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.
In yesterday’s reading we said that we have all of Jesus’ spiritual blessings. Because we are in Christ, we are as blessed as he is. But why? Why is God so good to us? Especially when we don’t deserve it?
Because of his glorious grace.
Grace is everything for the Christian. Look at Ephesians 1:6 again. Grace is the beginning, middle, and end of God’s relationship with us. He graces us with grace so that we might praise his grace. Without grace there is no gospel. Without grace there is no salvation. Without grace there is no union with Christ. Without grace there is no hope or meaning to life. Without grace God is not glorious.
Glory is weightiness (in the Bible “glory” comes from 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. 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. This same glory that once said “stay away,” was veiled in flesh and came near to save us. This same glory that once said “you can’t look at me and live,” now says “behold the glory of the Lord in the face of Christ.”
Grace IS the glory of God. Grace is God’s purpose, meaning, and significance. His weightiness. Grace is God’s majesty, brilliance, beauty, and splendor. Glorious grace sets God apart from all others. We praise God because of his glorious grace.
But what makes grace so glorious?
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 defines love. Love is only really love when it is lived out 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 hate filled now love. The dying now live.
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 blessing. There is eternal life.
Truly grace is amazing. But as with anything this glorious there are dangers that come with it. Dangers to grace? Yes. Let me show you two dangers to the glory of grace.
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 because the people couldn’t handle his glowing face from the glory of God’s gracious presence. 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. There are no examples in scripture of someone sinning because they were given grace. The reality is that only grace can make us holy. Only grace can motivate true righteousness.
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 form of law. This happens when we turn grace into a principle to be followed rather than the person of Jesus Christ.
Have you heard Christians say things like, “We 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 true of course. And a “grace principle” is the best of principles. But the irony is that as soon as we judge each other from this “principle of grace,” it immediately ceases to be grace.
“To live is Christ” means that God’s glorious grace is living in us. It is not just an external principle to follow. It is a life to be received. It is everything. Our beginning, middle, and end. Our source and our goal. Our cause and our effect. We have received grace, that we might live from grace, to the praise of grace. God’s glorious grace.
Are you experiencing God’s glorious grace each day?
You in Christ
Are you relying on grace to make you holy, or something else?
Christ in you
Where might you be able to demonstrate God’s glorious grace today?
Playlist: Glorious Grace.
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