“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NKJV)
“Manifold” – various, diverse, multiple, assorted. God’s Grace is diverse, many sided; it can and will cover any emergency, equip for any task or mission, and is power enough to thwart any and all schemes of the evil one! It is designed to work with the “manifold” wisdom of God, as mentioned in Ephesians 3:7-12, “of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” (NKJV)
Grace, God’s willingness to use His Power and Ability on our behalf (our working definition), was given to Paul so that he could proclaim the unsearchable (beyond our ability to know or search out) riches of Christ. Paul was “graced” by God to make all see the mystery Grace had kept hidden up to that point in time.
One part of that mystery was that mankind was to be no longer subject to the “god of this world”. The purpose, the intent, of Paul’s preaching (which was empowered by God’s Grace) was that “now the manifold wisdom of God might be known by the church (or, revealed through the church) TO THE PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS in the heavenly places…”! In other words, God’s Grace was finally answering the devil’s accusations and jeers toward God. Once and for all!
God’s Grace always conquers satan’s schemes! In the Garden, when Adam and Eve succumbed to the serpent’s propaganda and allowed the devil to be the god of this world through their disobedience, God’s Grace was already in action. God willingly used His power and ability on their behalf! He clothed them, promised them (and He promised the serpent and the devil!), encouraged them and protected their future (by sending them out of the garden).
Fast forward a few generations and it looked as though the devil would finally be able to truthfully say he out-maneuvered God. It looked like all of mankind was going to have to be destroyed because of their wickedness. But while the devil was jumping for joy, Grace came on the scene and conquered! God found a man named Noah; just one man was all Grace needed. The word came to Noah, “Build me an Ark”. Noah listened, received the word (which carried with it the grace to accomplish the task), and began to work. The devil was furious! The promise God made in Genesis 3:15 would still be intact, because of the Grace of God!
Throughout history, God’s Grace has been more than sufficient for anything the devil has conjured up. Even when times were extremely tough, when people were disobedient and needed to be disciplined by God, still His Grace conquered!
Finally, Grace came in the form of a baby, born in a manger. “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”, John 1:17. Jesus of Nazareth, God’s promise for man AND the devil!
Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. The word “favor” is the same one translated “grace” in other passages. As Jesus began His “earthly ministry”, He was “anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, and went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38). God’s Grace demonstrated God’s willingness to touch people’s lives. Grace demonstrated God wasn’t willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance and have eternal life. When the wild man came rushing out of the tombs, waving his hands and screaming at the top of his lungs, he ran right into the Grace of God – God’s willingness to use His power and ability on behalf of one who couldn’t earn it if he lived a thousand lifetimes. The devil had tried to destroy the man’s life; but Grace came to his rescue!
Again, Grace conquers the devil.
When Jesus went to the cross, giving His life a ransom for many, He was able to do so because God’s Grace gave Him the ability He wouldn’t have had as an ordinary man. Hebrews 2:9, “…that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
Of course, the devil must have been doing his unholy dance when Jesus was finally put into the grave. But after three days…
Grace conquered the devil! “I am He who lives and was dead! And, behold, I am alive for evermore, amen. I now have the keys to death and hell.” (Revelation 1:18)
The manifold Grace of God now empowers the church of Jesus Christ to declare by precept and example to the devil and his cohorts, the manifold wisdom of God! God’s many-sided wisdom, with the ability His many-sided Grace gives, overcomes all the works of the enemy.
Could this be a reason Peter told the church to “grow in Grace and in the knowledge of Jesus”? Could it be the reason the devil has tried to keep the real truth about Grace hidden from the church for all these years?
Oh, sure, we’ve learned we didn’t or couldn’t earn God’s favor. But have we learned what the Spirit of Grace and Supplication can do to us, for us, or through us? Have we learned how to “come boldly to the Throne of Grace (His willingness to use His power and ability on our behalf), that you may obtain mercy and FIND GRACE TO HELP in time of need”?
If we would find GRACE TO HELP, we would find GRACE CONQUERS! We would discover more of God than we could ever explain, control, or box in! We would experience, first hand, “He is able to do…”, and do it well! We’d witness the God of all comfort, His peace that passes all understanding, and the power of God unto salvation. We’d understand what it means to be saved by Grace, how to season our speech with Grace, and how to live by the Grace of God.
The devil and his sycophants would have an eye opening experience, as well. When God’s Grace confronts them, all they can do is holler, “What have we to do with You, Jesus? Have You come to torment us? Please don’t send us out of the region!” That really doesn’t sound like a roaring lion, does it?!
Those who have for years lived under the demonic thumb of control, discover freedom from deadly habits and hellish thinking, when they discover how powerful and available the Grace of God is.
It’s available to those who will ask. It’s available to those who will believe. It’s available to those who haven’t, and couldn’t earn it, but receive it anyway!
People, God’s Grace conquers everything; let the Grace of God FIRST conquer you! Rejoice in your weaknesses, and trust in His Grace. His strength, His Grace, is revealed when you MUST depend upon Him.
You will find it will have an amazing affect on the rest of your life, and future!