10:13
It is amazing that the Most High God is so intimately involved in our lives that He knows the temptations that come to us, the ones that are most attractive, the ones that are most effective at bringing us into sin and provides a way of escape. I can look back and see an occasion when one sin would have changed the course of my whole life. But God.
How about you? Can you identify and give thanks for an occasion when God made a way of escape for you and you ran through it to victory. Or perhaps looking back you can see a time when the way of escape was plain before you and you instead chose to indulge yourself and have great regrets. Then you need to kneel down and confess your failure. God is able to forgive you and restore you. Peter the denier became Peter the Apostle.