By Charles F. Stanley
Bible Study: Living By Grace
Sermon: Sustaining Grace
An elderly couple lived modestly for years on their small farm. And though the land was not the best, they always had enough to survive. Eventually they sold the farm to a developer. Working on a hunch, the new owner decided to drill and discovered a supply of oil worth millions of dollars. For years, the couple had lived on untold wealth and never knew what they were missing.
Sadly, that story illustrates how many believers live–unaware of the vast riches they possess in Jesus Christ by grace. Think about what happens the moment a person trusts Him as Savior: that brand-new Christian is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, and from then on has within him the divine Comforter/Guide/Teacher. Salvation also brings justification (full forgiveness) and sanctification (the process of growing in Christ’s likeness).
In Jesus, every believer has an infinite treasury of wisdom, knowledge, and all good things. Do you need strength? The all–powerful God grants energy for any task. Do you lack wisdom? He provides discernment and insight to cut through the fog of confusion. Are you searching for contentment? Divine peace is beyond human understanding.
In Christ, we lack nothing. By grace, His immeasurable love and power are available for every trial, decision, and challenge. Our capacity to experience and enjoy these riches grows as we learn more about our heavenly Father.
The riches of divine grace are eternal. Money can’t buy them, and death can’t take them away. We are redeemed, reconciled, and freed from the law. No longer are we orphans; instead, we’ve been adopted into God’s family—beloved children of the heavenly Father, sealed and set apart for Him (Eph. 4:30). So why do we choose to live like paupers?
Someone might say, “That sounds pretty good, but I don’t feel rich.” We’re talking about wonderful, abundant spiritual blessings, not material prosperity. Feeling rich has nothing to do with our treasure in Christ, which is secure in the One we belong to—and He will never change.
The Bible says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). This is the great exchange, and it’s the way we partake of His riches.
An obvious question comes to mind: If we are so rich and the Lord is so great, why do Christians suffer? Second Corinthians 12:9 promises that God’s grace is sufficient for us and that His strength is made perfect in weakness. The apostle Paul learned there was something far more important to him than reengineered circumstances. He had discovered the sufficiency of God’s grace.
Once when I spoke to a group of ministers, I asked how many of them wanted to know God the way Paul did. Every pastor raised his hand. Then I asked how many were willing to be stoned, beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, left for dead, and afflicted in all the ways the apostle suffered. No one raised his hand.
I understand the hesitancy. No one enjoys pain and hurt. But we prove the Lord’s immeasurable grace as we endure dreadful heartache.
The apostle Peter explained how God bestows His abounding resources: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:2-3). Today, you can embrace the fullness of grace and live the abundant life your Lord has planned.
Adapted from Charles F. Stanley’s “Handbook for Christian Living” (1996) and “Into His Presence” (2000).