God Is Rich in Grace
"That in the ages to come he [God] might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:7)
Not very long ago, a six-year-old boy named Andrew was saving money for a trip to Mexico with his family. His grandmother paid him a few dollars for doing some chores for her, and then right before he left on the trip, she decided to give him some extra spending money. When he saw how much it was, he couldn't believe it. "Wow, twenty dollars!" he hollered, dancing around in a circle. He ran home to show his mom the $20 bill. "Look, Mom! Now I know what it feels like to be rich!"
Maybe getting a crisp $20 bill when it was not even your birthday would make you feel rich, too. Or maybe it would take a $100 bill. Maybe it might take a million before you would feel "rich." No matter how much money you got, though, your riches could never compare to God's. Not only does God own everything in the world, He has another kind of riches: riches of grace.
Grace is giving something good to someone who does not deserve it. Every person who is now saved once lived in total disobedience to God. Their lives were all about pleasing themselves and ignoring God. It does not seem fair that those people would get any special attention from Him, much less the chance to be in heaven with Him.
If God were fair, He would not give those people anything good. They do not deserve anything except to be punished! But God is not fair; He does not give people what they deserve. Instead, He is gracious. He does not give up on people who couldn't care less about Him. Because He loves them even though they are "dead in sins" He gives them life.
Because God has exceeding riches of grace, He doesn't have to be stingy with it. He doesn't have to save up His grace to spend only on people who are trying hard to be good. Instead, since He has plenty of grace to spare, He pours it out on people who don't deserve it.
The main reason Andrew's grandmother gave him $20 was that she loved him. In Ephesians 2:4, Paul says that God's reason for giving is the same: He gives His children salvation because of "the great love wherewith he loved us." Just as Andrew did not do anything to earn his $20, God's children cannot do anything to earn God's gifts, either. God gives good gifts just because He loves His children.
Andrew's grandmother is not rich enough to walk around town giving $20 bills to every little boy she sees. She decided to give one to Andrew, though, because she already had a special relationship with him. But for God to have exceeding riches of grace means that He can give grace even to people who are dead-set against Him.
God pours out the exceeding riches of His grace on people who do not deserve them.
» Have I thanked God for spending some of His riches of grace on me even though I didn't deserve them? Or have I thought that I earned them by something good that I did? (Read Ephesians 2:8-10 if you want to learn more about this.)
Truth In Real Life
Robert Murray M'Cheyne
“I am deeply persuaded that there will be no full, soul-filling, heart-ravishing, heart-satisfying outpouring of the Spirit of God till there be more praise and thanking the Lord.”
Robert Murray M’Cheyne – one of Scotland’s greatest preachers – lived a very short life. His influence, however, would live on for years to come.
By age four, Robert Murray M’Cheyne knew the Greek alphabet. At age eight, he entered high school. At age 14, he entered the University of Edinburgh, where his good grades earned him many awards. One day, he gave his life to Christ, and eventually he was ordained to preach.
While he was growing up, Robert Murray M’Cheyne had been a “good boy,” but he did not truly know Jesus Christ. Instead of a relationship with God, Robert relied on how smart he was and how hard he worked. But when his brother died suddenly, eighteen-year-old Robert Murray M’Cheyne realized the shortness of life, and he put all his trust in Christ alone for salvation. His brother’s death had a profound effect on the rest of Robert’s choices and he began using his intelligence to learn long sections of Scripture.
As a preacher, his fame spread quickly through his homeland of Scotland, and his church grew to over 1,100 people. He took a special interest in helping the Jews and did everything possible to win Jewish souls to Christ.
Mr. M’Cheyne was only thirty years old when he died on March 25, 1843, of the typhoid fever. Though he was actually in ministry for only seven years, he left an impact on Scotland for the rest of eternity. He often said, “Live so as to be missed!” And so he did.
Are you using the gifts God gave you (your intellect, your physical energy, etc.) to glorify Him? Are you a thankful, praising person? Are you living for Christ now, or are you waiting to grow up? Are you living so as to be missed?
1 Timothy 4:12 – Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.