Grace as Power for Obedience

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Peter admonishes us to grow in grace:

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:18.


Most theologians have presented grace as an attribute of God that He does not extend to us except by way of pardon for sin. However, if we are admonished to GROW IN GRACE, this must mean that somehow God extends His influence or power to us in order for us to grow in grace and obedience since even Christ learned obedience by the things which He suffered:


"Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Heb. 5:7-9.


"By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name." Rom. 1:5.


We can receive grace or divine influence power upon the heart in order to obey God. This we do by partaking of His nature, His mind. Is there power in divine influence? Yes! We are also admonished to partake of the Divine Nature, but that advice would be in vain if the Divine Nature of Christ did not provide influential power.


Here is Strong's Concordance definition of grace in the context of 2 Peter 3:18, and Romans 1:5:


#5485. graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act espec. the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):--acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, - worthy).


How may one grow in grace?


"Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue;.... knowledge;.... temperance;.... patience;....godliness;....brotherly kindness;" 2 Peter 1:5-8. This is all related to the three angel's messages which are capstoned thusly:


"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12.


Jesus Christ is the author of salvation to all who obey Him by His proffered grace power given to us as an unmerited favor gift to all who sincerely repent, and sincere repentance involves a sincere attempt at overcoming sin in the life or obedience. Remember, He is the author of salvation to all who obey Him. This sincere repentance is our effort to obey Him, and the power for the effort is provided as a free gift.


Some call this perfectionism. Some call is legalism. God calls this a prescription for salvation for all who will obey. To deny this truth is to deny the gift. Thus we do despite to one of the prime purposes of the incarnation Atonement, that of restoring man to the image of God.


“They must have His grace, the Spirit of Christ, to help their infirmities, or they cannot form a Christian character. Jesus loves to have us come to Him, just as we are—sinful, helpless, dependent.” Faith and Works, p. 38.


“There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before man can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace [the Spirit of Christ] alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” (ST, May 28, 1902, par. 3).


Our Dispositions Unchanged


“If you would be a saint in heaven you must first be a saint on earth. The traits of character you cherish in life will not be changed by death or by the resurrection. You will come up from the grave with the same disposition you manifested in your home and in society. Jesus does not change the character at His coming. The work of transformation must be done now. Our daily lives are determining our destiny. Defects of character must be repented of and overcome through the grace of Christ, and a symmetrical character must be formed while in this probationary state, that we may be fitted for the mansions above.”--13MR 82 (1891).  {LDE 295.1}


The Glory that the Father gave to Christ is given to us: “Jesus is waiting to breathe upon all his disciples, and give them the inspiration of his sanctifying spirit, and transfuse the vital influence from himself to his people . . . Christ is to live in his human agents, and work through their faculties, and act through their capabilities. Their will must be submitted to His will, they must act with His Spirit, that it may be no more they that live, but Christ that liveth in them. Jesus is seeking to impress upon them the thought that in giving His Holy Spirit He is giving to them the glory which the Father has given Him, that He and His people may be one in God.” Signs of the Times, October 3, 1892, par. 4.


“Christ gives them the breath of His own Spirit, the life of His own Life.” Desire of Ages, p. 827, par. 3.


“The Holy Spirit is the breath of life in the soul. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. It imbues the receiver with the attributes of Christ.” Desire of Ages, p. 805.


“They have one God and one Saviour; and one Spirit—the Spirit of Christ—is to bring unity into their ranks.” Testimonies, Vol. 9, p. 189.