Ephesians 1:3-6. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed [graced] us in the Beloved.
God’s grace is no ordinary grace. It is glorious grace.
Glory is weightiness (in Hebrew the root word is the word for a scale), it is meaning, significance, purpose. God’s glory is both his visible splendor, majesty, brilliance, and beauty, and his character. His goodness, love, compassion, and mercy that are made visible in his actions. God’s glory is beyond us. It transcends us. In fact, to see the fullness of God’s glory unveiled would kill us. But this same glory that could kill us is the glory that alone can give us life when we experience it in the form of God’s grace.
Grace informs everything that we know about God. Grace is God’s purpose, meaning, and significance. His weightiness. Grace is God’s majesty, brilliance, beauty, and splendor. Grace is God’s goodness, mercy, compassion, and love. Grace is what makes God glorious. It sets him apart from all others. We praise God because of his glorious grace.
Grace is glorious because it’s unnatural. It makes no sense. It’s shocking, extravagant, and even absurd. It is other worldly. It is truly divine.
Grace is glorious because it makes love, love. Love is only really love when it lives sacrificially. When it places another’s needs above its own. Grace is one-way love.
Grace is glorious because it is transformative. It turns us into what we are not. The unrighteous are now righteous. The lost are now found. The slaves are now free. The hateful are now beloved. The dying are now resurrected.
Grace is glorious because it is the catalyst of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Without grace we have nothing. We are nothing. We gain nothing. Ever. But because of grace there is union with Christ. There is indwelling Love. There is hope.
Grace is glorious because when we hit rock bottom, it’s the only thing that can take us up.
But as with any glory, the glory of grace brings with it two specific dangers. First, we can fear the power of something that is so glorious. On Mount Sinai the people were terrified by the glorious presence of God. Moses had to wear a veil when he came off the mountain.
Sometimes God’s grace is so glorious that we don’t trust it. So we try to veil it. We try to limit it because we fear that too much grace will cause us to sin more. But this never actually happens. We know from scripture that the law increases sin (Rom. 5:20). Rather, grace teaches us to say NO to ungodliness (Titus 2:12). It doesn’t increase ungodliness. It never has and it never will. There are no examples in scripture of someone sinning because they were given grace. Even in Corinth when that church totally misapplied their gracious salvation, Paul didn’t “balance them out with law.” No, he actually took them deeper into grace. Deeper into their union with Christ. He showed them that true grace is actually one-way love (1 Corinthians 13).
A second danger that comes with things that are glorious is that we tend to exalt the glorious thing instead of God. This can be true even of grace. Because God’s grace is so glorious we tend to turn it into something that we have to live up to. Another standard (law). This happens when we turn grace into a principle instead of receiving it in the person of Jesus Christ. “Christians should always respond in grace.” Or, “we need to show each other the grace we would want to receive.” Or, “because God has been gracious to us, we must be gracious to others.”
All of this is of course true. And a “grace principle” is the best of principles. But the irony is that as soon as we expect each other to live from this principle of grace it immediately ceases to be grace.
God’s grace is so glorious because it is far more than just a principle to be followed. It is a life that has already been live FOR us and is now being live IN us. It is something to be received not achieved. It’s a life not an example. It’s a transformation not an obligation. It’s a person, not a practice. It’s a glory not a guilt trip. It’s “to live is Christ.”