Is grace something that we have to earn or is it truly a free gift? In Ephesians we learn that we are redeemed and forgiven according to the riches of God’s grace, but how rich is God’s grace? Sort of rich? Pretty rich? What’s the limit of God’s grace? Does it run out?
Is it enough to forgive you for ninety-two years of sinning, but at ninety-three God says, “Enough is enough! You used up my grace. I have no more grace, no more patience?” Also, is that grace for everyone, and if not who is it for?
Let’s read Ephesians 1:7-8 and see if it gives us any insight into those questions:
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
IN HIM we have “redemption…and forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace, which he lavished upon us…to unite all things in him.” (When you have the ability to lavish something on someone—or many someones, there must a be a lot of it—especially if there’s enough to unite ALL things in Him.)
Forgiveness depends on HIS grace— not your choice or your repentance, sorrow or remorse. (So it appears it can’t be bought. It truly is a free gift)
And who and what is that grace for? “to unite ALL things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
In Greek, “all” means “all.” There are some words that are very hard to translate out of Greek, words that get translated as “eternal” or “ever” or “age” or “hell” or “judgment” or “condemnation.” But “all” is a very simple concept. All is all.
So God’s grace is rich enough for choosing, redeeming, forgiving and unifying all things in Him—“things in heaven and things on earth.”
If God unites all things in Christ, it sure sounds like all is forgiven in Christ. And this was—and is the plan for the fullness of time, from the foundation of the cosmos.
Space and time (chronological time) are created realities. So, if you were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the cosmos (as Ephesians 1:4 states), before the Big Bang, that means God chose to forgive you in Christ at least 14 billion years ago (as we measure time). He chose to forgive you 14 billion years before you chose to sin. And He hasn’t forgiven some of your sin; He has forgiven all of it. It was all nailed to the cross in Christ Jesus, and that was the decision, the plan, from before the foundation of the world.
So it’s not like you could commit some sin tomorrow that would call off the deal. It’s not like you could commit some sin and God Almighty would say, “Oh my goodness, I didn’t see that one coming. I forgot that one! I’m going to have to start over. I hope Jesus will die for that one too.”
It’s not like He’s disappointed. We are the ones that get disappointed, who have false expectations. But God expects far more failure from me than I expect from myself. God is not disillusioned with me because He never had any illusions about me
He doesn’t say, “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe Adam and Eve ate from the tree!”
“I can’t believe Israel nailed the Messiah to that tree!”
“I can’t believe (insert your name) sinned! Never in a thousand years would I have imagined he’d/she’d do that! I’m so disappointed.”
No. From the foundation of the world, He chose to forgive my sin, all my sin, all your sin, and it’s not just in Ephesians. See for yourself:
- Colossians 1:20 – “Through Christ, God reconciles all things to Himself, making peace by the blood of His cross.”
- Colossians 2:13 – “God made us alive together with Christ, having forgiven us all our trespasses.”
- Isaiah 53:6 – “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
- John 1:29 – “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
- 1 John 2:2 – “He is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours only, but the sins of the whole world.”
- The Revelation even refers to Jesus as “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Now that’s some pretty rich grace!
So, I want you to think of the worst sin you can remember committing, the sin you’re most terrified you’ll commit, or the sin you keep committing and just can’t seem to stop committing.
Now, please hear this: Jesus took the bread, and He broke it saying, “This is my Body given to you. Take and eat.” And He took the cup saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins.”
You cannot purchase grace. You are saved BY grace through faith, and even that faith is grace. It’s God’s good will born into the womb of your bad will. It’s Jesus born in your manger and rising in your tomb. It’s His blood in your body. Saint Paul wrote, “It’s no longer I who live but Christ in me.” And that happens at the communion table and it happens at the tree—the cross.
So accept His gift of grace, lavishly given to you, and believe the Gospel!
Maybe this troubles some of you. You’re worried that if we tell people that they’re forgiven much (and they believe us), they will feel free to sin, to “will what God does not will.” You’re worried that forgiven much, we’ll all sin much.
In Luke 7 Jesus reveals that the one forgiven much loves much. . .
God is love, and He wills that we would love much.
This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen, Peter Hiett’s assistant. This is primarily a compilation of excerpts from the sermon entitled “Forgiven Even Before You Had A Chance to Sin” from our series in Ephesians. This devotional might have raised questions about free will, faith, how God reconciles us and the entire world to Himself, and maybe more. You can dig deeper into these things by exploring our Ephesians sermon series here:http://www.thesanctuarydenver.org/sermons/page/5/… or go read, watch or listen to the sermon here: Forgiven Even Before You Had A Chance to Sin