Cascading Grace

“Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by His blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of His grace. This superabundant grace is already powerfully working in us, releasing all forms of wisdom and practical understanding.”
‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:7-8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Here is another spiritual blessing – the treasures of redemption. But let’s unpick these two verses because they in themselves contain a treasure of Spirit-inspired truth. First of all we are “joined to Christ”. Paul takes this as read because Jesus is family. He’s our older brother. So we are related and joined to Him through our adoption into God’s family. Redemption happened through the sacrificial death of Jesus at Calvary – He shed His blood so that we could, and would, be forgiven for all our sins. As these verses say, they have been cancelled. For ever. And this reality opens a door exposing an eternity full of treasures that we can now access. Without redemption for sin, a lost eternity would hold no treasures. Just an empty God-less place full of torment and regret. But we have access to the treasures through God’s grace. But what are these treasures? We know that being in God’s presence is in there; wonderful and amazing in its own right. There are other gems such as righteousness, purity, no more sickness, no more death – the list is endless and we are unable to fully appreciate, by a long way, the extent of God’s riches, made available to us through His grace. 

But in this life, as we tramp along life’s highways and byways, we can dip into God’s gracious treasure trove, accessing all the resources we need. We find that there are truly “cascading riches of His grace” flowing over us in times of need. Think of the times when we need nuggets of perseverance, patience, love, peace – all available to us just by lifting the lid on His treasure chest and seeking out just what is needed for our souls. All there through His grace. Day by day. Hour by hour. Wisdom is in there too. Lots of it. And as the verses say, it is working within us – most of the time we don’t even know that it is there. The use of the word “practical” is significant. Our God is a practical God, helping and resourcing us in practical ways. By His grace we march on, God-drumbeats powering our steps. 

The “treasures of redemption” are not just there, though, for us to look for and find. We are not in a life, searching for some Holy Grail, jumping through hoops or undertaking some difficult mission to find these treasures. Note that they are given to us. They are right here now. The treasure chest is before us. The key is in our hands. There is nothing to stop us accessing its contents. God’s amazing grace, His super abundant grace, empowers us. Whatever our state is in life, good or bad. Easy or difficult. Sick or healthy. We are breathtakingly blessed by the riches of His grace, cascading over us. Forever. 

Adoption

“God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son.
‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The previous verse in Ephesians 1 burst into our consciousness with the thought that we have been chosen by God, not on a whim, but before God even created the heavens and the earth. This theme develops in our verses today. Not only did God choose us an eternity ago, but He has placed us in a special family. His own family. And Jesus is our elder brother. He did it through Jesus’ death at Calvary, the place where Jesus took on our sins and gave us instead His cloak of righteousness, enabling us to not only be able to stand before God in a sinless form, but to be adopted into His family.

My sister was adopted. I know other people too who were adopted. People who came from a family where parents were unable to look after their children and instead allowed them to be chosen by new parents, with the will and means to look after them. Most adoptions work well, devoted new parents pouring in all the resources required, but others perhaps haven’t been ideal. Thankfully, in God’s family, there are no failed adoptions. Every child of God is assured an equal place in His family, and the certainty of a lifelong relationship with a gracious and loving Parent. A relationship that extends beyond the grave. As a Parent, God gets great pleasure from His adopted family. And there is no limit to the size of His family either. His heart of love is infinitely able to embrace all who respond to His call.

So with Paul, another adopted brother in God’s family, we praise God for His “glorious grace”, grace that sees beyond the imperfect sinful beings that we are, and instead beckons us through the door of adoption into His presence. What an amazing “spiritual blessing”. What an amazing Father God!

He Chose Me

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.”
Ephesians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

There is much depth in these verses. Right at the start of this Epistle, Paul sets the scene. And his focus is on our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He starts by offering his praises to Father God for Jesus. After all, if it wasn’t for his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road, Paul wouldn’t have found himself in a zone of blessings. A zone so real to him that he wrote about yearning to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23), a yearning underpinned by his understanding and knowledge of “every spiritual blessing in Christ”.

But what are these “spiritual blessings”? Several are listed in this chapter in Ephesians. Some we won’t fully inherit until we are in God’s presence. Some blessings we can start to experience in our lives right now. One thing for sure is that a blessing in Christ is infinitely, and eternally, better than any earthly blessing. But one spiritual blessing I would like to focus on today is that God, through Christ, chose us. He chose you and He chose me. And amazingly He chose me before He even created the world. He could look down from eternity at my life on this earth and through His love and grace, He chose me. Of course that is not to say He didn’t choose other people. We know from that famous verse, John 3:16, that He loves everyone in the world, regardless of when they lived, past, present or future. But that doesn’t dilute the fact that He loves me in a personal way. He whispered my name as He was putting together the plans for creating Planet Earth. 

But the spiritual blessing doesn’t just end there. He chose me to be “holy and blameless in His sight”. It is at the realisation of what this means, that the enormity of this spiritual blessing really hits home. How can God not only choose me, but then establish me through Christ as being “holy and blameless”? Really? After all my sins committed in this life? After all the times I have rejected Him? But that is what this verse says. Paul didn’t just write some nice words, nice ideas based on his feelings. No, this was a faith-filled statement written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This was God saying how it really is through Paul’s pen.

But there’s a catch. I can’t just read these verses and then move on, unchanged, regardless. I have to respond to God calling my name. His whispering of my name hangs there in eternity, waiting for me to respond. And He’s waiting for you as well. We have to respond to His invitation, saying “Yes” to Him, accepting Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Confessing and repenting of our sins. Aligning our lives to become worthy of His choice. But that personal gentle whisper won’t be there for ever. When we cross the Great Divide, the whisper will stop. Opportunity gone. God’s choice rejected. Many go to a lost eternity because they have rejected His calling.

Truly, we can do nothing else other than what the Apostle Paul did. With him, we bask in the awesome realisation that God chose us. What else can we do but utter our praises to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And we won’t stop. Ever.