Grace Upon Grace
Bible Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
In all her eighty some years, she had never attended church and she’d never read from the Bible. It’d be fair to say she was a little “rough around the edges,” but she had a keen sense of humor and I grew to enjoy my visits with her. The fact of her soon pending death had piqued her interest in spiritual things. Her vision wasn’t very good, so I bought her a Giant Print Bible, and she began reading through the gospel of John. It was on one of our first visits that she asked, “With so many different religions out there, how’s a person to know which one is the right one?” From that point forward we talked about Jesus and the salvation availed to a person by grace through faith. And that’s where the difference lies, does it not? God is a God of grace and He saves lost sinners by grace and not by works! Praise the Lord!
God is gracious. A.W. Tozer wrote of this particular attribute: “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits on the undeserving. It is a self-existent principle inherent in the divine nature and appears to us as a self-caused propensity to pity the wretched, spare the guilty, welcome the outcast, and bring into favor those who were under just disapprobation. Its use to us sinful men is to save us and make us sit together in heavenly places to demonstrate to the ages the exceeding riches of God’s kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
Theologians distinguish between the common grace that is common to all mankind and the special grace that is availed to the believer in Christ. Through common grace God cares for His creation. Common grace includes all undeserved blessings that natural man receives from the hand of God: rain, sun, prosperity, health, happiness, natural capacities and gifts, sin being restrained from complete dominion, etc.
It’s in the salvation of the sinner that the manifold riches of God’s grace are unveiled to us. The word “grace” is to Biblical Christianity a distinguishing word, and is used more than 150 times in the New Testament. It’s generally defined in terms of “unmerited favor.” There are then two aspects of this saving grace, the “unmerited” part and the “favor” part. How unmerited were you? Ephesians 2:1-3 speaks to this–you were spiritually dead and devil-led; living a life of sin; and by nature a child of wrath! Then there is the “favor” part. How has the God of grace shown favor towards you? We’ve not the space to adequately say, but Ephesians 1:3-14 speaks to how God has super blessed the believer in all the various aspects of his salvation. Having done it all to the “praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:6).
The language of God’s grace is always in the superlative. Jesus Himself was “full of grace” (John 1:14) and from His fullness we’ve received “grace upon grace” (John 1:16). God is rich in grace (Ephesians 2:7), of which there is abundance (Romans 5:17). We are exhorted to make our way to His throne of grace, “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:12). There has never been and will never be a grace shortage with God (2 Corinthians 9:8). How incredibly blessed by grace we are! Praise the Lord!
Heavenly Father. Praise You that You are a gracious God. We were so utterly lost, without You and without hope in this world. Being spiritually dead, we were helpless, like Lazarus dead in the tomb. But by grace You intervened. In your great love you not only forgave us, but you made us alive together with Christ, and blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Him. We are forever amazed at your capacity to give! May we walk in a manner worthy of the gracious calling we have received! Thank you for loving us!