2004-10-12 - More and More Grace
Ephesians 1:6, "to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."
Continuing on with the points of doctrine found in verse 6 from Paul Bayne.
We focused on the grace of God the last two weeks, and it seems that Paul Bayne is also focused on God's glory in his points of doctrine. We might pause and think about where we see God's glory most. Some might say in creation, and if you have traveled some, you know this to be true. God's glory is evident in His creation and the wonders of it. We might look to ourselves and notice how our hearts have been changed, and see the image of God restored in us. This also shows the grace of God. It has long been said that God changing a sinful heart is a greater work of creation than the creation of heaven and earth. However, I think where we see God's grace and glory clearest is in His sending of His Son Jesus Christ. "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth," John 1:14.
This is what makes the Christian faith different from any other faith. The Christian faith is not a record of man working his/her way to God, but rather, it is the record of God coming to man. It is not about what we do to win God's favor, but rather it is about what God has done.
If there is anything clear in Scripture, it is that we are ruined in ourselves. We are lost by our own works of sin, and it is God's grace in Jesus Christ that works restoration for us in our helplessness. Even our perseverance in God's grace is to His glory. God is love, and part of His love is His grace, by which we are accepted in the Beloved. And we need to be careful that we understand this verse. The Beloved is Christ. It is true that we are beloved by God in Christ, but we are not the Beloved. Christ is the Beloved, and God deals with us in the Beloved, in Christ, not as individuals alone, but as those who are in the Beloved. This is the foundation of our forgiveness and acceptance.
The grace of God is a wonderful to focus on but we must move onto verse seven next week. We will camp out again a little at verse seven, and then I hope to speed things up a little. I will end this with a little recount of John Newton's words on the verse, "By the grace of God, I am what I am." He said in reference, "I am not what I ought to be, ah! How imperfect and deficient! I am not what I wish to be. I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good. I am not what I hope to be. Soon, soon, shall I put off mortality, and, with mortality, all sin and imperfection. Yet though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say I am not what I once was, a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, 'By the grace of God, I am what I am.'"
Soli Deo Gloria,
Editor's note: As with yesterday's devotional, the spelling errors, words, as well as words simply spelled differently at the time the text was written - are left as is.