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 (KJV)
One of the most comforting things about God is the incalculably precious amount of attention and care that he gives to us. Here is just one example. His grace isn’t just given to us. It doesn’t just help us. It abounds toward us! (Eph. 1:8)
However, this does not give us license to entertain the incorrect notion that we are the center of the universe or that God is subservient to us. “God is for you,” is a popular phrase among some believers today. While this is true, God is not for us in a selfish way.
In fact, to truly understand that God is for you, you must first understand that you are for him. He is for us because he is God, and he is for us because we are for him – “all things were created by him, and for him.” (1 Cor. 6:19, Col. 1:16)“The program of Christianity is all about God and his glory. We’re saved to “the praise of the glory” of God’s grace.”
The phrase “God is for us” originates in Romans 8:31 where Paul states “If God be for us, who can be against us?” yet in its context God is for us because nothing can stop his purposes – God is for us because he is God, not because we are deserving of his actions toward us at all but because he saves to the uttermost those who come to him by Jesus. (Heb. 7:25) It is God who justifies. (Rom. 8:33)
Any preaching or “brand” of Christianity that teaches that its all about us, and that God exists to do things solely for us is false. Yes, God cares deeply for us, and he loves us profoundly. (Eph. 2:4) However, the program of Christianity is all about God and his glory. We’re saved to “the praise of the glory” of God’s grace. (Eph. 1:6)
Jesus made sure that we keep that proper perspective in place when he have gave us the example of the model prayer. In it he taught us to remember that the glory is all to God. (Matt. 6:13)“When we stand in the brightness of Jesus’s glory – believing that he is the center of everything – it shows us how unworthy we are, and inspires us to worship him and find ever greater joy in his love for us.”
When we realize and hold the truth close to our heart that God cares about us for his praise and glory – because he is God and we are not – it adds a dimension of awe and thankfulness to our view of God and a level of depth to our relationship with him that are far better and greater than a Christianity that is selfishly oriented.
Put another way, believing that things are all about us gives us a cheap view of grace, while knowing that things are all about God gives us a magnificent view of grace.
I like to think of it this way. When we stand in the brightness of Jesus’s glory – believing that he is the center of everything – it shows us how unworthy we are, and inspires us to worship him and find ever greater joy in his love for us. Remember, while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us. (Rom. 5:8) We are not worthy to receive anything, but God is worthy to receive glory, honor and power. (Matt. 8:8, Rev. 4:11)“Only those who admit their unworthiness come to God believing that he is who he says he is.”
Having this proper perspective gives a full and correct view of Paul’s “us” verses leading up to those above. These verses teach us that God blesses us with all spiritual blessings, chooses us, predestinates us and makes us accepted in the beloved. (Eph. 1:3-6) The point is that God does everything for us. All of God’s blessings point back to him. Its all about him.
Paul also explains that Jesus’s grace abounds toward us in all wisdom and prudence. (Eph. 1:8) This is referring to the riches of God’s grace mentioned in verse 7.
God doesn’t just bestow his grace on us. Rather, the word “abound” here can also be thought of as multiplied and abundant. God’s grace is multiplied to us abundantly, so much so that we have an excessive amount of it, more than enough, even more than we need. God gives us a full quantity of his grace. His grace is sufficient for us. (2 Cor. 12:9)
God gives us everything we need on day one of our Christian life. God’s grace is so rich that he lavishes it on us. He gives us so much grace it leads to overflowing. Not only that, but his grace abounds toward us. There is purpose in it, and its abounding toward us is enriched by Godly wisdom and intelligence. (Eph. 1:8)“Have you acknowledged and rested in the truth that you are for God?”
Everything God does he does because only he can. He is for us – he loves us, saves us, and restores us – because he is God and he is love. (1 Jn. 4:16)
We are unworthy. God is for us because he made us for him. His grace abounds toward us because he is God, and he loves us despite ourselves. Only those who admit their unworthiness come to God believing that he is who he says he is. (Jn. 14:6, Heb. 11:6)
Have you taken a high view of God? Have you acknowledged and rested in the truth that you are for God?
Soli Deo gloria
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Pilgrim Fathers op een bijeenkomst in Noord-Amerika, 21 januari 1621, The Pilgrim Fathers (title on object) by August Allebé, after Johann Georg Schwartze, 1857-1878. The Rijksmuseum. RP-P-1905-2755.