"And now [brethren], I commit you to God [I deposit you in His charge, entrusting you to His protection and care]. And I commend you to the Word of His grace [to the commands and counsels and promises of His unmerited favor]. It is able to build you up and to give you [your rightful] inheritance among all God's set-apart ones (those consecrated, purified, and transformed of soul)." Acts 20:32 [Amplified Version.]
What a powerful statement! The apostle Paul committed the brethren to God and to the Word of His grace. It is good to commit people to God, to deposit them to God, entrusting them to God's care and protection. Take a tip from this passage of scripture and commit your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings, your extended family, your pastor, your president, your friends, and your colleagues to God. Entrust them to His protection and care. Doing so will certainly reduce and even eliminate the level of stress and anxiety in your life.
It is also good to commit people to the Word of God's grace. This scripture tells us that it is possible to entrust people to the commands and counsels and promises of the grace of God. Now, if you have been a partner with Triumph in Christ for any length of time, you have received quite a bit of teaching on the subject of God's grace. And you know that grace includes the enabling power of God, accomplishing on your behalf, what you cannot do on your own.
This passage of scripture reveals that the Word of God's grace has the ability to build you up and give you an inheritance right along with your other brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, the term "build up" in the Greek is "epoikodomeo." The phrase used in Acts 20:32 suggests the renewal of a life in ruins. It suggests someone that is a wreck spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The Word of God's grace is able to take someone whose life is in ruins and make that person new again as the habitation of God by His Spirit. By commending someone to the Word of God's grace, you are asking God to take a wrecked life, a wrecked body, wrecked finances, wrecked relationships, wrecked businesses, etc., and totally restore and make those wrecked areas new. You are inviting God to move by His grace to cause what has been trashed to be transformed into treasure!
How can God's grace accomplish that? One truth you should be aware of is the fact that God's grace performs a function beyond empowerment. I'd like to deepen your understanding of the work of the Word of God's grace. Look at Titus 2:11-13:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Versus 11 and 12 in the Amplified Version say:
For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind.
It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world.
These scriptures reveal something very significant: in addition to empowering us to do what we cannot do on our own, grace teaches us. Grace trains us. In fact, this passage of scripture reveals that grace teaches us seven powerful lessons:
- To reject/renounce ungodliness;
- To reject/renounce worldly lusts;
- To live soberly (sensibly, self-controlled; taking life seriously);
- To live righteously;
- To live godly;
- To live right in this life; and
- To look for the rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Please take note of this infallible truth! In addition to empowering, grace teaches. Let's say for example, that you came from a background of promiscuity. You were sexually active at age 14, and that's the only way you have ever known to show the opposite sex how much you care. You come to Jesus, and you are faced with scriptures that say it is better for a man not to touch a woman, or that we are to remain chaste until marriage. Someone may have told you that God's grace will help you, but that truth may not have fully resonated with you because you really could not see how you could possibly refrain from that activity. What you need to know is that God's grace will teach you specifically, individually, uniquely, how to reject fornication. In addition to teaching, God's grace will impart power to overcome as you move in faith to agree with God's Word.
When you exercise your faith in the Word of God, God gives you access to His grace (Romans 5:1-2: Ephesians 2:8-9). In fact, it is the Holy Spirit, also referred to as the Spirit of Grace (Hebrews 10:29), who imparts grace. The Holy Spirit, as you know, is also our teacher. God imparts His grace, which consists of teaching specifically designed for you to understand, coupled with overcoming power. God recognizes that you are unique. God knows you intimately. He knows what you confronted as a child, as a teen, as an adult, as a parent, as a co-worker, in ministry, etc. He knows all about it. Yet, He is able to take whatever may look like a ruin or a wreck in your life, and totally renew and restore it. This process involves a work of grace. Grace comes to you in the form of teaching that is designed for you to "get it." You will understand how to renounce fornication. You will learn specifically how you can stop being fickle and begin to be sensible and self-controlled. You will learn precisely how you can be faithful to your mate. You will learn how to raise your children even if you did not have godly parents. You will learn how to operate a business and reap your inheritance even though you previously went bankrupt. You will learn how you can live right in this life. Grace will teach you and grace will empower you to become.
I personally know what it is like to be taught by grace. I can remember being a freshman in college, completely unprepared for the rigors of Carnegie-Mellon University. I can remember sitting in first year Calculus class, thinking I had mistakenly stepped into the Greek class. I never saw so many upper and lower case Greek symbols! I did not know what was going on! Then an ominous thought hovered over me: you have to take three semesters of Calculus and here you are, day one, and you can't buy a clue!
I can't even say I had poor study habits. I had no study habits. High school was moderately challenging, but nothing like college. I could complete homework in about three hours. College was a totally different ball game.
I can remember the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Grace) telling me to go to the library. I did. I did not have a clue as to what I was supposed to do there, since I did not understand what I was studying, so I just looked around and watched what the other students did. They stayed in the same spot for hours. They would get up to stretch, get water, and even to talk to other students about homework. They would get together after studying, sometimes as late as 11 pm, and go for pizza or whatever, after they had studied. They would routinely reward themselves for working so hard. The Spirit of Grace taught me to take note of that and to do the same.
I can remember learning how to sit for hours to complete homework. I can remember learning that I needed to pray for the wisdom of God before beginning homework. I remember being taught to confess that I have the mind of Christ – that it was in me (I Cor. 2:16). I remember being taught to confess that I could do all things through Christ because He was my strength. Phil. 4:13. I remember learning how to believe for the Holy Spirit to bring things back to my remembrance (John 14:26). I am telling you I did not know any of this before I entered college! I am telling you no human taught me these things! I am telling you that I received these teachings as I moved in accordance with the promptings of the Spirit of Grace to walk to the library, sit down, observe, confess specific scripture, etc. I am telling you that God's grace taught me these things as I moved in faith with His promptings. I am telling you that I did not read a "how to study" book (I am not saying that would be a bad thing, I am just saying that I did not do that). I am telling you that wisdom and understanding and enlightenment increased as I internalized what the Spirit of Grace was teaching me. I ended up with two A's and one B in my three semesters of Calculus. In fact, the University hired me as part of my work-study requirement to tutor struggling students in -- you guessed it -- Calculus!
What if I had given up? What if I had decided not to go to the library? What if I had reasoned that I could study just as well in my dorm room? I shudder to think what could have happened. You see, God's grace will teach you; however, you must receive and positively respond to the teaching.
Acts 20:32 tells us that the Word of God's grace is able to build you up AND give you your rightful inheritance. According to Galatians 3:29, if you belong to Christ, then you are the seed of Abraham and you are an heir to the very promises and blessings Abraham received. What good is it if you are an heir; yet never receive your inheritance? The Word of God's grace will teach you precisely how to receive your God-given inheritance. What is more, the Word of God's grace will empower you to possess it.
Isn't it time for you to allow the Word of God's grace to teach you? Isn't it time for you to build up the broken-down places of your life? Isn't it time for you to receive the fullness of your inheritance? Well, I commend you to God, and to the Word of God's grace, which is able to build you up and give you your inheritance. Let God's grace teach and empower you. Respond to the teaching of the Spirit of Grace. Agree with the teaching. Be renewed and restored, and receive your inheritance!