THOUGHTS FROM EPHESIANS

10 GOD'S BOUNTIFUL GRACE

A meditation on Ephesians 1:7-8 

The redemption and forgiveness which the believer has in Jesus Christ is, Paul states, 'in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.'

What is the measure of our deliverance and forgiveness? The riches of God's grace.

What is the reason or motivation for our deliverance and forgiveness? The riches of God's grace.

How sufficient and comprehensive is this grace of God that comes to us in Christ? It is lavish – super-abundant, far exceeding our needs, far greater than we could ever think or imagine.

Why did God make his grace so lavish? Because God knew – he did what he did because of his infinite wisdom and understanding.

God knew, in a way that we will never know, his own holiness – a holiness so unique, so untouched by stain and defect, so far removed from all that is sinful and all that is common, that no sin and no sinner can survive in his presence.

God knew, in a way that we will never know, how utterly abhorrent our sin is, and how utterly pervasive, powerful and imprisoning our sin is.

God knew, in a way that we will never know, what the just penalty upon sin is, a penalty that is horrific and inescapable.

God knew, in a way that we will never know, his own justice – a justice that cannot be twisted or altered, a justice that must be satisfied.

God knew, in a way that we will never know, how utterly destitute and powerless we are, how utterly incapable of ever undoing our sin, how utterly incapable we are of ever meeting his standards, how utterly incapable of meriting his acceptance.

And because he knew, in his infinite wisdom and understanding of our lostness and inability, he lavished upon us a deliverance and a forgiveness measured only by his immeasurable grace.

How foolish we are when we feel we have lost his forgiveness because we sin!

How foolish we are when we fear we are once again the objects of his judgment because we sin!

Such feelings, such fears, are valid only if God sets aside his grace every time we sin ... a response which would deny both the essential nature and magnitude of God's grace and God's clear and accurate understanding of our on-going weakness and need.

As Paul teached in Romans 5:17-21 sin and its accompanying judgement (death) no longer reign. Rather, grace reigns through Jesus Christ for those united to him by faith.

Grace, not our sin, calls the shots.

Grace, not our sin, determines our present relationship with God.

For this reason Paul understands that our present salvation, our present acceptance with God, is 'to the praise of his glorious grace which he has freely given us in Christ' [Ephesians 1:6].

Grace has no limit. Grace is not undermined by our sin. Rather, it is the context of our sin that grace operates, that grace does its amazing, liberating, permanent work.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2010.