Grace is God's gift to each of us. Grace empowers us to rise above the norm, to live like Jesus and to do extraordinary things. Grace cannot be earned or merited; rather, it's freely given and available to everyone.
With this in mind, we must ask, "Why are so many Christians living as they did before they were liberated by God's grace? Why is there so little evidence of empowering grace? Where is the disconnect?" The apostle Paul has the answer: "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand" (Rom. 5:1–2, NKJV, emphasis added.).
The keyword is access. Webster's defines it as "the ability, right, or permission to approach, enter, speak with or use."
Here's one way to illustrate it: Say you are in great need of fresh water because your well has run dry. Your city has a huge tower that contains millions of gallons of fresh water. As a citizen, you are entitled to all the water you need from that tower, but you have no access to it. A main pipeline from the tower carrying an unlimited supply of water runs by your house. So what must you do? Simply go to the city and obtain a permit to tap into the main pipeline. After doing that, you go to the local hardware store and buy some PVC pipe. You dig a trench in your yard and connect your home to the water main with the PVC pipe. The water flows into your house because you now have access.
Simply put, faith is the pipeline of grace. To make Paul's statement abundantly clear, I'll insert the words from my water illustration: "We have access by the pipeline of faith to all the water of grace we need."
Faith is the determining factor for whether we do or do not partake of grace. This means grace cannot be accessed any other way than through faith. Now, let me reiterate this fact: Grace is the empowerment needed to please God. Therefore we are told: "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6, NIV).
Why? Without faith, we have no pipeline and therefore do not have access to the grace that enables us to please God. Remember, we cannot please God in our own ability, but only through grace.
John Bevere is a popular speaker at conferences and churches and the author of best-sellers The Bait of Satan and The Fear of the Lord. He is host of The Messenger TV show and directs Messenger International ministry. This article is an excerpt from his book Extraordinary: The Life You're Meant to Live.