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Amazing Grace


And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, 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, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

—Ephesians 2:1–10


Those who struggle with the doctrine of election and the principle of divine sovereignty have not thought deeply enough about the horror of human depravity and what it means to be dead in trespasses and sins.” No one but God could ever rescue a sinner from that condition and then elevate that person to a place of privilege in heavenly places. Who else could ever accomplish that? . . .

Don’t lose track of the reality that if we received what we deserved we’d be damned for all eternity. Yet God does not merely grant believers a reprieve from the judgment we deserve; He exalts us to an unfathomably high position in Christ. This is no temporary benefit, but an eternal blessing, done so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). God certainly “is rich in mercy” toward sinners (v. 4).

Think of that when you hear the hymn “Amazing Grace.” God’s grace is vastly more amazing than you could ever imagine with a finite mind. The English word rich in Ephesians 2:4 only hints at the sense of the original. The word actually suggests spectacular, overabundant wealth. (The noun form of that same word is used in verse 7 with a superlative modifier that accents the lavish grandeur—“exceeding riches”—of divine grace.) The truth is, no human language could adequately convey the concept. Grace is amazing indeed. God saves unworthy sinners in order to honor them forever “in Christ Jesus.”

—John MacArthur, The Gospel according to Paul (Thomas Nelson, 2017), 105–106.

Posted 2018·07·16 by David Kjos
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