“Grace, Grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sin.” Such is the line from the old hymn by famed 19th-century hymnist Julia Johnson. The hymn goes on to speak of how God’s grace covers and forgives our sin, most evident in the atoning work of Christ on the cross. “Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, Freely bestowed on all who believe!”

What a beautiful and timeless biblical truth, but there is much more to grace than our forgiveness of sin (though that’s a pretty big deal). God’s grace extends past forgiving our sins and provides the means for sustaining our entire lives. David in Psalm 41 provides readers with a beautiful picture of sustaining, transforming, and forever grace in the life of the believer.

1. Sustaining grace in the day of trouble (vv. 1-3)

What does your day of trouble look like? For some of us, today has been a day of trouble. For others, the day of trouble has been going on for months. And for others, the day of trouble has been a much longer season. Perhaps you feel like your life is one long day of trouble. We all know that we will have trouble in this life. And yet we have a promise of deliverance. We have a promise of protection. We have a promise of life. We have a promise of the Lord’s sustaining grace.

How have you seen the work of God’s sustaining grace in your life this week? It doesn’t take long to see how the Lord is sustaining us, even if we find ourselves in trials and hardship. We need to remember that this is not a promise towards perfect health and prosperity, nor is it a form of karma where one good work is met with equal blessing. The Psalmist is describing the life of the “blessed” one or the one who lives in the happiness of knowing and obeying the Lord. These characteristics and promises belong to the one who has placed their faith and trust in the Lord.

2. Transforming grace in the day of our offense (vv. 4-7)

The Psalmist, though speaking from the place of blessing (see v. 2), realizes that such a life will still include sin (both personal and the sin of others). Living a happy life before the Lord includes the realization that His forgiveness is necessary, both for us and for others. What area of your life are you longing for transformation? In what areas of your life do you want to see freedom? Maybe it’s personal sin, or perhaps it’s a cycle or pattern of sin. Maybe it’s suffering caused by the decisions of someone else, and they are continuing to weigh you down.

There is room in these verses to include both our personal sin and the sin of others. Either way, each is in need of transformation. We long to see the Lord transform our hearts and the situations which are causing us suffering and distress. This is the hope and the Psalmist. And this leads to the third important facet of grace in the life of a believer.

3. Forever grace in our day of triumph (vv. 8-13)

In this section of Psalm 41, we can connect the dots directly to the experience of Christ in His betrayal by Judas. Christ knows what it means to be betrayed and to suffer injustice at the hand of another. When you feel betrayed, did you know that you can turn to Christ who knows your story and situation? This is the promise that believers have, a sympathetic high priest and Savior (see Hebrews 4:15).

The psalmist expresses another fundamental truth of God’s grace: it continues forever. The Lord’s grace sustains, transforms, and carries us into eternity. This is what it means for the Lord to uphold us and set us in His presence. We can be confident that the Lord will uphold us and keep His promises to us. We can trust that we will be in the presence of God forever based on the righteousness of Christ applied to us in which the Father sees us as His adopted sons and daughters (see Ephesians 1:3–14). Thus, we trust in Christ’s integrity living in us by faith. We have the promise of His forever grace because we have been united with Christ forever. We have the promise that God delights in us because the Father delights in the Son and as believers united to him, we share in that delight.

So when we consider the purpose and work of God’s grace, the psalmist gives us a rich tapestry of grace to consider. Being the basis of our forgiveness, it is also the sustaining force in the believer’s life. Sustaining us, it also is the means of perpetual transformation.

Lastly, it is power that carries believers through and into eternity. The concluding line to the old hymn states: “You that are longing to see his face, Will you this moment his grace receive?” May we at every moment long to receive God’s grace, because we yearn to see his face both now and forever.