GRACE – A COSTLY LOVE

2Corinthians 8:9 gives us a brief expression of the expensiveness of grace:

‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’

We find this again in Philippians 2:6,7 where Paul again speaks of what grace cost Jesus Christ:

‘Who, being in very nature God … made himself nothing …’

Deliberately, the Christ chose for himself anonymity, poverty, weakness and death in order to establish and express grace:

‘I lay down my life … No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again’ [John 10:17,18].

‘Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ [Matthew 26:53,54] ‘Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’ [John 18:11]

The prophet Isaiah described the Christ in terms of deity and exaltation:

‘… the government will be on his shoulders, And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end …’ [Isaiah 9:6-7]

He also described this same Christ in terms of degradation and savage rejection:

‘I offered by back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting …’ [Isaiah 50:6]

‘He was despised and rejected by men … Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not … we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.’ [Isaiah 53:3].

To obtain grace for us, the Christ, the eternal Lord, the Son of God, the Creator of all things, walked this earth largely unrecognized.

‘He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him’ [John 1:10,11].

This is God’s secret wisdom, this costly grace planned and purposed before the beginning of time in and through the incarnation and death of Christ [1Corinthians 2:7,8; 2Timothy 1:9]. Here, through this ultimate human rejection of God in his incognito incarnate Son, God provides a means for our unconditional acceptance by him. His death means our life. His rejection means our acceptance. His loss means our gain. His poverty means our spiritual wealth. His degradation means our exaltation [1John 3:1].

God knew this heavy cost of our forgiveness. Even before he created us he knew. This costly grace was not an unexpected burden thrust upon him by our sin. Rather it was his choice, his deliberate choice before the beginning of time when he chose to create us, knowing we would sin, knowing we would need redemption, and planning, even before he created us, this incarnation, this death, this grace.

Amazing love, expensive grace … embedded and expressed not only in the cross of Christ but in God’s sovereign decision to create the universe and me.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2010