God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble…through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. (James 4:6 and Romans 5:2)
How does a believer in Jesus Christ access the ongoing, sanctifying grace of God for daily godliness? It is accessed the same way that the initial, justifying grace of God was acquired-by humility and faith. We were justified, declared righteous in God’s sight, when we humbly trusted in the Lord Jesus. We humbly agreed with the Lord’s account of our guilty condition. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23a). We also put our trust in Christ concerning His offer of life (based upon His death and resurrection on our behalf). “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b). Thereby we partook of the justifying grace of God through humility and faith. This is how the Lord wants us to continue to relate to Him for sanctifying grace.
Our God wants us to walk in humility, because grace is what we need for growth in godly living. Remember this great truth of grace: “But grow in the grace…of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). If we are unwilling to walk in humility, we will not enjoy this wondrous sanctifying impact of grace, because “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” When we live by self-sufficiency, God resists us. When we walk in humility, God gives us grace for living.
Our God also wants us to walk in faith, because faith accesses grace. “Through whom [Christ] also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” We now stand in a kingdom that offers “grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Abundant grace is available for every step we are to take. This grace is partaken of by faith. Whenever we trust in the Lord Jesus concerning any issue of life, we are reaching by faith into God’s unlimited resources of grace, by which we are enabled to live effectively.
Hereby we see that living by grace involves two relational realities: humility and faith. We do not produce either. Neither one is a work. Humility admits we cannot do the work (of being holy, loving, perfect). Faith relies upon the work of another, the Lord Jesus Christ. These two attributes become real in our lives through a growing relationship with the Lord. The more we get to know the Lord Jesus Christ, to that degree humility and faith will become realities in our lives.
O Lord, You are my salvation, from justification throughout a lifetime of sanctification. Forgive me for underestimating my need for You. Forgive me concerning the self-sufficient, self-confident ways by which I have often lived. I humble myself before You. I want to live by trust and confidence in You. I long to live by Your grace, not by my best efforts. Help me to know You, that humility and faith might develop in my life, Amen.