“Therefore, we should come with openness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace” (Hebrews 4:16).
God did not call me to just believe in Him; I was not chosen to become a believer and remain fundamentally unchanged except for my belief; the same person, but an improved version of the same person. I was called and chosen to become transformed from the man I was when He found me into the man He wants me to be, a son of God by adoption and a brother of Christ Jesus, His only begotten Son.
This applies, too, to all of those called and chosen by God. He isn’t satisfied with our belief, for even the demons of hell believe in Him; He wants our trust, a very different thing; but to all those trusting in Him He has given us authority to become children of God. Whether we do or not will depend upon a number of things.
The mechanism by which God brings about this transformation is His grace.
Grace, which is widely misinterpreted and misunderstood in Christianity, is the impartation of the nature and character of Christ to man. His nature is that of a Son; His character is that of faithfulness and obedience.
Being the incarnate word, “full of grace” and “grace upon grace”, Christ imparts this grace, His nature and character, through the word.
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever” (John 6:51). It is through the eating of the Word, that is, through taking firm hold of it, and applying it in our lives, that we are transformed.
While grace is freely given it can only be received by those who seek to use it for the purpose for which it is given, transformation into the likeness of Christ.
God does not give grace to make a million dollars, or to find a wife or husband, or to save someone from disaster; He may show mercy in such situations, but it is not grace. We come to the throne of grace to “receive” mercy, but we have to “find” grace.
Jesus, in His pre-existent state, was in the nature of God and, laying aside His divinity, He emptied Himself and took upon Himself the likeness of men. So too, must we empty ourselves and through the sacrifice of faithfulness and obedience, take hold of that grace which is His in abundance. “Grace upon grace” says the Word of Jesus; a better translation is “grace instead of grace”. The whole economy of the Kingdom is based upon the principle that to the one who has, more shall be given and to the one who has not, even what he has will be removed.
This refers to the appropriation and application of grace in the life of the receiver; if grace given remains unused, it will be taken away; if it is applied, more grace will be given. These are “the ways of God” which Paul tells us, are anexichniastos, meaning inscrutable, beyond human ability to imagine and unable to be tracked.