“Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;”
As I’ve meditated on this verse, I’ve realized it’s both simple and profound in its meaning. The which here is referring to a wonderful little word with great meaning in the previous verse. Let’s put the verse in its context.
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;” (Ephesians 1:7-8)
Here’s why it’s simple. It is a reality that God, in all His vast wisdom and deep understanding, has given us His grace in abundance. It’s a fact. It’s something that can’t be undone. It’s as real as the air we breathe. And it’s a reality that you and I are invited to enter into at all times.
But that is also a profound truth. In fact, if you begin to really think about it, it will blow your mind. Let’s go ahead and do that.
Grace: what is it? In the Greek it’s the word charis, which has several meanings. The one we hear about all the time is “good-will, lovingkindness, favor”. But there is also a phrase in the explanation of the word that takes the meaning a little further: “the Divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.”
Grace is not just a gift given to us for us to do with as we please; it’s something God does in us that changes us. It’s not something God merely hands over to us for our keeping out of kindness; it’s a tool in His hand that He uses in us to move us and cause us to be what He calls us to be.
One of the ways I like to think of grace is the movement of God in our lives –Him acting in us because He is loving and has good-will toward us. Since grace is a tool that God uses or an action that He does, then He Himself must be there to do it, which means our life as a Christian is impossible unless He is working it in us…. Are you starting to see it?
Here are some examples:
1. Grace for salvation
Ephesians 2:8 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves;” thus salvation is something God did in us. He didn´t put some grace out there for you to take, but He did more than that. He worked in your life to draw you to Himself and then gave you the means by which to be saved- Jesus Christ Himself.
2. Grace for our walk
“As you therefore have received Christ, so walk in Him,” (Colossians 2:6). Once again since God’s grace (i.e. His movement and influence) in your life is what saved you, it is also what empowers you to walk. Do not think it is some thing in you empowering you to walk. No, it’s the Spirit of God in you working a work of grace to empower you to walk.
3. Grace in weakness
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’…” (2 Cor. 12:9) We ask God for grace and strength when we feel weak, but what we need to understand is that for Him to give us strength, He must be our strength. The very fact that Jesus called it “MY grace” and “MY strength” says it isn’t something He gives to us to use, but rather something He does in us by being there and being allowed to work.
4. Grace to free us from sin
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace.” (Romans 6: 14) Here it says that we are under the Divine influence (grace), not under the law, therefore sin doesn’t have dominion over us. It’s not a gift of God’s favor or good-will that frees us from sin, it’s God Himself who frees us. Since grace is not just something we get to use as we wish, but rather the influence of God on our lives, it is our job to stay under that influence so that the wonderful reality of freedom from sin can be fully lived out.
There are so many more examples of what God, through His grace or Divine influence in our lives, can do, so I challenge you to go look up the word grace and find out other treasures like the ones here. Meanwhile, I have a question.
What is the key that unlocks grace in our lives?
The verse we are meditating on today is true. God really has given us grace in His wisdom and prudence in abundance, meaning what we think we need, He has WAY more He wants to do in us, WAY more power to flow through us, WAY more of Himself He wants to give than we could ever ask for. So WHY don’t we experience this grace the way He says He gives it?
One verse makes it crystal clear.
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” James 4:6
It’s the truly humble who receive grace. It’s the one who sees God and sees himself in light of God who truly begins to understand he needs God. The reality is, “of His fullness we have all received and grace for grace” (John 1:16), but somehow that grace isn’t being allowed to work in us. Yes, He really has made His grace “…to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence” yet because of something as simple as pride –a self-centered approach to Christianity, an attitude that thinks “I” can do it or be it- keeps us from experiencing His grace.
So “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)
A practical way to humble yourself is outlined in Hebrews 4:16: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” It says come. Come with the humility of a beggar who is undeserving. Come with the boldness of a beggar who knows the throne of grace is reserved for the undeserving. Come and obtain mercy for your pride. Come and find grace for every need.
God’s grace is plentiful and abundant toward us because He in all His wisdom and understanding knew we would need it. He has an immeasurable supply of His power and influence for our lives that He can and will use to give us life and radically free us from sin if we will just humble ourselves and let Him do it.