…according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.
“…according to the riches of His grace…” Wow what a wonderful truth! Grace is simply unmerited favour, and that is the description of God’s favour towards us, we did nothing to merit it. Furthermore God’s GRACE is rich in its depth towards us. An acrostic for GRACE that I learnt as a young Christian is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. We did nothing to earn it, Christ did it all AND He has already paid for it ALL by His Blood! If that were not enough we are told today that this rich grace God has made to ABOUND to us.
The Greek word perisseuo translated abound is a beautifully graphic term. It means to super abound or to have much more than enough. It immediately puts into motion images of showers of blessings, unexpected surprises and generosity unrestrained. However if we are honest with ourselves we can be quite negative of such generosity, because when we see a mirror of it in others we tend to view it as un-natural, unbalanced or even foolish. For instance when we think of someone we know who is displaying lavish behaviour we tend to think that they are going over the top or making more of a thing than is necessary. But there is nothing unbalanced or foolish in God’s over abounding goodness as described in our verse today, but it is un-natural, it is in fact supernatural!
As for being unbalanced well that is not a word that can ever be used to describe the activity of God. In God there is a perfect balance to everything He does and this verse is beautifully balanced in its entirety. Notice that God lavishes His love on us with all wisdom and prudence. Wisdom means that God has thoroughly thought it through, and prudence means that God has considered the cost. Both of these thoughts bring us back to our previous studies in Ephesians reminding us that God has had us in mind for a very long time, since the creation of the world itself; and that He was willing to pay the highest price possible to bring us back into right relationship with Himself, that price being The Blood of Christ. To God we were worth the cost! Romans 5v8-9 states that God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him (Christ). And Romans 8v31-32 goes on to declare, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
It is interesting to note that with every genuine move of God throughout history the focus of the Gospel message recalibrates to The Blood. A 19th Century pioneer missions evangelist Fanny Crosby who was blind wrote one of the best known revivalist songs, To God be the glory. The second verse reads,
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
She realised like the writer of Ephesians that only when we consider ourselves as that vilest offender can we hope to appreciate the lavish goodness of God. It is not about looking across the room and pointing the finger at others, we are the only offender that matters, because we will only give an account before God for our own lives, no one else’s! When we see our own selfish ambition, secret pride, impure motivations and prejudice as nothing other than sin, inexcusable and blatant sin, then we will fall on our knees and praise God that He has indeed lavished His love on us and daily petition His throne that others may come to know of His abounding mercy.
So let us take a moment to see ourselves in the mirror of God’s lavish and abounding grace and love towards us. As we do let us not deceive ourselves, let us confess our need of God’s forgiveness for wrong thoughts and actions – that we have been that vilest offender. The full Gospel moves from the Cross to the Empty Tomb; let us not allow the measure of our sin to make us wallow in self pity but rather make the bold step to accept His forgiveness and step into the freedom of His will – with purpose and with great joy and thankfulness, knowing that a forgiven saint is a forward moving saint!
OUR PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, thank you for the lavishness of Your Grace which You have made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. Help us today LORD to see our lives in the light of Your Grace, both in our needing of it and our being set free to live in it. Help us LORD to communicate Your Grace to others that their hearts too may be softened to respond to Your abundant goodness.