The Exceeding Riches of His Grace: Selection and Adoption
I will read again the passages which are basic to our present meditation. In the eleventh chapter of the Letter to the Romans, at verse 33,
"Oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God, how unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out."
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, at verse eight,
"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints was this grace given to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ."
Now seeing that we have not yet said all that we have to say for this present time about the first context of riches, that is, "The riches of His grace," we will just look at one or two other passages in that connection. In the Ephesian letter, chapter one, and verse seventeen: "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him." That scripture comes after what we have in verse seven of that same chapter: "In Whom we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace." Then at the end of chapter three, we have the apostle's prayer for a spirit of wisdom and revelation, a prayer which has to do with the apprehension of the riches of His grace, found in verses fourteen through twenty-one:
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in live, may be able to comprehend (or apprehend) with all saints what is the breath, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now unto Him That is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we as or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages world without end. Amen"
Now let us come back to chapter two, and verse seven,
"That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" - the exceeding riches of His Grace."
We have already considered some of the things related to this grace, the things which are the riches thereof. We have seen the nature of grace. We have seen God's work of grace, and we have set grace over against our own works for merit. And we have seen that the great initiative of Divine Grace is, in the free action of the Holy Spirit, to bring us into that grace.
Before we go on to look still more deeply into this fathomless, unsearchable ocean of Divine Grace, let us remind ourselves that just as Grace is the beginning of everything for us, and with us, so Grace is the continual basis of everything to the end. You see, what is true at the beginning, is true throughout the whole life of the child of God. This sounds like a contradiction, yet it is not, to say that the Law of Grace governs the whole life of the people of God. What Grace begins, Grace carries on, and Grace crowns. We will never be off the basis of Grace. And we shall discover, as we go on increasingly, how we are bound to Grace for everything that comes to us from God. Grace for everything that we know of God, and Grace for everything that we can be or can do; it will always be by Grace, and nothing else. We will never move from that place of Grace, and from that ground of Grace, on to any other. That sounds very simple, but this is something which confronts us every day of our lives, and all the way along, we shall be compelled by the Holy Spirit to recognize this, and to accept it, and to take this position: 'Now this is all a matter of the Grace of God, or we will never get by this, we will never get any further than this, but only by His Grace.'
So, we are steadily moving, but we are really moving in a very practical way, toward that passage which we have just read: "That in the ages to come, He might shew the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness toward us." Oh, how wonderful is this: that in the ages to come, the riches of His Grace will be exceeding and displayed in us!
Well, I think we are beginning to realize that this is a fact. I think more and more we are becoming aware that it has got to be more grace, and still more grace. And if we have any difficulty about that, let us put this climactic statement over the whole life in the ages to come: "To shew the exceeding riches of His grace toward us." Now you cannot get to that point where it is so great, so complete and perfect, so full and final, you just cannot leap there in one day or in one experience. No, the whole of the life of the people of God is a pilgrimage of grace.
(continued with # 18 - (A Pilgrimage of Grace)