And Jesus answered Paul as follows:
The Bible makes it clear that Jesus was “full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 And most anyone who understands the gospel would explain that grace is God’s free gift of eternal life.
Webster’s definition of Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Those who believe in Jesus Christ receive eternal life unconditionally and eternal forgiveness and salvation is not as a result of being a good person.
The apostle Paul further clarifies God’s grace when he writes: “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” Romans 11:6
In other words, being a good person or doing good deeds is not a condition to receive God’s free gift. This is where the conversation usually begins and ends. People either accept or reject this eternal Truth.
“the word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” --
In Jesus, "dwelt among us" means: to tabernacle with us or to encamp with us. And what does it mean when the Bible says that Jesus dwelt with us and that He is full of grace and truth? He surrounds us with His grace and truth. This is the perfect balance between Truth and Grace.
When we begin to think that Jesus is not answering our prayers, we can be encouraged that he is dwelling with us moment by moment. And that He is truth, and will always guide us in the eternal truth and in the way which is best for us eternally. Although quite often our prayers are regarding our life here and now in the flesh, and run contrary to that which is eternal.
The eternal truth is always known to Jesus … His grace will cover us when our desires are contrary. In any and all times of trial, sin, affliction, or if we come under spiritual attack ... His grace is sufficient for us.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [His] purpose.” Romans 8:28
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
1 Corinthians 10:13
It is clear that the power of God’s grace applies to all of our problems here and now. Paul says that he has come under attack by a messenger of Satan, and he prayed three times for God’s deliverance from this thorn in his flesh.
And Jesus answered Paul as follows: "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness”
2 Corinthians 12:9
2 Corinthians 12:9
We can learn much more about the fullness and power of grace from the answer that Jesus gave to the apostle. Jesus did not remove the thorn and the ongoing attack from the messenger of Satan.
Paul explained; Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-- to keep me from exalting myself! 2 Corinthians 12:7
God allowed the enemy to continue tormenting Paul in order to help Paul not become filled with pride, and to allow for Paul to receive God’s power and to have this unlimited power become perfected in him.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” Luke 12:48
Does the power of grace rule over our sins as well as our afflictions? Here is an exciting point. Most likely Paul did not clearly describe this thorn so that it would become clear to us that no matter what the thorn is; that the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient for each of us as well. The grace that will be provided if the problem is not removed will be of greater value to the individual than the desired answer to his prayer would have been.
So what does this mean? If I do not see the answer my prayers, should I stop praying and just believe in His sufficiency? No, we should continue to pray understanding that he not only is with us and hears us; but that he will always provide what is best for us. Continue to pray for God’s help and while at the same time giving thanks for the sufficiency of grace that He provides as well. Pray that the Lord will make His reasoning clear to you as He answers your prayer; and that He will disclose the ways in which His power is being perfected in you.
Yes, I understand the free gift of eternal life provided by grace through faith; but what is the benefit of grace here if my problem remains? That sounds like a good question … don’t you think?