Summary: Our amazement at God’s grace grows the more we see that it comes at Christ’s expense, which means that grace is totally undeserving by us, that grace is only in Jesus, and that grace is for God’s glory.
God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit touches our hearts are the words he breathed into the Apostle Paul to write, recorded in Ephesians 2:
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raise us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expresses in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:4-10 NIV). --This is the the word of our Lord.
Dear friends who live in God’s grace,
The opening hymn, Amazing Grace, is one of the best known hymns in our country. Especially in times of tragedy and death you hear that soulful melody sung by a soloist a played on bagpipes. But do those who hear that hymn or even those who have sung it, do they know what God’s grace is? Do you know what God’s grace is all about?
Unfortunately, that hymn does not mention the greatest act of God’s grace. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying its a bad hymn. And I’m sure that many Christians can’t help but think about God’s greatest act of grace as they sing those words. John Newton, who wrote that hymn, certainly knew and believed in God’s greatest act of grace. What is it, you ask? God’s greatest act of grace is his giving his only-begotten Son, Jesus, to die for our sins and to rise from the dead for our forgiveness. The Gospel (John 3:14-21) for today brought that home.
But I fear that so many in the world latch on to that hymn for the wrong reasons. Since the hymn doesn’t mention Jesus by name, any type of religion could use those words. Even though no one can know God’s grace except through Jesus, many who sing that hymn imagine that God’s grace is simply there to make them feel better and give them the wishful hope that they will be saved no matter what they believe.
And what about you and me? We talk a lot about grace, but do we fully comprehend how undeserving we are of it? Do we stand in dumb-struck awe and amazement at what Jesus freely did for us by grace alone? Do we grasp the reality of God’s grace so that we can not do otherwise but respond with faith and good works that glorify God? Or is grace just another one of those church words?
I’m not sure who came up with the acrostic, but it really helps me focus on what God’s grace is all about. It helps me remember his greatest act of grace. That acrostic is the theme for today: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Take the first letter of each word and you have G R A C E, grace.
As we think about grace, we don’t want to be misguided by the world’s ideas but hold our minds captive to God’s word. This section in Ephesians chapter 2 is one of the best places in the Bible to show us what God’s grace is all about. Through these words that God gave the Apostle, may the Holy Spirit fill us with awe at God’s grace For 1) God’s grace is undeserved by us. 2) God’s grace is only in Christ Jesus. And 3) God’s grace is for his glory. These three points help us to see that only because of grace do we have God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
1) God’s grace is undeserved by us
Before we can comprehend what God’s grace is and what his grace has done for us, we must see how undeserving we are. We often define grace as Undeserved love. Usually when people show love, they are attracted by something in the other person – their personality, their looks, their interests.
There is nothing in us to attract God’s love. Paul teaches us that we were dead in transgressions. We were spiritual road-kill, you might say. Nothing in us attracts us to God. We usually can not get away from a dead skunk fast enough. Everything in us by nature was repulse to God. In addition, just like a dead skunk , we could not move, we could not crawl out of the way. We couldn’t pull ourselves toward God – we couldn’t decide to do it, chose to do it, try to do it, or even want to do it. We were dead in sin, powerless, just like a dead animal on the road. And even more so, unlike road-kill which originally was alive, you and I began life dead, spiritually dead in sin. That was the nature we inherited from our parents. That is what works in us to corrupt our thoughts and will so that we follow the desires of our flesh. That inherited nature made us children under anger and wrath, not under God’s grace.