Maybe it’s just me, but most often don’t we tend to take credit for what we know? After all it’s our intelligence that makes sense of stuff, right? Our cognitive abilities that allow us to process data and come up with information. Isn’t it? Or is it?
Maybe it’s grace. Wonderful grace. Marvelous grace. Glorious grace. Super-abounding, abundant, lavished upon us grace.
Here’s what I’m chewing on this morning:
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, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ . . .
(Ephesians 1:7-9 ESV)
I’ve written of it before, reading these opening verses of Ephesians is like drinking from a fire hose. How could it be anything less when you’re trying to take in what it means to be blessed “with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3)?
But what strikes me this morning is the link between grace and wisdom and insight.
It’s “according to the riches” of God’s grace that we have redemption through the blood of Christ. Grace manifest in a King who came not to be served but to serve a rebellious kingdom even “giving His life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). Grace displayed by a Good Shepherd who would lay down His life for His sheep (Jn. 10:11). Grace conveyed through God’s own Son, “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, upholding the universe by the word of His power,” yet making purification for our sin by, Himself, bearing the wrath our sin deserved (Heb. 1:3).
But what good is grace manifested if it’s not recognized? What good is grace displayed if eyes are blind? What good is grace conveyed if heads and hearts are too thick and too hard to receive it? What good is it if no one is capable of picking up what’s being laid down?
And the thought that’s overwhelming me this morning is that, at least in part, the way God lavishes His grace upon us is by giving us the wisdom and insight to recognize His abundant grace.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
(Ephesians 2:8b ESV)
I would never have come up with the ability to articulate the problem of sin if God hadn’t made it known. Never in my wildest dreams come up with a solution of a holy and righteous God dealing with that problem in the giving of Himself. Never imagined that the God of creation would go to such lengths because of His desire to be in fellowship with His creation. Never have conceived that, beyond being redeemed, He also has purposed to bless me with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.
Who would have thought of such things? Not this guy.
And yet, I fear sometimes that this wisdom has become familiar, old-hat wisdom. That somehow, we fall into believing that this insight was something we were bright enough to grasp on our own and thus becomes a potential source of spiritual pride.
Instead, I’m reminded this morning that what I know, I know only by the determined counsel of God. That what I understand, I understand solely through the spiritual dynamic of illumination by the Spirit of God who patiently leads me into truth. That what I affirm, I affirm not because I figured it out, but because He has lavished the riches of His grace upon me with all wisdom and understanding.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them,
they are more than the sand. (Psalm 139:17-18a ESV)
Grace through wisdom and insight.
By the grace of God. For the glory of God.