That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:7 KJV).
The Triumph of Grace
Ephesians 2 is a wonderful exposition of the triumph of grace. Though once enslaved in the dismal dominion of death, grace has won a mighty victory, giving us life and liberty, who were formerly children characterised by and destined for wrath.
The Trajectory of Grace
“But God” – the immense power of God’s great, love-impelled mercy explodes like a multi-stage rocket in verse 4 to defy the gravitational pull of the prince of the power of the air and propel us to the heavenly heights of grace.
What was then true of Christ bodily in His resurrection and ascension into glory is now true of us spiritually. God’s grace has enlivened us together with Christ. At the moment of salvation, the same power which reached into the lifeless darkness of His tomb wrought in the deadness of our souls, giving spiritual life together with Christ – the mighty miracle of regeneration.
Grace has elevated us together with Christ – no longer earth-bound, we are raised together with Him. As Christ passed bodily through the domain of the infernal hosts – now subject to Him and under His feet – so we are no longer captive to them, nor under their power; this is the exhilarating truth of emancipation. United with Christ, the believer is no longer doomed to fulfil slavishly the cravings of the flesh as the world does, having been set free by grace and fitted by Christ to do the good purpose of God.
Implicit in the idea of Christ being seated at God’s right hand is God’s affirmation of His irrevocable and unassailable authority. “The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psa 103:19 ESV).
As Priest, Christ sat down by reason of His finished work; however, as the co-sovereign Power of the universe, He has been seated by God in recognition of His infinite worth – His intrinsic worth as the beloved (Eph 1:6) and His inherited worth as head of the body (1:22-23). “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?” (Heb 1:5 KJV). None other has been given such honour, for He alone is worthy.
The astounding truth of this passage is that we are destined to share Christ’s glory. Grace has established us together with Christ. The three composite verbs, quickened together, raised together and sit together, emphasize that in the purpose of God, the course mapped out for us by grace follows exactly the same trajectory as His ascent to glory by right. As He is seated, so we are seated together with Him – our place before God is established as His eternal throne.
It doesn’t end there. The Prodigal would have been satisfied as a hired servant in the Father’s house, but grace had much more in store for him – a ring, sandals, the best robe and a fatted calf. God has not saved us merely to be hired servants but has predestinated us to sonship, that we should be before Him in love (1:4-5), that eternally, as objects of His love, we should be exhibits of His grace.
The Treasures of Grace
God’s kindness is the corollary of His grace. We have been seated together with Christ so that God might show forth the riches of His grace. His acts of kindness are indicative of His character – they are outward demonstrations of His inner disposition of grace.
Far from this being a unique reference, the Bible is replete with the wonder of God’s grace. Throughout Scripture, God is variously rich, or plenteous, in mercy, slow to anger, and super-abundant in grace. He is never “ready to punish,” but “ready to pardon.” A God of forgiveness, He delights in mercy, finding no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
More than that, the biblical record not only describes God’s grace in superlative words but demonstrates it in superlative ways. The Bible’s epic storylines are of the exploits of grace; its heroes, exponents of grace. Amidst the morass of human wickedness, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Magnifying God’s great and gracious heart of love, the Holy Spirit highlights Joseph’s wholehearted forgiveness of his scheming brothers, the generosity of Boaz’s love for a self-confessed Moabite stranger, and the bountiful blessing, for Jonathan’s sake, of Mephibosheth by David, “a man after God’s own heart.” The Apostle Paul, an erstwhile murderous enemy of Christ, recognised that in his own dramatic conversion God had made him a prototype of grace – “a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1Ti 1:16 KJV).
The surpassing riches of God’s grace were most blessedly portrayed in our Lord Jesus Christ who, “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor” (2Co 8:9 KJV). As we could never scale the heights of His riches, so we could never sound the depths of His poverty. His incarnation alone was a stoop of unimaginable proportions, yet for our sakes He went deeper still – to the unfathomable extremity of the cross. Of this blessed man John tells us, “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (1:17). Thus, he described (“declared” KJV) the indescribable, bringing to full view the superlative grace of the invisible God.
It is in and for Christ’s sake, the man of matchless grace, that we will be eternally blessed – showered with the surpassing riches of God’s grace – eternally the objects of exhaustless grace, infinite in variety and inexhaustible in supply.
The Timelessness of Grace
Yes! Not merely the millennial glory of the age to come (1:21), but the horizonless ocean of God’s eternal goodness will be displayed in the ages to come.
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.”
Amazing Grace! In truth, the prospect of such grace is beyond comprehension and defies description, but when our stammering words are exhausted, our worshipping spirits exult in the greatness of our God.
“Great God of wonders, all thy ways
Are worthy of thyself – divine;
But the bright glories of thy grace
Above thine other wonders shine,
Who is a pardoning God like thee?
Or Who has grace so rich and free?”
Beloved, let us think great thoughts of our gracious God. Begone every mean thought of Him. Let us praise His grace with all our heart, and preach it with all our might!