Grace…The Final Frontier
I know, the Star Trek reference might give away my nerdiness, but it seemed fitting. We’ve talked about faith, so now let’s talk about grace. If you’ve spent any time in the Bible you know that salvation comes through our life-changing faith in God, but only by His grace. So, what exactly is grace? Merriam-Webster defined it as, “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification”. In other words, grace is a free gift from God. It is something we can’t earn or achieve on our own.
In Ephesians 1:6-8, Paul said, “6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” So, in verse 6 Paul thanks God for the “glorious grace he has poured out on us”. First, he said “glorious grace”. The Greek word for “glorious” is Doxa, which means “a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honor, and glory.” You see, God’s grace always results in His praise, honor, and glory. So, this doxa grace, this glorious grace has been poured out on us, but not on everyone, just on those “who belong to his dear Son”. If you belong to Jesus, you are covered in God’s grace, it has been poured out on you. I love this picture of His grace being poured out on us. Michelle and I like to hike, in fact, we do it every weekend. Many of our hikes lead us to waterfalls, and invariably, we see people standing under the waterfall…that’s the picture of God’s grace being poured out on us, it’s like standing under a waterfall of His grace.
Paul went on in verse 7 of this passage to say that God’s kindness and grace are so rich that He bought our freedom with the blood of Jesus Christ. That’s a high price, in fact, that’s the highest price possible. He bought my freedom with the blood of His only begotten Son! Think about that for a minute. Again, let’s picture that illustration of grace as a free gift. To us, the receivers of the gift, it is totally free. There is nothing we can do to earn it because let’s face it if we had to earn it, it wouldn’t be a gift, would it? But, on the giver’s side, there is always a price, even if it was a homemade gift, it cost that person time and materials. I remember one year for Mother’s Day, my brothers and I pulled together all of mom’s S&H Green Stamps, I know that is dating me somewhat, but we used them to buy her a figurine. Of course, she told us how much she loved it, and it sat in our living room for years to come, but it wasn’t a gift, because she paid for it. With a gift, there is always a price to be paid by the giver, and God paid the ultimate price for our freedom. There are those out there who will tell you that we are all on different roads to the same place, but that is simply not true. The Bible tells us, John 14:6 “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’” And, again in Acts 4:12 “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Redemption only comes through Christ! Galatians 2:21 says, “I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” So, if we could be saved by any other means, then Christ died in vain!
Ephesians 2:6-7 tells us, “6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.’’ There it is again, that ever-present theme of unity. Why has God raised us from the dead and seated us in the Heavenly Realms? Because we are united in Christ! Again, as with everything, this is for His glory, He seated us in the heavenly realms so that He could point to us in the future as examples of the “incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us.”
Notice that He didn’t just pour out His grace on us. The verse says, “along with all wisdom and understanding.” There is an old hymn that says, “There shall be showers of blessings”, and while that is true, I don’t think that is an accurate depiction. This verse says, “Poured Out”, there is a deluge of blessings. He has doused us with His kindness, wisdom, and understanding…wow! James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” I learned a lesson on this verse years ago from my youngest son. When he was about thirteen he read this verse and believed it. So, he started praying and asking God for wisdom every day, and Caleb is now one of the wisest men I know. The Bible is true, in fact, it is truth, so we must start believing it, not just say we do.
One of the things I love about this passage is the word kindness. You see, there are thirty-one verses in the Bible that tell us that God gives us wisdom and understanding, but this is the only verse that adds kindness. God has poured out on you and me, grace, wisdom, understanding, and kindness. What a beautiful picture!