The Grace of God in the Economy of God – Week 1
The Tremendous Significance
of the Grace of God
as Revealed in the New Testament
Eph. 2:4-5, 8
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God;
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and reality came through Jesus Christ.
11 For the grace of God, bringing salvation to all men, has appeared,
12 Training us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in the present age,
5 Not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit,
6 Whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 In order that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Rom. 5:1-2, 5
1 Therefore having been justified out of faith, we have peace toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 Through whom also we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and boast because of the hope of the glory of God.
5 And hope does not put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
The word for at the beginning of Ephesians 2:8 gives the occasion for God to display His grace (v. 7). Because we have been saved by His grace, God may display it.
In Ephesians grace denotes God dispensed into us. Therefore, to be saved by grace means to be saved by having God dispensed into us. Most Christians regard grace as a thing, not as a person. To them, grace is merely a gift freely given to them. According to this concept of grace, we were sinners who did not deserve God’s salvation, but God saved us freely by giving us His unmerited favor. This, however, is a superficial understanding of what it means to be saved by grace.
John 1:17 says that grace came through Jesus Christ. This indicates that grace is somewhat like a person. Ephesians reveals that the saving grace is God Himself in Christ wrought into our being…To be saved by grace means to be saved by the dispensing of the Triune God into us. (Life-study of Ephesians, p. 183)
Many Christians consider salvation as merely being rescued from a pitiful situation. According to this understanding, to be saved by grace is to have the Savior, who is rich in mercy, reach down to us in our low estate and rescue us…[However], according to Ephesians, salvation is the transmission of the incarnated, crucified, resurrected, and ascended Christ into us. When this person comes into us as grace, we are saved. Once we receive such a divine transmission, we are made alive, raised up, and seated with Christ in the heavenlies. Therefore, in Ephesians grace is the saving person of Christ Himself…This is a deeper understanding of salvation by grace.
It was not a simple matter for God to be transmitted into us as grace. He had to be processed through incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. By being processed in this way, He is now able to transmit Himself into us. When the processed God is transmitted into us, He becomes the saving grace. This grace is not only the amazing grace; it is the abounding grace. Grace is the processed God transmitted into our being.
God processed and transmitted into our being is the saving grace and the abounding grace. We have been saved by the transmission of this processed God.
This grace has surpassing riches [Eph. 2:7]. It has many aspects, virtues, and attributes, such as life, light, and power. Apart from life, light, and power, God cannot save us. For example, how can you rescue a person who has fallen into a pit if you do not have the strength to lift him out? Furthermore, if you do not have love for him, you will not bother to save him. In order to save us, God needed love and wisdom. These are some of the surpassing riches of God’s saving grace. In His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus, God has saved us by His grace. In the ages to come—in the millennium and eternity future—God will display this grace publicly to the whole universe.
In verse 8 Paul says that by grace we have been saved through faith. Faith is the substantiating of invisible things. It is by faith that we substantiate all the things Christ has accomplished for us. Through such substantiating ability, we have been saved by grace. The free action of God’s grace saved us through our substantiating faith.
On the day we were saved, faith was imparted to us, and we believed. Others may ask how we can believe in Jesus Christ when we have never seen Him. Although we have not seen Him, we cannot help believing in Him. This faith is not of ourselves; it is part of the grace transmitted into us. (Life-study of Ephesians, pp. 183-185)
Further Reading: Life-study of Ephesians, msgs. 5, 21
Corporate Reading of “The Tree of Life” Chapter 10 – Sections: Christ As The Seed Of Life being The Seed Of The Kingdom; The Church, The Christian Living, And The Christian Ministry; The Kingdom
© Living Stream Ministry, 2021, used by permission