4 “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus…”
which was given to you by Christ Jesus,
In the Greek, this phrase precedes the statement “I am thankful.” The provision of grace by Christ is the reason for Paul’s thanksgiving. This is more than the grace that saves the soul; it is includes any grace for living the Christian life. Thanksgiving is a response to grace.
Grace is always “given.” God gives all the grace we need at the point of salvation. Until God forgives and gives a person eternal life, there is nothing for which Paul can give thanks.
The word “by” in the phrase “by Christ Jesus” is literally “in.” Christ Jesus is the sphere of God giving grace. God limits His grace to those who are “in Christ.” The reason for this is that it was Jesus who merited that grace. The plan of God rests on the grace of God. Everything rests on the work of Christ whether it is our salvation or our sanctification. It is always the work of God and we are always the recipient.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation… For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Colossians 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
We owe God out of gratitude and not out of obligation.
The major appeal to Christian living is to live commensurate with whom we are. We owe God out of gratitude and not out of obligation.
Once God places us in Christ, grace is ours permanently. Once God gives grace to the believer, He cannot withhold it. He will always operate in grace toward us. Grace forever removes subjective guilt. Subjective guilt means that we psychologically pay for our sins. Objective guilt (proper guilt) means that we objectively recognize our sin and accept the grace of God to forgive that sin.
This grace is always unlimited and undeserved promise from God. It is a promise that we claim by faith. There is no way that we can pay for our sin; there is only One who could and did. We are hopeless and helpless to offer any payment of sin to God so we cannot pay for sin by subjective guilt.
We must separate subjective guilt from our need to pay for sin. We have to accept Christ’s payment for sin to properly operate in the sphere of God’s grace. Conviction of sin is not the same as guilt. That is the objective guilt of recognizing what separates us from daily fellowship with God. All we need to do is confess that sin with the authority of Christ’s death for our sin to walk freely with God.
1 Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
It is imperative to keep guilt in line by keeping the ultimate payment for guilt by Jesus on the cross. Violates of sin we commit as Christians were paid by Christ on the cross. Doubt that God fully and finally paid for our sin is to operate in unbelief about what God did for us in grace. Unbelief that God is a God of grace is a rejection of His Word.