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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV).
When we study Scripture, we don’t want to get buried in the details of the Hebrew and Greek texts so we miss the meaning. But every now and then, a little nuance in the original language changes everything. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the word order in the original Greek provides us with a lightning insight we don’t want to miss. In English the verse reads, “My grace is sufficient for you.” In the original Greek, the verse reads, “Sufficient for you is the grace of Me.” Notice the subtle difference. Essentially the Lord told the Apostle Paul, “I am the grace.” He didn’t say, “I send you grace.”
“I am the grace.”
God does not dispense grace the way a pharmacist fills a prescription: “Here, take two of these, and call Me in the morning.” He is the grace. He is the strength. His presence is the power. All we need comes through intimacy with Him. No matter what we face, He is the complete answer. “Sufficient for you is the grace of Me,” He promises. He doesn’t hand us what we need and then go somewhere else, off to solve someone else’s life crisis. He comes to stay. “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20b).
Here’s how that plays out in your life: perfectly and powerfully. “For my power is made perfect in weakness,” God explained to Paul, and to us. “Perfect” means fulfilled, accomplished, completed, finished. It’s the same as Jesus’ final word on the cross: tetelestai, “It is finished” (John 19:30b). God brings Himself to the relationship, and all His sufficient, powerful grace; all we bring is weakness. And all of this is grace, because we can never do anything to deserve what He does for us.
God’s grace is completed in your weakness. And until you realize you’re weak and you recognize the need for His grace, you can never fully experience it. Even that understanding of your own need is a gift of grace. The perfect power of Jesus’ grace can’t be fully realized until weakness is rightfully acknowledged. The moment when you’re overwhelmed by your absolute helplessness is the moment you are ready to hear Jesus say, “Sufficient for you is the grace of Me.” In other words, “I am all you need.”
If you want to live by God’s sufficient grace, you won’t catch it falling from the sky as you rush off to your next task. You won’t receive it as your mind drifts off to your plan for how to solve your own problems. You won’t get your dose in the drive-thru line at the spiritual pharmacy.
Because He is the grace, you need Him. He will go with you every step of the way. He is a faithful friend, always with you. When a trial threatens to overwhelm you, when you feel a keen sense of your own weakness and insufficiency, remember His promise: “Sufficient for you is the grace of Me.”
He is the grace you need.
• The perfect power of Jesus’ grace can’t be fully realized until weakness is rightfully acknowledged. In what ways are you weak?
• God doesn’t send us grace, like a FedEx overnight shipment. He is the grace. Why is that such a powerful promise? How have you experienced it to be true?
Father God, what an amazing thought that Your grace is not separate from You—I can’t experience Your grace without experiencing You. You deliver grace personally, and Your constant presence in my life is grace. I acknowledge my weakness. I need You. I’m insufficient; You are sufficient, powerful, and perfect. By faith I believe that no matter what I face, sufficient for me is the grace of You. Not “just enough” or “barely enough”—You are more than enough for me. Thank You for grace. Thank You for intimacy with You. I pray in the name of Jesus, whose power rests on me. Amen.
— James MacDonald
For more from James MacDonald and the “Walk in the Word” Bible teaching ministry, visit WalkInTheWord.com.