Grace is an amazing gift to us from God. Saving grace, serving grace, sustaining grace–it is all God’s provision. In order to serve within the body of Christ, once must have the grace of Christ. This is why I, biblically speaking, cannot support unbelievers being ‘hired’ as musicians or speakers for ministry in the local church. Those who speak (I Peter 4) are to speak the very words of God. Those who serve are to do so with the strength God provides.
In Ephesians 4, another key passage on spiritual gifts, Paul reminds every believer (men and women, young and old) that ‘to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.’ The church is not a physical building, or a human organization but a divinely designed body with Jesus Christ as her head. He apportions grace, providing it in its multi-coloured design in order to provide health and strength for each believer.
To substantiate this ‘point,’ Paul appeals to Psalm 68:18. If my memory serves me correctly, Paul used a different translation of the Old Testament thus showing Christ ‘giving’ gifts to men rather than ‘receiving’ gifts from them as the original text clearly states. Christ ascended on high. He has returned to the Father who sent Him and now through the Holy Spirit, He has distributed gifts according to His plan.
Christ came down – he humbled himself, coming in our likeness, to rescue us in fulfillment of the Fathers’ will. His state of humiliation has ended. Jesus conquered sin, death, hell, and Satan at the cross, and is now ruling as the Lord of lords. His ascension back to heaven was for our benefit. “It is for your good that I go away,” Jesus told his disciples. “If I go away, I will send the Counselor/the Comforter to you….” He did just that! On the day of Pentecost in mighty power the Spirit of God came.
Since that day every church which is truly connected to Jesus Christ and established by Him has provided for them the gifting they need for service. Rest in His grace, rely upon His grace, redistribute His grace to others, after all you can only pass on to others what you have received yourself.
(The picture included with this post was taken when our feet were washed as an act of service and welcome to a fellowship of Indian Christians.)