“God’s Rich Grace” (Series: From the Mountain Peak)
Scripture: Ephesians 1:7-8
Christianity is distinct from other religions in that grace is the central operating principle. Whereas the message of other religions is that we relate and reach God by our works, Christianity says that God comes to us extending his grace. This grace not only saves believers but also sustains believers. In Ephesians 1:7-8 we learn that God is both rich in grace and generous with grace to all who go to him.
In Jesus we receive redemption and forgiveness. Although these points are related they refer to different things. Redemption in the Bible means releasing a person from captivity or paying a ransom to set somebody free from slavery. God redeemed humanity from slavery to sin by the ransom price of Christ’s blood. But this was a costly sacrifice. What did God gain by sacrificing Jesus for us? He gained us but is that worth giving us his one and only Son? God in his love declared that it was. God did this not because of something desirable in us but because of the gracious desire in his heart.
But we most realize that God did not redeem us as innocent, righteous saints but as guilty, unrighteous sinners. We were law-breakers and transgressors and so after redeeming us, God forgave us. This makes it clear that God intended to redeem those who did not deserve it. Paul makes sure we do not lose sight of our gracious Redeemer when he describes our gracious redemption. God redeems and forgives “according to the riches of his grace” which is very different than saying God redeems and forgiveness “out of the riches of his grace.” The sacrifice of his Son was in proportion to his rich grace because of the infinite worth and value of Jesus. The riches of God’s grace is matched then by his generosity when he lavished his grace upon us. This Greek word translates to “abundantly gave us” or “gave us more than we needed.” It becomes very clear that the God of the gospel is rich in grace and generous with grace to all who go to him.
If all of this is true, there are at least three gospel realities we must live in. First, if God is rich in grace, we can take our biggest failures and darkest secrets to him because he won’t runaway. Second, if God is generous with grace, we should regularly ask to receive what he loves to give because he won’t withhold anything from us. And third, if God is rich in and generous with grace to us, then we can show grace to those we may consider undeserving.
Suggested Group Discussion Questions
- God reveals himself as gracious over and over again in the Bible. Anybody who has read it will know this much. How well do you think Christians in general and you in particular highlight and display this truth? If somebody looked closely at your lifestyle, would they be able to conclude that the God you believe and obey is primarily a gracious God?
- Can you think of specific things Christians do that blur the message of grace and things Christians do that promote this message of grace? Or how have you personally seen it blurred or promoted? Share examples.
- Pick one of the three exhortations and give an example of what it would look like to truly live in this gospel reality. What will your life look like if you actually live out this truth?
- Doxology: Express how this sermon helps you understand, appreciate and worship Jesus more. In what ways has the gospel become more alive to you having read this passage and heard this sermon?
- Response: Formulate a one sentence prayer that’s informed by the passage and the sermon. This prayer should articulate what you desire to walk away and how you want God to apply it in your life. Have a few people share what they came up with.