Means of Grace- The Word of God
Even though there are differences in our Christian denominations regarding what should be included in the means of grace (ways that God blesses the church), there are several that have always taken precedence; the preaching and teaching of God’s Word is the first. As the Church has spread across the globe throughout the last 2,000 years the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the teaching of the Bible, and the reading aloud of scripture has not changed. It is the life-breathing gift of the Spirit of God to the Body of Christ and it ‘keeps’ us in Him.
And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32 NASB)
The scriptures give us life and hope as we hear it read or read it for ourselves. They remind us of promises and truths that we tend to forget. This means of grace gives us blessed assurance of His chesed or His unfailing, covenantal love freely and undeservedly given to us. Even as we are pondering Christmas gifts for our loved ones we do not, I hope, make our decisions based on their worthiness. If God did that, there would be no Christmas. There would be no divine birth. There would be no salvation announced. There would only be God’s justice awaiting us; that is a somber thought. Thankfully God had a better plan:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NASB)
Sometimes the preaching of God’s Word brings us to repentance, at other times it makes us feel confident and confirmed about our direction in life. Whatever place you find yourself this Christmas, remember that the Word of God keeps you. It keeps you hopeful, keeps you assured, keeps you humble, keeps you in peace.
The teaching of His Word has also maintained it’s historical, elevated place in the Church because it is indispensable. If you can’t understand what the scriptures mean they will do you little, practical good. You will not experience the fullness of God if you don’t know what He expects of you. We always expect God to do certain things in our lives but when was the last time you asked God what He expected of you? Ponder on that this week as you think about the means of grace and specifically, the peaching and teaching of the Word. One last word, as you listen to the public reading of the scriptures in church this weekend remember that it is one of God’s ways of blessing His Church: the means of grace.