God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
About a decade ago, I had the priviledge of being present while a preacher named Dr. Paul Tassell delivered a sermon on GRACE. He skillfully made an acrostic from the word. (Oh, how I love acrostics.) I don’t remember everything about the sermon, for it was a long time ago, but acrostics have a way of sticking in my mind and I thought it might be appropriate to bring it up on the new blog with the word in its title.
We are talking about our creator, our heavenly father. All things are under his sovereign hand. Nothing happens that is outside the scope of His perfect plan. He holds it all together and is the ruler of all. He “is a righteous judge …” (Psalm 7:11) Yet, He says Himself, “I am merciful …” (Jeremiah 3:11) This is God; He is the "be-all" and "end-all" of the entire universe! That’s who we’re talking about.
I was thinking about the next part yesterday and talking to my husband, John about it. What are God’s riches? We pondered this question together. This subject is so broad it could fill volumes, and it has! I will just offer a couple of snippets, glimpses of God’s riches:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ … " (Eph 1:3)
“… the riches of His goodness and forbearance …” (Rom 2:4)
“… the riches of … Christ in you, the hope of glory ..." (Col 1:27)
“… justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus …” (Rom 3:24)
“ … the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:39)
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phl 4:19)
“… Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption …” (1Cor 1:30)
“He has made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus …” (Eph 2:6)
“… abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness …” (Rom 5:17)
" ... given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature ..." (2 Pet 1:4)
The most awesome “riches” is having the privilege of knowing Him. We have access into His very presence. But wait! There’s more … We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. What does this mean? I have lately been contemplating the fact that we are “… partakers of the Divine Nature.” (2 Pet 1:4) It just doesn’t get any better than that!
A C E
At Christ’s Expense
Just thinking about who Christ is will bring you to your knees. He is very God, yet very man. His presence in Judea brought the fullness of the Godhead, bodily. He was sinless perfection. Forget the DaVinci code. This man was and is one-of-a-kind. He had no wicked desire, no jealousy, no flaw ... quite different from you and me, but one of us nontheless. How awesome. He was not just a partaker of the divine nature; he was the genuine article, through and through. This is the aspect of Grace that is so very humbling, when we grasp what God has done through His incarnate Self, Jesus Christ:
“God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh …” (Romans 8:3)
“ … Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (1 John 3:16)
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)
Grace is God bestowing his riches on us. He freely gives us all that goodness, justification, redemption, justification, love, wisdom, sanctification, knowledge of Him etc... So much is given to those who are in Christ Jesus. Most awesomely, we become a new creation that has the very nature of God within us. What did we do to deserve this? What work? We did nothing. Christ has done it all; He has purchased this for us.
We receive God's riches at Christ's expense. He paid the cost so that we could have these riches. Salvation is all of God in Christ! It is a gift; therefore, it is not of works. There is no work that can merit the righteousness of God. What could a person possibly do that could make them deserve to be a partaker of the Divine nature? This would almost be a funny question if it wasn't for the tragedy that so many people want to earn their way into Christ, into God's favor. There is nothing that we have to offer God in exchange for His perfection. By GRACE (God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense), He has lavished us with righteousness and eternal life. If we are born-again by GRACE through faith in Christ, we will never suffer the death and punishment that we actually do deserve. (Now there is something we have earned).
Throw it all away, whoever you are who is clinging to some righteousness of your own, and look to Him alone for salvation! You are not fit to enter His presence, no matter how many good works you do. (I don't really believe in lady preachers...) The only condition for eternal life is the righteousness that is gained through faith, apart from works, which no one can earn. It is the gift of God. There is no boasting, because you can do no work to deserve this gift that you receive. Most people don’t like the idea of something that they can’t boast about, even if it's just boasting to themselves. We need to pat ourselves on the back, just a little. We think it is ludicrous that righteousness could be received without some kind of work or effort on our part. Most people would be ashamed to admit that they were utterly helpless. But ... we who are believers (and I would imagine that most reading here are) are UNASHAMED, because the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, of which nothing else is! Praise Him! We have received GRACE: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
(Would this fall under the category of Dispensationalism, Free-Grace Theolgy or "Old School Non-Calvinism"? (I love that phrase!) You decide.)