And you were dead in the trespasses and sins, in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
I think we would all say one of the most important words in the Bible is the word, “grace.” It’s true, even if we wouldn’t say it. You could liken it to an ocean in terms of its depth and its width. I don’t think we’ll ever, this side of glory, fully understand the grace concept. But that word “grace” defines God: all three persons of the Trinity are described by the word “grace.” In I Peter 5:10, God is a “God of grace.” The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Grace (Hebrews 10:29). Acts 15:11 says we have been saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. So when you hear that word “grace,” think of God first and foremost. Someone has said, “Grace has a face.” It’s the face of the living, triune God.
That word “grace” not only defines God, but also shapes our salvation from beginning to end. It’s a “salvation by grace.” We find this not only in Ephesians 2, but we can go back to the first chapter of Ephesians. Paul, when he begins to enumerate all the wonderful blessings we have in Jesus Christ, doesn’t want us to forget grace.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us,” he says, “….with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” He takes us all the way back to before the foundation of the world. He chose us. He predestined us. He did these things “to the praise of his glorious grace.” (Ephesians 1:3-6) Then verse 7 of that first chapter says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…” (Ephesians 1:7,8). As Christians we really should be constantly, regularly celebrating His grace.
Dr. Paul Tripp says, “It should be the thing that greets your mind and fills your heart as you wake every morning. It should be your final thought as you settle in for sleep. It should define how you face your day. It should shape your self reflection.” That’s interesting. Doesn’t the Apostle Paul say, “I am what I am, by the grace of God”? (I Corinthians 15:10) Paul Tripp goes on to say, “It should be the thing that directs how you respond to others. Forgiving grace. Loving grace. It should be at the forefront of your thoughts in times of trouble or disappointment. It should alter how you think about the future, how you think about finances, possessions, decisions, relationships, and everything else. It should be of central importance, and a central theme of your existence. It is so huge,” he says, “so gorgeous and so glorious, that once it gets a hold of you, you will never be the same again.”
We are children of grace. You would never have repented of your sins apart from grace. You would never have believed on Jesus apart from grace. You would never have been adopted into the family of God apart from His grace. We would never have been justified without grace. We would never have been sanctified apart from His grace. And we would never be glorified on that final day without grace.
So here is the question: are you celebrating His grace? When is the last time you thanked God for His grace? Remember what Newton said, “Amazing grace, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost…but now I see.” We couldn’t even pray, could we, without grace? It’s called a “throne of grace” Hebrews 4:16). We need daily grace.