Grace : A Study of God's Good Gifts
Grace is the word that describes God's blessing brought into our lives despite our unworthiness.
If we only got what we deserved, then we should be most desperate and poor. What would we get? If we truly understood ourselves, we would affirm the only thing God owes us is judgment. We are grateful, however, that God has held off our judgment, put it on Christ, so that He might bring all sorts of blessings into our lives. Let's take a look at some of these good gifts that come from His grace.
We need to realize that when God brought His grace into our lives, we were not brought into a low level of His goodness. Due to our weakness and corrupt nature, God could have easily given us some good things in His great pity. For example, this is like giving a dollar to a homeless person. He is better off but his situation is hardly alleviated. But we see the very opposite here. We see a outpouring of grace that goes up and up and ends in heaven for eternity.
Ephesians 2:1-3 speaks of our great undeserving state. Born sinners. Love for sin. Dead in our sins. This is the black backdrop for the brilliant display of God's grace, much like a set of fireworks uses the night to show off its sparkling brilliance.
From the lowest point possible, God lifted us upward three times.
He then moves on into our future for our human lives cannot fully embrace God's full blessings on earth.
Grace is interweaved in these first two chapters of Ephesians and used as a reminder so that we do not forget it was for God' glory and by His grace that we are saved. A common sin is to forget God's goodness is by grace and to think we deserve this goodness. This arrogance often brings God's people into a backslidden state of pure religiosity. God did not bring us into a low entry level of His grace but abundantly poured His grace out upon His people. He calls us His coheirs (Ephesians 1:11,14) and that we will rule (Revelation 1:6) and judge with Him (1 Cor 6:2-3). In this same treatment, we see Him distributing spiritual gifts to His people.
Recipients' Attitude of God's Grace (Ephesians 4:1-6)
The more Paul speaks of God's undeserved blessings, the more we see Him giving urgings and commands to remember God's grace (see 2:5). In Ephesians 4 we are told to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called. Indeed part of this is a holy calling, but I think we would miss out on his major focus if we did not think of it as a gracious calling. Starting in 4:2 the qualities that are mentioned all are an outworking of experiencing God's grace. The attributes of God's grace are often neglected among those who speak highly of God's gifts. Paul knows the opposite is needed.
God's grace demands that we are gracious. The grace of God is the source of each of these character qualities listed. Only after clearly doing this, does Paul go on and speak of a special aspect of this grace: His good gifts (1).
God's special grace (Ephesians 4:7-16)
"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift." (Ephesians 4:7). Spiritual gifts are also mentioned in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and 1 Peter 4.
The point of these gifts: functions and offices (2) is to build up the body of Christ so that the whole body of Christ might rightly function. We should conclude that any time grace is given and graciousness does not result, something is wrongly being used. Or we could say that anytime God's people are not being built up, His people are squandering His precious gifts. We have what is needed if we cooperate and work together. May God take our petty jealousies away and learn to depend on the gifts of others rather than promoting our own.
We can miss the most important meaning of what Christ has done here if we are not careful. The greatest gift is not the gifts themselves but that God had actually entrusted us with His special goodness to bless others. God did not want to keep the disposing of His goodness to Himself. God employed us in this act. We clearly see God's grace in action here. God might have had pity upon us, but He put us in such a place that we are to share the act of giving out grace. We are no longer beggars but sharing God's riches. Our Christian lives will radically change when we rightly view God's grace and actively engage in distributing His grace. Our prayers, preaching, teaching and evangelism will be dramatically changed.
The Godly Man: "Grace and Graciousness"
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