And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith…And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace.(Acts 14:21-22; 20:32)
The Lord desires for us to continue in a growing relationship with Him, continuing to draw more and more upon His grace: "continue with the Lord…continue in the grace ofGod" (Acts 11:23; 13:43). One vital aspect of this process is to be continuing in the word of His grace.
As Paul and his missionary team passed through Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch (in Pisidia), they urged the disciples there to "continue in the faith." "The faith" is often used in the Scriptures to refer to the revealed truth of God (in which we are to place our faith). Jude wrote in this manner. "I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude v. 3). Thus, the word of God is "the faith." Consequently, the call to "continue in the faith" was an exhortation to live by abiding in the word of God.
Later, when Paul was visiting the church leaders from Ephesus for the last time, he entrusted them unto the care of the Lord and His word. In doing this, he referred to the Scriptures as "the word of His grace." Grace characterizes the word of God. Grace permeates the word of God. Grace flows from the word of God. It is in the Scriptures that we learn of God's grace. There we learn of what it is (the Lord's undeserved riches, poured out freely for our justification, sanctification, and glorification). There we learn of our great need for grace (a desperate, comprehensive, continual need). Also, in the word we learn of how we can access it (through humble dependence upon the Lord).
If we are going to continue in grace as the Lord desires, we must continue in the word of His grace. We will want to read it prayerfully day by day. We will want to study it regularly for increased understanding. We will want to meditate upon it often for implications and applications. Above all, we will want to be in the word consistently that we might get to know the Christ of the word. In knowing Him more, His mighty grace will properly impact our lives.
Please join us in Prayer
"Dear Lord Jesus, I thank You for the word of Your grace. Please forgive me for any times when I did not grant Your word the place that it deserves. I want to continue in it day by day. Please stir in my heart a growing hunger for Your word, in Your holy name, Amen."
Michael Stanley, 55