“…made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:5b-6 (ESV)
Today we have selected another passage which tells us how our God has wonderful plans for us and they include what He is doing with us, His children, these days. The Apostle Paul reveals to the believers in Ephesus and to us the amazing depth of what we have since God brought us into His family. Making for us a place with Jesus in heaven, He wants this to demonstrate something very important. And now that we are a part of His family He can be very kind and generous in His treatment of us. When He treats in a kind and loving way, He demonstrates how rich His grace is because we don’t deserve such treatment at all. It is all by His grace and mercy that He does this for us. Has God been kind to you, His child? If so, that is part of His plan to show how rich His grace is. It’s as our verse says that he might show what is incomparable – the unlimited extent of grace through kindness, lovingkindness.
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,” – Titus 3:4-6 (NASB)
How and why God saves people is a general point of discussion. This is because it is nearly impossible for one to consider any salvation is accomplished without some contribution on their part. It’s simple to read what God’s promises are about salvation from the curse and wages of sin (Romans 6:23). It’s more difficult for some to imagine their salvation having nothing to do with how they live their lives. But God promised, and we read His promise in the passage for today: kindness, love, and mercy, all represent aspects of God’s grace. Mercy is goodness given and conferred when it is not deserved or earned. Our our best and purest deeds are never good enough to save. This salvation brings for us divine cleansing from sin and the gift of a new, Holy Spirit-generated and Spirit-empowered, and Spirit-protected life as God’s own children and heirs⸺this is our new birth. It is a promise that is poured out upon us according to His riches in Jesus Christ, our Savior. What a promise it is and one that we can depend upon and live by.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight,” – Ephesians 1:7-8 (ESV)
What is it like to have someone lavish good things on us? ‘Lavish’ is not a word we use enough but it means so much and when used in today’s context, it is a blessing and a promise. It means to pour out, to abound and our promise is that God has already poured and continues pouring out in abundance the riches of His grace. We don’t deserve grace and we can’t earn it. Grace is given to the undeserving by the will and action of God. The term ‘redemption through His blood’ is used here and is an act of paying the required ransom to God for the release of a person from bondage. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross where he bled and died, paid that price for every elect person enslaved by sin. It was Jesus Christ’s gracious action that bought each of us who believe out of the slave market of iniquity. The price of redemption was death. The promise of redemption includes the limitless grace of God, and forgiveness of sin. This promise brings divinely-bestowed spiritual understanding. This is what God has poured out lavishly, beyond our imagination because He loves us.
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 (NASB)
Has your supply of anything run out? Are your reserves low? Energy, hope, faith, maybe just a few of the needs we’re facing. Maybe we’re blindsided by something totally unexpected and we’re laid flat out on our back. We hardly have the energy to get up. When we do, we struggle to regain focus and direction. God has given us a promise in this verse. We can lean on this verse and trust it even if we’re having a hard time understanding. Who will fulfill this promise? God. Not just any god but my God, our God. The one and only true God who is the supplier of everything we need. Sometimes we may not even know what we need or what we think we need is not what God knows we need. He will supply what we truly need and it is according to His riches. It’s not out of his riches, which would deplete the balance, but according to which will never deplete His store of infinite riches. These riches are in the Bank of Glory in Christ Jesus. What Jesus has done for us is permanent, lasting for eternity. All Your Needs Supplied by God.
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” – Romans 10:12-13 (ESV)
We can hardly choose among all the promises of God, and name one or even some as the best promises of all. Everything that comes to us from God is a blessing that cannot be measured; gifts, abilities; strength; endurance; faith; grace; and we could go on and on. However, our promise of salvation, given to the human race in Genesis 3, after the sin of Eve and Adam, is the most vital because without receiving promised salvation from God, no other blessings will be ours. Important to notice is that God’s promises are given to everyone who calls on His name to be saved. Absolutely no distinctions exist between any races or cultures. In the first century during the early development of the Church, there was a distinction made by some people between Jews and Greeks, and between men and women. It is no different today. Perhaps you’ve heard about Critical Race Theory? It is a theory that claims the supposed appearance of race and racism across and in cultures exists everywhere. With God, He promises that there are no such distinctions between races or classes or genders. Let’s live according to that promise in our lives.
“He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,” – Ephesians 3:16 (NASB)
The Apostle Paul often wrote long complex sentences and this verse is and excerpt from one of those time. Though the prayer for the Ephesian believers begins in verse 14 and ends in verse 19, Paul’s request is in verse 16. In this prayer he asked for only one thing: His petition in this prayer is that we be strengthened in the inner man. The result of this is that through faith Christ dwells in our hearts. “Dwell” is not a word used frequently in our day but in this passage Paul is praying for our faith to be dwelling in our hearts and permeating our whole being (personalities). “Dwell” refers not to the beginning of Christ’s indwelling at the moment of salvation. Instead it denotes the desire that Christ may, literally, “be at home in,” our lives. That is, dwelling at the very center of and deeply rooted within our being. It is a promise, if we let Him, that Christ becomes the dominating factor in our thought (attitudes), words (speech), and deeds (conduct). Being rooted and grounded in love is for our understanding the awesome extent of Christ’s love.