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Devotionals :: Day by Day by Grace :: Today's Reading

Hoekstra's Day by Day by Grace (April 30th)

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How the Characteristics of Grace Appear

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6)

We have been considering some characteristics that God wants to develop in our lives by His grace: namely, triumphant living, a fragrance of Christ, godly sincerity, and becoming living letters of Christ. How do these appear in our lives in an ever-increasing manner? As Paul wrote on these wonderful descriptions of godly living, his heart was stirred to ask, "And who is sufficient for these things?" (2 Corinthians 2:16). Paul fully realized that man cannot produce these realities. Human resources are inadequate.

These heavenly traits grow in us as we live by the terms of the new covenant (humbly trusting in God, not in ourselves). "And we have such trust through Christ toward God." Paul's confidence in exhibiting these spiritual qualities of life was directed toward God, based upon the relationship that is available in Jesus Christ. This is not self-confidence; it is God-confidence. God must produce these characteristics.

There is no room for believers to trust in themselves. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves." We are not the source of any of these wonderful traits of godly living. They must all come from God at work in us. "Our sufficiency is from God." When we live in humble dependency, the Lord's supply becomes our needed sufficiency. "Our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant."

Yes, new covenant servants live by the grace of God. Consequently, their sufficiency is what the Lord Himself supplies! This is precisely what God promised of old through His prophets. "I will make a new covenant …I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts" (Jeremiah 31:31, 33). God inscribes these spiritual traits upon the inner man (the heart and the mind) by His grace. The results are that these characteristics of godliness develop in our lives.

Again, we are looking at living by humility and faith. "God… gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Also, faith accesses grace: "through whom [the Lord Jesus Christ] also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand" (Romans 5:2).

O Holy Father, I long to grow in these godly traits. I am not sufficient to produce them by my resources. My only hope is to be changed by You from the inside out. I humbly bow before You. With confidence in You, I ask that You pour Your grace upon my heart and mind, as I seek You in Your word. Through Christ my Lord, I pray, Amen.

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