“…In order that in the coming ages He might display the surpassing riches of His grace, demonstrated by His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7)
It is easy for each of us to lose sight of God’s intentions for us. We can get so caught up in what we aren’t that we forget what we are – all because of what Jesus did for us. The message of the gospel is a message of God’s grace – the open demonstration of His divine character and nature as displayed through Jesus.
Jesus came to give us a real view of Who God is – and He came to give us a real demonstration as to the lengths to which His love would go for us. Think about it… God came. And God died. For you and me.
In my most honest moments, I still can’t get my head around that thought.
But God doesn’t ask us to “get our heads around” His grace towards us. He just asks us to accept His grace. To openly receive what He has so freely and openly given. That is WHY He sent Jesus in the first place.
In Ephesians 2, the apostle Paul reveals some amazing things. He tells us of our condition when Jesus came for us (i.e. dead in our trespasses and sins) and of the fact that this was unacceptable to God. His very nature compelled Him to do something (everything!) to remedy our condition. So Jesus came. So Jesus did what He did. All for us. To make us alive again – alive to the things and Heart of God.
But the apostle goes on to tell us that God made us alive for a reason. That reason was so that He could pour out His continuing grace upon our lives. He did not just give us grace to save us… He saved us by grace to make us the vessels of His grace – so that he could do what He has always wanted to do… pour out His grace upon us.
We are meant to be the ongoing display of God’s grace.
This is no small thing. The apostle describes this outpouring of grace as “the surpassing riches.” Riches that are over and above. Extravagant. Exceedingly abundant. NOT just enough to cover up our mess-ups. NOT just enough to forgive our sins. Grace in unimaginable abundance – as a living ongoing display of just how much His nature compels Him to give.
This is often more important than we realize. We get so focused on all our flaws and failures and faithlessness that we lose sight of the fact that God’s grace took care of all of that IN Jesus. God has “moved on” to “phase 2.” Jesus took care of everything that was needed (in us) in “phase 1.”
Because of Jesus, we used to be sinners, now He calls us “saints.” We used to be dead in our trespasses and sins, now we are alive to God. We used to be chained to the patterns and ways of this world, now we know the truth and the truth has set us free. We used to be mired in the filth of this world, but now we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places (2:6!).
Everything Jesus did was to demonstrate God’s grace. Now everything God wants to do is do display the surpassing riches of grace through our redeemed lives.
True Christianity is: God… pouring out His exceeding grace to us… and through us.