“The Exceeding Riches of His Grace”
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace
in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:4-8
Here are a few phrases from Scripture concerning the beautiful grace wrought by Jesus Christ for all who will come and take of the water of life freely
- “the glory of his grace” (Eph. 1:6)
- “the exceeding riches of his grace” (Eph. 2:7)
- “the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12)
Do you realize what you have?
Oh My! What unfathomable riches have we been given in this “so GREAT salvation”? (Heb. 2:3) Do we even begin to realize that in Christ ALL of our sins and iniquities have been and are forgiven as we have and do come before His holy throne of grace!?
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:12-14
In God’s Word and eternal kingdom economy, the forgiveness of sins is always accompanied and surrounded by divine initiating grace and the personal responsibility of each person to appropriate the salvation provided for us in Jesus Christ.
Of God’s grace, the Bible says that it is:Brings salvation (Tit. 2:11)
- Abundant (Acts 4:33)
- Rich (Eph. 1:7)
- Glorious (Eph. 1:6)
- Manifold (1 Pet. 4:10)
- Sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9)
- To be multiplied in believers (Jn. 1:16; 2 Pet. 1:2; 3:18)
- Is a teacher and enabler (Eph. 3:7; 4:7; Tit. 2:11-12; 1 Pet. 4:10-11)
- The redemption that is in Christ’s shed divine, sinless blood (Matt. 26:28; Col. 1:14; 1 Jn. 2:1-2)
- The riches of His precious grace (Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7; 2:7; Tit. 3:4-7) – G.R.A.C.E. = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
- The “good pleasure” of God and “his goodness” (Ps. 86:5, 15; Lk. 12:32; Eph. 1:5-14; 2 Thess. 1:11)
- The throne of His grace (Heb. 4:14-16)
- “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our LORD Jesus Christ” (Acts 3:19; 20:21)
- The fear of God (Ps. 2:11; 103:11; Prov. 14:26-27; Matt. 10:28; Lk. 12:5-6)
- Transparency – the act of openly admitting sin our of a pure and broken heart and the outright refusal to deny that which we have done which violates a holy God (Ps. 32:5; 38:18; 69:5; 51; Prov. 28:13; 1 Jn. 1:9)
- Specific confession of our sins (Ps. 32:1-5; 1 Jn. 1:9)
- Fellowship/relationship with the LORD (1 Jn.1:3-2:2)
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (atoning sacrifice) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Romans 3:24-25
Have we not all had the “everyone else is doing it” thought and believed that somehow the holy LORD and Judge was going to somehow overlook our sins when all is said and done? Well, be sure He will not pardon those who do not fall upon His mercy before it is too late (Exod. 34:7; Isa. 55:6-7; Ezek. 33:12-13; Lk. 13:3,5; Acts 2:37-40; 2 Cor. 5:11; Rev. 21:8, 27). Yet, all sins are washed away completely in the very instant the believer confesses and forsakes them (Ps. 103:2-3; Prov. 28:13; 1 Jn. 1:9; 2:1-2).
What we must realize is that all things work according to His divine wisdom and on His terms and not our terms. Neglecting or refusing to know, understand and embrace His Word (terms of the covenant) will result in shunning the grace and salvation of Christ and the loss of one’s soul (Heb. 2:1-3). Altering or ignoring His clear terms, revealed in His Holy Word, is the beginning of the creation of a false god in our hearts. Separation, despair, delusion and damnation will always be the result of disobeying the One who is worthy of all our praise (Deut. 28).
“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Acts 20:32
The “inheritance” of our “so great salvation” and “the exceeding riches of his grace” is discovered in “the word of his grace.” We see in this blessed passage that the disciple of Jesus Christ is introduced to and matured in the divine “inheritance” of His salvation as he desires and devours “the word of his grace.”
The terms and conditions of the covenant inheritance purchased by the very blood of our Savior are contained in the canon of Holy Scripture – the Holy Bible. Saint of Christ, have you embarked upon the rewarding task of mining the golden truths of the Scriptures? If not, how can you know His nature and covenant blessings and terms? How shall we appropriate the myriad of rich benefits He has in store if we know not His precepts? LORD Jesus, please bless us with an ever-deepening hunger and thirst to know You more and to unearth the treasure chest of golden nuggets You have given us in Your Word! Amen.
As remarkable and unfathomable as the sacrifice of Jesus is and the grace that was provided through it to us, He has left the appropriation of such up to the individual. An initial one-time reception does not forever seal the individual indelibly. Initial and ongoing saving faith is required to receive and remain in His salvation (Jn. 15:1-6; Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:8-9; Col. 1:22-23; Heb. 3:6, 12-15).
The false security gospel that seeks to exploit the LORD by over-emphasizing and redefining His grace, has blanketed our land through misled men. This is a lucrative message to them because it gives the people what they want and yet is not the truth (2 Tim. 4:2-4). This insulating and inoculating message is readily received by those who do not know God’s Word for themselves and/or those who are not willing to lay down their own lives to serve Jesus (Lk. 9:23-24).
Loving God is commanded and yet it is also left up to the individual to engage in a relationship with Him (Matt. 22:37-39). If one is to do so, it must be under His non-negotiable conditions and not on ones own terms.
“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:11-13
Note here what God’s Word tells us. It is only “IF we” choose to “be dead with him” that “we shall also live with him.” It is only “IF we suffer” with Him and for His holy name and Gospel’s sake that “we shall also reign with him.” And perhaps this following portion of the Bible text is a real clincher – “if we deny him, he also WILL deny us.”
Some tout the last part of this text while ignoring the whole passage. They will say “yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” Ah let’s talk about this. The LORD says “he cannot deny himself” but He doesn’t say anywhere that He cannot deny us! In fact this very passage says “if we deny him, he also WILL deny us.” Could the Almighty have said it plainer?
The individual disciple must enjoin the LORD in His desire and will and choose to abide in Christ and be conformed to His holy image in vital relational union (Rom. 8:29). We know the LORD will do His part – He is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Isa. 59:1-2; Phil. 2:12-13). What remains to be seen is whether the individual believer will do his part. “Choose ye (you choose) this day whom you will serve…” (Jos. 24:15) He has called His people to keep the white garments of His righteousness spotless and to do such one must choose to remain in a faith-filled, obedient relationship with Him. The fear of the LORD is necessary.
Have you ever contrasted people in the Bible who feared God and those who didn’t? Such a study is telling. For example, Cain, Esau, king Saul, and Judas chose not to repent when each of them was given by God the same ability and privilege as their counter parts. The fact that the LORD granted each of the eight persons in question the exact same opportunity is best summed up in Genesis 4:7 when the LORD spoke to Cain:
“And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth (mad)? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” Genesis 4:6-7
Why get mad? Why not do things God’s way and get glad? Why get bitter instead of better? You have a choice. The LORD said to Cain “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” He said in other words the LORD said to Cain: “Will I not accept you fully if you will do things my way? Cain, My desire is to bless you and not hurt you and I will accept you just as I accepted your brother Abel if you will simply forsake your own way and do things My way as he does.”
Cain had the exact same opportunity as Abel to get right and stay right with the LORD. This Bible fact alone disproves Calvin’s false presumptions and premise. Each of these brothers made a choice. Abel joyfully served His Creator and rejoiced to do things just as He asked him to. Cain refused to turn to the LORD from a humble heart and do things on His terms. He then slew his brother Abel. See Genesis 4.
David and Abel and Peter and Jacob all had many struggles with the sinful nature just as we do daily. Yet each of these men chose to continue coming before the Savior, approaching boldly to His holy throne of grace (not condemnation) for help and forgiveness (Matt. 11:28-30; Heb. 4:14-16). These God-fearing men chose to have hearts after the LORD of love. They each continued to make the decision to seek His holy face and not allow anything to derail them from intimacy with the LORD. Precious Jesus bless us to keep You as the first and foremost love of our lives!
God never intended for any person to rebel and go to hell and yet He is holy and just in all of His dealings with men. If He sends someone to hell it is because that person freely chose to not believe and obey Him. Unfortunately the majority of people will end up in the unalterable and conscious state of eternal damnation (Matt. 7:13-14). It’s a choice made by each individual human by how they live their earthly life. Remember that the LORD never separates what we do from what we believe (Prov. 20:11; Matt. 7:21-23; 25:40-46; Jn. 14:21; James 1:22-25; 1 Jn. 2:3-5). There will be no second chance to do things God’s way and not our own. You my reader friend, will never be granted a second opportunity to obey God - “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Heb. 9:27) As we die so shall we remain throughout eternity (Eccl. 11:4; Rev. 21:8, 27; 22:11). If you choose not to literally love Him supremely and place your full trust in Him and perform His holy will in this life His divinely-executed and just punishment will be the result.
Should this truth cause us to do a serious self-examination to find out where we really stand with the LORD and not where we think we stand? (2 Cor. 13:5) Doesn’t the Bible warn us that it is entirely possible that we can be and that “many” are presently self-deceived? (Matt. 7:21-23; James 1:22) Make no mistake: Those who genuinely fear the Most High trust and obey Him in their daily lives. Didn’t He forewarn us all that what we do and do not do to His people is the way we are actually treating Him? In this we can see a crystal clear and true picture of our literal spiritual state. See Matthew 25:40-46. What is the revelation and end of those who do not bless God’s people? What is the clear state of those who do bless His people? Go see for yourself in this Matthew 25 passage.
Friend, since you and I can read these very words we know we have the privilege to make the needed adjustments and be forgiven - which is God’s will for us. We all have equal opportunity to love and serve God and such is proven by how we treat His people. Consider this:
Cain had the same opportunity as Abel.
Esau had the same opportunity as Jacob.
Saul had the same opportunity as David.
Judas had the exact same opportunity as Peter.
Cain’s love of self and hatred for God was manifested in the way he treated his brother Abel (he killed him). The same is true for how Saul treated righteous David (he attempted to kill David 21 times). What did Judas neglect to do for the other eleven? Think with me for a moment - Each of these four men who chose to rebel instead of repent have been in the excruciating, conscious torment of hell for thousands of earthly years while their counterparts are in the bliss and glory of Heaven with the One they chose to trust and obey in their brief earthly life.
Remember the story Jesus told about the “certain rich man” and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31? Didn’t their state flip flop in eternity? What do we know about the earthly life of these two men and what led to their eternal placement? Investigate Luke 16:19-31.
The Bible tells us that the LORD is “holy, and just, and good” and His desire and ability to redeem and bless have not diminished (Rom. 7:12; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). Jesus Christ came to the earth to set men free and yet if we continue to live in sin it will cause us to be alienated from Him and deprived of His delivering power (Lk. 4:18; Jn. 8:31-32, 36; Isa. 59:1-2).
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY.” Revelation 19:7
Those who appear at “the marriage of the Lamb” to His bride, will be those who make themselves ready by becoming and remaining cleansed by His blood and Word (1 Jn. 1:7, 9; Eph. 5:25-27). The true Bride of Christ identifies herself by her willing obedience to work in cooperation with the Bridegroom. See also Matthew 25:1-13.
According to the whole counsel of Scripture the LORD initiates the relationship with the individual and the individual chooses to or not to respond affirmatively to His grace (divine influence upon the heart). See John 1:12. He left the final choosing up to the individual. Contrary to false teaching today, no unwilling participant is in or will be in the kingdom of Christ. Every single individual who is in and will be in the eternal kingdom, has and will have chosen to willingly and freely agree with and obey the Truth Himself (Jn. 14:6; 15, 21). Everyone else has or will have chosen the path of unbelief and denial of Christ – the Truth.
“For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:” Proverbs 1:29
God is holy and only those who choose to allow Him to forgive and wash away their sins are fit for His family. There of necessity must be a mutual agreement and alignment in any good relationship. There is the sense that the LORD initiates and man responds. This continues to hold true throughout the life of the one who has been initially saved. Jesus told us plainly that only those who are converted (born again) and become humble and dependent upon Him like little children, will enter His eternal kingdom (Matt. 18:3).
Make no mistake, the individual believer is not fit to cleanse himself initially nor ongoing. He has no ability to change his filthy rags to righteous garments (Isa. 64:6). No, instead he must fall upon and continue to collapse upon the mercy of the LORD to be continually cleansed (Heb. 4:14-16). Coming continually to His throne of grace is essential to remaining in Christ. As mud soils our clothes, so sin stains the garments once made white by the blood of Jesus. This is the imagery given in Scripture. Let’s peek into what Jesus told the church (saved people) at the city of Sardis:
“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:4-6
What we know from this passage (Rev. 3:1-6):
- The people Jesus is addressing have been born again – “the church in Sardis” v1
- Garments of righteousness can be stained and remain that way till washed afresh/again – “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments” v4
- Of the “few” whose “garments” were not defiled by unrepentant sin He promised that “they shall walk with me in white” v4
- He told us that only these whose continued to repent and have their garments washed from the stain of sin in the blood of Christ “are worthy” v4
- Condition for Heaven given - “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment” v5
- He gave a promise to all those once saved who keep their garments washed in the blood of Jesus through abiding in Him - “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life” v5
- To those who overcome and are found in washed in the blood of Christ at the end of their lives – “I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” v5
- Warning to hear His voice and fear Him – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” v6
The Son of God uses the word “few” here which means that perhaps a majority of those who once had a walk with the LORD had succumbed to the call of the world and were now living in a cold state of heart (backslid – Prov. 14:14). The word “few” here is key. Doing a study on the word “few” in the New Testament Scriptures can be very fruitful to ones understanding of the divine economy and should promote the fear of the LORD in the student of Scripture. Do you recall that when He spoke about Heaven Christ said it was a “narrow” path that leads there and that “few there be that find it”? (Matt. 7:13-14) Conversely He told us all that “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction (eternal hell), and many there be which go in thereat.” Why? Because He created all men with the choice and foreknew that most will not choose to fear and obey Him even though such is His desire (Jer. 29:11).
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” Revelation 16:15
To His very own people Jesus Christ warns here of the necessity of keeping ones “garments, lest he walk naked.” The dreadful threat of walking “naked” or uncovered is clearly inferred here. The fact that He spoke these words to His own people (not the lost) makes it crystal clear that the possibility exists that one once washed has the personal responsibility to “keep(eth) his garments.” And, the one who chooses not to will be found “naked” and shamed before the LORD – which simply means he is not covered by the blood of Christ. The Almighty set forth conditions which must be met in order for the individual to be saved and remain saved. Initial and ongoing faith (includes a contrite and penitent heart), willingness, and obedience are the conditions (Ps. 34:18; 51:17; Isa. 1:19-20; Jn. 1:12; 3:16; Rev. 2-3).
To the Corinthian Christians Paul wrote these telling words:
“And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.” 2 Corinthians 12:21
The opposite of “uncleanness” is cleanness. One who is cleansed is adorned with garments washed white in the precious blood of Jesus. Obviously there were those believers in this assembly who had repented of their “uncleanness” and sin – they were washed fresh and clean! Yet regrettably the Holy Spirit had revealed to the apostle that “many” in that church gathering at Corinth had not turned back to Christ (repented of sins) and still retained their sins and were under divine condemnation until they repented (see Romans 8:1 in the King James Version – this verse is astoundingly chopped in half in the new versions).
I don’t know about you, but this believer never ceases to be grateful for the fount of His precious blood in Heaven which is accessible to all of His people 24/7. I have worn a path to His holy throne of grace, crying out again and again and afresh for the cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ. He has blessed me to “obtain mercy and find grace to helping time of need” on innumerable occasions and for that I am eternally grateful! See Hebrews 4:14-16. Come boldly and rejoice!
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY.” Revelation 19:7
In case one is still not yet sure about whether man’s will is involved and remaining washed pure is essential, let’s look at two additional passages below. Friend, please read these words for all they are worth and in the knowledge that these are God’s words not mans:
“…we know that, when he shall appear (He’s coming soon), we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope (the return of Jesus) in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises (that God will punish all who are not separated in holiness unto Him), dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
“Willing and Obedient”
“IF ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 1:19-20
“If” here denotes choice. Each of us continues to choose to be either “willing
and obedient” or to “refuse and rebel.” I don’t know about you, but this believer is ultra glad for the lovingkindness of the LORD and how He is a “God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Ps. 86:15)
The Father in Heaven requires that men be willing participants in His Gospel program in order to receive the benefits of the salvation He freely provided through Christ’s blood (Deut. 30:18-20; Isa. 1:19-20; Jn. 3:16; Rev. 3:20; 19:7). All those who believe and remain in Him, will receive the fullness of His blessings and those who don’t place themselves under His judgment.
“I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” Deuteronomy 30:18-19
PRAYER: Holy Father, thank You for sending Your only begotten Son to die for my sins on the cross and for raising Him from the dead. Thank You for loving and finding and saving me, an otherwise helpless and lost soul. Please help me to understand Your plan and submit humbly to You whether my heart understands or not. I trust You Jesus and ask You this moment to infuse my heart with Your holy fear and bless me to love and trust You fully as I seek Your face this hour. Amen.
LET’S LEARN GOD’S WORD TOGETHER - ONE TRUTH AT A TIME:This message was sent out to each person who is on our Moments For My Master email devotional list. We would love to add you and have the privilege of nourishing your heart with God's Word (1 Tim. 4:6). Sign up here.