We have been given a lot of “grace” from God, but I think there are three gifts of grace (gifts) that can be broadly divided. Grace is the love of God that is bestowed upon those who do not deserve blessings.
3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. (Ephesians 3:1-13)
The first grace is salvation.
There was a man named John Newton (1725-1807) in England in the 18th century. He was involved in the black slave trade and was the kind of person who treated black people badly. However, a turning point came in his life.
The ship he was on was caught in a storm, and the ship was damaged, and sea water rushed in through the damaged hull, and finally it was in danger of capsizing. Even his life was in danger, and for the first time in his life he prayed earnestly to God. The situation was desperate for a long time, but his prayers were answered, the strong winds abated, and the flooding subsided. Saved from the danger of sinking. With a guilty conscience, he withdraws from the black slave trade. And he became a pastor to serve the God who delivered him.
John Newton was moved and grateful for the amazing grace that God had done in his life, and sang “Amazing Grace,” which is arguably the most famous of all hymns. He wrote the lyrics. “What a wondrous grace! How a wretched man like me can be saved! I was once lost, but now I am found. Before I was blind, but now I see.” .”
Amazing Grace reminds me of when I was a seminary student, there was a time of praise before class, and the students were praising Amazing Grace at that time. Then, in the middle of the praise, the principal came out, interrupted the praise, and said to us students. “Are you guys really surprised? Perhaps the teacher’s voice was louder than all of us students. I met him after a long time last year, he gave a solo and a sermon. At that time, he was 89 years old, but he is still doing well and serving the Lord. I was very encouraged to see him passionately continuing to serve God.
Paul himself was experiencing the grace of God. Paul was once a persecutor of Christians and churches. However, on the road to Damascus, he met the Lord Jesus, believed in Jesus as his Savior, was baptized, and was saved. It was the grace of God. Reformer Martin Luther said, He said, “Salvation is by grace alone.” Paul was saved by the one-sided choice and grace of God.
We were once dead in our sins. We were at war with God. However, God, who is rich in mercy, poured out his great love on each one of us and sent His Son, Jesus, to this earth. The Lord Jesus died on the cross for our sins. By believing in Jesus, we too are saved, our enmity with God is over, and we are now at peace with God. The work of salvation is God’s unilateral choice and grace. So we can only thank God. Every week we express our gratitude to God for being saved through Sunday worship.
The second blessing is being added to the church, which is the family of God.
As Gentiles, we became one body with the Jews (verse 6). One body is the church. God made two things, Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians, into “one new man.” Both were made “one body.” This body is the “body of Christ” and the “church.” The head of the church is Jesus Christ.
God’s grace is poured into our church life and our daily lives. We can draw near to God through faith in the Lord Jesus (v. 12). How do we get closer to God? We approach God through prayer. At that time, the important thing is the name of Jesus Christ. We cannot approach God on our own.
We used to be far from God, but we are not now. considered to be close to God. Because through the cross of Jesus Christ the dividing wall was broken down, and the veil that separated the Holy and the Holy of Holies was torn. And the way to the Holy of Holies, the way to God, was opened. Gentiles could not even enter the Holy of Holies, let alone the Holy of Holies. It was the garden that the Gentiles could enter. It is also a garden reserved for Gentiles.
We gather to worship in the Church, which is “the temple of God.” If a church is a Jewish temple, then a parking lot would be the equivalent of a garden. Therefore, even if the Gentiles came to worship, they could not even enter the church. Where is the sanctuary? We can enter the entrance and stairs of the church, but we can’t enter the inside chapel. Is that how we feel? The sanctuary can be called the chapel.
The emphasis of Luther’s Reformation was that “salvation is by grace alone, by faith alone.” And the other is the “universal priest”. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. that you may proclaim the good works of him who called you out of darkness into his wondrous light (1 Peter 2:9) . Until then, we were taught that we could only approach God through a priest. But that is not true. It’s an Old Testament story. This is the age of the New Testament. We Christians are all made priests.
Anyone can approach God and pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Through the cross of the Lord Jesus, we have been forgiven of our sins and have been made children of God, and because we have the Holy Spirit within us, we turn to God the Father and say, “Father,” “Abba, Father.” We can approach God boldly and confidently. Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16) .
Grace is given unconditionally. Normally, we will be rewarded this much because we have worked this much. But grace is different. The God we believe in is a generous God. If we ask, he is the giver. So let us draw closer to God with greater boldness.
The third grace is the work of evangelization.
In verse 2, Paul says, “My ministry by the grace of God.” Paul introduced himself as the Apostle Paul in Chapter 1. He is an apostle who is sent. In 3:2 he describes himself as a “prisoner of Christ.”
Many people saw Paul as a prisoner in Rome. But Paul himself saw himself as a prisoner of Christ rather than a prisoner of Rome. Paul thought that he was not in prison, but that he was in Christ. He was not ashamed of it, but he was proud of it (v. 13). Let him not be discouraged, he wrote, because of the afflictions he is undergoing.
I think that the imprisonment of the leader Paul was a stumbling block for Christians and the church. Some would have left the church and renounced their faith. Because They felt that the gospel brought disaster instead of blessing. This is not just a problem of their time. It is a question that is often asked today. If there is a God, why is this happening? There are many things we do not know. Let us know when we go to heaven.
In Philippians 1:12, Paul’s other prison letter, I want you to know that what happened to me actually moved the gospel forward. In prison, by the power of the gospel, the work of salvation took place through Paul. So when we face trials, we want to remember that God’s plan is there too. Times are tough, but through trials, I believe that God has a plan for the gospel to move forward in the end.
Together with grace, we can work by “the power of God” (verse 7). As we saw in Ephesians 1:19, it is the work of the almighty power of God. It is the power of God, the power of resurrection, that works in those who believe. Are we moved by God’s grace? Are you experiencing the power of God?
If we are grateful for God’s grace and still experience God’s power, we will be able to serve the gospel like Paul did. God’s grace is needed not only for salvation, daily life and church life. The same is true in the work of evangelization. By the grace of God, Paul had been appointed by God.
In our time, the center of God’s plan is the church. God wants to glorify God through the “Church” (v. 10). It’s great to be able to serve God, serve the gospel, and serve the church. This is also God’s grace. It’s called privilege. Because we are cooperating with God and participating in the eternal work.
We will defeat the devil. Because the Lord Jesus has already triumphed over the devil. The “rules and authorities in heaven” in verse 10 refer to angels. I think it’s probably the demons who are fallen angels. Jesus made a promise to Peter. ” You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades cannot overcome it” ( Matthew 16:18).
The church is God’s eternal plan accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Jewish people have fallen and betrayed God. But God didn’t say this, “that’s no good, and I in a hurry to build a church instead. ” NO.From the beginning, from eternity, God has envisioned a “Church.” It is from before the creation of the world. Through the church, the gospel is preached, the kingdom of God is advanced, and God’s glory is revealed. This is God’s eternal plan. We are included in God’s plan. This is grace. It is a gift of God’s grace.