Is Grace Sufficient?

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Craig Hill helps us understand grace.

When Paul asked God to remove the thorn in the flesh (II Cor. 12:7-9), God’s answer is often misunderstood. He said, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

At first read you might think God is using this thorn to keep Paul from entering into pride and therefore will not remove it. But let’s look a little further at the words “grace” and “sufficient.”

Years ago I ran across a definition of grace that is so much more than the usual “unmerited favor.” It said this, “Grace is God’s empowering presence exerting a divine influence upon your heart, resulting in manifest change in your life.” The word “sufficient” has a significant meaning as well. It means to be possessed of unfailing strength, to be strong, to suffice, to be enough, to defend, to ward off.

Hopefully you can see that God is not telling Paul that he is supposed to accept the presence of a messenger of Satan in his life. Using the definitions I just gave, here is how God’s statement to Paul should be interpreted.

“My empowering presence exerting a divine influence upon your heart resulting in manifest change in your life is sufficient or avails to raise up a barrier, to ward off, and to remove from you the Satanic messenger and loose you; for My supernatural, miraculous power is consummated and made manifest through your feebleness and inability to produce results in and of yourself.”

When Paul understood this, he quit begging God for deliverance. He then stated that he would gladly boast in his inability to produce results. That released the supernatural power of God in his life and it will do the same for you.


 

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