Best of Daily Reflections: Rich Grace, Richly Given
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
Several years ago, a couple with whom my wife, Linda, and I are friends invited us to join them for an educational conference in a resort town. They made it very clear that we were to be their guests. I expect they knew this sort of trip was far beyond our budget. At first, we felt awkward accepting their offer, even though I sensed the genuineness with which it had been extended. As Linda and I talked it through, it seemed that our friends really did want us to come along and we were excited to join them. So, we accepted their offer. They paid for our travel, lodging, conference fee, and all of our meals. Honestly, it felt odd receiving such generosity. I hadn't experienced anything like that before. Yet it also felt wonderful to be treated so well. We didn't deserve such treatment, but it was utterly delightful. It was also a demonstration of grace, lavish grace.
I remember this experience when I read Ephesians 1:7-8. There, Paul says that we have redemption and forgiveness through Christ's death, "in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us." We have already learned from this chapter of Ephesians that God's grace is glorious (1:6). Now we see that it is rich and abundant. It's not as if God has some little pile of grace that he doles out stingily. On the contrary, God's pile is huge, and he doesn't give it away in tiny portions. Rather, God "lavished" his grace on us. The Greek word translated here as "lavished" literally means "to cause to abound" or "to do something in great measure." Rich grace, richly given...that's what God has done through Christ.
Do you think of God's grace in this way? Do you think of God as a lavish giver? Perhaps you do, and that's wonderful. But many of us, including those of us who have been Christians for a long time, tend to minimize God's grace and to project on him a stinginess that reflects our own biases and not God's revelation in Christ and in Scripture. Thus, we live in fear that we will exhaust God's grace. And we are stingy in our gracious (or grace-less!) dealings with others.
Yet, the more we allow God's Word to shape our relationship with him, the more we reflect upon the wonder of the cross, the more we will grasp and experience the lavishness of grace. We'll live in the freedom that comes from receiving the riches of God's grace. And we'll delight in sharing that grace with others.
FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever experienced lavish grace in your life? When? How did it feel? In what ways have you experienced the lavishness of God's grace? Are there areas of your life where you need more grace?
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun. Amen.
"Amazing Grace" by John Newton, 1799. Last verse by an unknown author, 1829. Public domain.