Faith, Love, Joy, etc... are Grace!
- II Corinthians 8:7 “Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.”
A terrible tragedy has been happening for far too long in our churches. Most believers think (because most have been taught to think) that all of the Christian characteristics (love, joy, peace, patience, faith, etc…) are obtained in our life by our own effort. This error has led most of us to think of godliness as a work instead of what it really is: Grace.
Most of the references of Grace in II Corinthians are in chapters 8 and 9. This fact can be easily missed since both chapters focus mainly on financial giving to the church. However, if you reread both chapters with emphasis on Grace, you will see how our financial giving to Christ is called “Grace” (Read “The Grace of Giving” in the Grace Notes series). Realizing that this financial giving is referred to as “Grace” in II Cor. 8, reread the text interpreting it with grace in mind.
Paul was indicating in verse 7, our text, that the Corinthian believers were abounding in certain graces, and he wanted them to also abound in the grace of giving. But wait. Selah. Stop for a moment and think about what Paul was saying. God was revealing that “faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us” were graces. You see, you and I cannot produce pure faith, pure speech (“utterance”), pure knowledge, pure diligence, and pure love by ourselves. We are sinful. Our flesh taints everything we produce or touch. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Is. 64:6).” Jesus knew this, and that is why Jesus stated in the Garden of Gethsemane:
- John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
Jesus knew that believers would fail in our Christian life without Christ’s Spirit. Jesus was/is perfect. We are not. Everything He touches can turn to good (Rom. 8:28). Everything we touch gets filthy and turns bad. Without Jesus, we can do nothing (Jn. 15:5). It is “expedient”/profitable to be in Christ’s Spirit and He in us! The Spirit of Grace enables (don’t forget the meaning of grace) the believer to produce pure, godly, everlasting fruit. Compare the works of our flesh with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:19-23. Notice how the Christian characteristics of “love, joy, peace”, etc… are fruit of the Spirit, not of us. The Spirit of Grace alone produces the fruit of grace. Also notice how they are called fruit, not fruits. Feeble, sinful man sees the fruits as individual lessons for us to work up in us. “I’ve got love down, but I’m struggling with peace.” No, no, my friend. The true, pure fruit of the Spirit of Grace is not obtainable by human effort and good deeds. Christ and His grace are always accessed by faith (Rom. 5:2). They are called singular fruit because all of them come packaged together with the Spirit, and when you are “filled” with Christ’s Spirit, you are “filled” with the Spirit’s fruit. You must be “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18) to be “full of grace” (Jn. 1:14). When you are “full of grace”, the graces/fruit of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23) will “abound” (II Cor. 8:7; 9:8) in your life.