In Bible times, the name given to a child had significance and was usually chosen because of its meaning. My full first name is Annetta, and I was told my parents chose the name, not because of its meaning (I’m not sure they knew if my name had a “meaning”), but because it was the name of a distant cousin (whom I never met or knew) and was a name my mother thought was very pretty. But, when I was in high school, I decided I wanted to use the shortened name “Ann,” again not because of any meaning that might be associated with it, but because my name was so often mispronounced and misspelled. So, I became “Ann” and have used the shortened version of my name ever since. My mother, however, never accepted the change, and I was always “Annetta” to her until the day she went home to be with the Lord.
A number of years ago, I was delighted to discover the origin of the name “Ann” was from Israel, a variant on the name Hannah, and the meaning of “Ann” was “gracious” or “full of grace.” What a great name to seek to live up to — and a daily reminder of the source of all grace, Jesus Christ, who came into this world “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14), and that “from his fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace.” (vs 16).
In previous blogs, we considered very briefly two aspects of God’s grace — first, saving grace, and then, sanctifying grace. God extended saving grace to us when in his great love for sinful man, he sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. For those who would believe on him, and receive him as Savior, God extended more grace and gave us the right to become his children, part of his family. He brought us into a new relationship with himself.
This new relationship, a child of the King, calls us to a different and higher way of living and being. God makes this a reality by providing sanctifying grace through His Holy Spirit whom he placed within our spirit when we received Christ as Savior. God makes very clear through his word the high calling he has placed on us — and made possible by his sanctifying grace.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us
to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright,
and godly lives in this present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of
of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:11-13)
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your
body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not
your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness,
humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another in love and, if one has a
complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you
also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in
perfect harmony…” (Colossians 3:12-13)
“…God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works, but
because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus, before the ages
began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)
God has not only called us “to a holy calling,” but in his generous mercy and extravagant grace, as we choose to be obedient to his Word, he enables us to walk in his truth and grow in his grace and our calling to be “just like Jesus.”
In this life, followers of Jesus are on a journey of grace, and he has promised that his grace will be sufficient for our every need.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
Seeking to walk in and by the sanctifying grace of Jesus leads us to experience more and more his sustaining grace.
Looking forward to sharing with you in my next blog some times in my life when God has faithfully provided his sustaining and sufficient grace.