The Lord told Paul that in spite of his “thorn in the flesh”, (his personal human weakness) God’s grace is always sufficient for him.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12: 7 – 10. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
How did God’s grace make the difference in Paul’s life? How did God meet Paul’s needs through grace alone?
1. Grace could meet Paul’s needs because it expresses God’s acceptance and pleasure in us. When we receive his grace, we enjoy the status of favour and approval in God’s eyes. Grace means that God loves us, that he is favourably inclined towards us; the grace of God assures us of his acceptance of us and of his promise of care in which may put our trust with great joy.
2. Grace could meet Paul’s need because it was available to him all the time. When we sin or fail, or fall short, these things do not put us outside of the reach of God’s grace. Grace cannot be earned in any way! Since grace is given freely to us in Jesus Christ, it cannot be taken away from us, even when we stumble. Through the redeeming blood of Jesus, the grace of God is always ready to meet our needs and minister to our insufficiencies. And only through trusting in God’s grace and accepting his glorious free grace through only faith, do we realise that especially when we are weak in ourselves, we become strong in Christ.
3. Grace could meet Paul’s need because it is the very strength of Godself. So much of the power that is of this world, is expressed in things and in ways that bring harm and destruction to ourselves, to the world where we live and even to God’s work in u and through us.
It happens when we take a worldly perspective about authority, spiritual power and strength, and deny God’s truth about the divine strength of grace and love.
God’s grace is not weakness and never the tolerance of impurity.
Instead, it is the power of God to grant us what we lack.
Even if we lack faith, God’s grace sows the seeds of faith in our lives through which we embrace his free and sovereign grace and all his firm promises to us as his children.
Being spiritually pretentious and conceited kills the working of God’s power through our attempted human witness and our lives. But to embrace God’ grace in Christ freely provides us with the trust in God and the faith that enables us to be true vessels of his love, and as such, of his power! Even though we are weak, through the grace of God we are given the strength of God.