Archive for the ‘God's Grace’ Category

February 20 Daily Devotion Ephesians 2:4

Ephesians 2:4

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.

The worldly man speaks of riches in terms of material wealth. He yearns for money, jewellery, big houses and luxury items. Sadly, even churchgoers of our time are overly concerned for material riches.

But a godly man, like the apostle Paul, will be extremely vigilant and cautious toward material wealth (cf.1 Tim. 6:9-11). In fact, such a man will also be overwhelmingly fascinated with the riches of God. In his epistles, Paul spoke glowingly of “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8), “the exceeding riches of his grace” (Eph. 2:7; 1:7), “the riches of his glory” (Rom. 9:23; Eph. 1:18; 3:16), “the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering” (Rom. 2:4), “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom. 11:33), etc.

Our text for today declares that God is rich in mercy. The riches of His mercy far outshine all the wealth of this world. While man becomes rich by hoarding things for himself, the riches of God’s mercy endlessly bestow His goodness and glory on those who need them. He is so rich in mercy that no one who comes to Him for His mercy shall be turned away for lack of it.

What sinners like us need most from God is His mercy. Shall we dare to approach His awful throne for His blessings? The answer is that He is rich in mercy! Are we then worthy to ask favours from Him? The answer is that His mercy is abundant to those who seek Him. You need not possess any merit nor meet any eligibility requirement. Just come to Him, you shall have mercy; and His mercy shall supply all your needs.

What is the guarantee of the bestowal of His mercy? The apostle assuredly says, “for his great love wherewith he loved us.” The love of God towards His people is everlasting, and His loving hands are always stretched out to receive those who come and to bestow upon them His rich mercies.

The richness of His mercy and the greatness of His love are both now extended to His children in full measure. O what great encouragement we are given to come to our God! There is no reason why we should hesitate to come to Him. He says to us, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

God is Love!

God is LOveGod is love.” Though short, it is a statement of eternal magnitude and significance. Never was more meaning encapsulated in so few words as in this short sentence – “God is love.” The Apostle John stated this truth twice in his first epistle (cf. 1 John 4:8, 16). The message of this short verse is splashed across the Bible.

Some clarifications are necessary before any further elaboration of this glorious statement is attempted. When John wrote that “God is love”, he was not saying that “love” is the complete revelation of God. In fact, he has already written in the same epistle that “God is light” (1 John 1:5); and that refers to God’s holy nature (cf. John 3:18–21; 1 John 1:5–10). So love is not the only attribute that adequately describes God. God cannot be fully explained by one of His attributes alone. Love is not the only perception we ought to have of Him. Neither was the Apostle John implying that “love is God”. The emphasis of the saying, “God is love”, is that in God alone can one fully view what true love is; and only by His enablement that one can have the power to express true love.

God is essential boundless love

The declaration that “God is love” not only reveals God as a loving God, but also portrays love as natural and essential to His divine glory. All of God’s will and all of His works are draped in His glorious love. In nature and essence, He is “God of love” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

God is perfect, and His love is perfect too. God is unfathomable, and hence His love is beyond our full grasp. But the knowledge that God is full of perfect and infinite love enables us to draw near to Him with full assurance of faith for pardon and redemption.

In this dark world of hatred, sin and sorrows, we have the assurance that a God of infinite love rules over all. Though we may not be able to reconcile all the cruelty and tragedies that occur around us, yet by exercising faith on this marvellous declaration, we can find consolation. In fact, amidst all the sadness, sin and sorrow, there is abundant evidence that God is love. Among all the manifestations of His love in this dark world, the gift of a Saviour is the greatest of all.

God manifested His love through His Son

We can know God because His great love is manifested unto us. Immediately after making the assertion that “God is love”, the Apostle John wrote, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). God’s love has sent the Son of God to bear all our sins so that we may know Him intimately.

How amazing it is that God should love vile mortals like us. Who can fully comprehend that the eternal God, who is holy, would love ungrateful rebels such as we? What a great mystery and a grand miracle that the divine love would send His only begotten Son into the world for us! If this is not love, what then is love?

John says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). God’s sending of His Son is so unusual and such an unprecedented expression of love that the apostle says, “Herein is love”. God loved the world so wonderfully, so amazingly and so incredibly that He sacrificed His only begotten Son as the ransom for the redemption of sinners. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

God’s matchless love

Being moved by the love of God manifested through Christ, the Apostle John exclaimed, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1a). John encourages us to contemplate the greatness of God’s love. He points us to God’s love as peculiar. It is out-of-this-world kind of love. There is no act of love in this world that can ever be compared to God’s love that received us as His children, though we were once His enemies.

The apostle was so astonished at the greatness of God’s love that he wrote, “What manner of love”. The Greek words potapên agape, used by the apostle, point to both the quantity and quality of God’s love. Its length, breadth, depth and height are beyond description.

How can we ever describe the love of God that allows us to call Him, “Father!” There can be no higher expression of love than His adopting of us, reckless children as we are, as His own, now and forever. There can never be any greater act of love, even from God, than that which He manifested through the sacrifice of His Son so that we may be reconciled to Him as His children. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

He loved us, when we had no love for Him. He lovingly came to us, even when we had wandered away from Him. When we laid down in our sin, guilt and misery, His tender love sought to redeem us. When we were undeserving, ill-deserving, polluted and unclean, in love He stooped down to wash us from our sins with His sacred blood. While we were dead in trespasses, His love for us affixed Him on the cross to die that we might live forever through Him. He loved us, the wretched sinful mortals, that we might live in heaven, live with God and live in eternal glory and blessedness with Him and through Him: O what love has reached us here on earth!

Conclusion

All those who have tasted His love, in receiving the salvation by faith in Christ, must praise Him for His eternal love. When we remember how insignificant we are as creatures, and how ungrateful, rebellious and vile we have been as sinners, we may well be full of adoration and worship at His love which had adopted us into the holy family of God, so that we may be regarded and treated as the children of the Most High. The love of God that surpasses all finite conception will be the theme of adoring praises from multitudes that no man can number, for ever and ever. Moreover, we should declare His love to every creature that others may also come to Him and rejoice in His love.

Even in this world of animosity, bitterness, violence and suffering, we have sufficient evidence to prove that He is benevolent. Let us always behold the cross where the love of God shines through the injustice, travesty and violence of human sin. The gruesome experiences of this earth tend to mask our perception that God is love. The full glory and meaning of His infinite love will be fully understood only when we reach heaven. In the meantime, let us hold on to the truth that God is love. Let us believe that He sincerely desires our good, and that what seems dark to us may be designed for our welfare; and amidst all the sorrows and disappointments of the present life, let us be rest assured that our interests and our destiny are in the hands of the God of love.

There is none who is infinitely perfect in love as God. O what astonishing goodness and condescension from the Almighty God towards us who believe on His Son. God is love!

Thinking about God’s grace toward me

grace -noahThe biblical definition of God’s grace is His unmerited favour towards the unworthy sinners, by which He provides salvation from sin and its condemnation.

God’s nature is gracious. In fact, we perceive His grace through His divine actions which show His goodness towards us, such as salvation, forgiveness, guidance, provisions, protection, etc. So we can say that God’s grace involves His free actions for the benefit of His people. How wonderful is that God is gracious both in His nature and in His actions!

“. . . The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).

“. . . But thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not” (Nehemiah 9:17b).

(Cf. Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 112:4; 116:5; 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; 1 Peter 2:3)

I have been thinking of His grace towards me, and pen down my thoughts about it:

Yes, I don’t deserve it,

Neither can I earn it,

Nor can I buy it:

And yet I have it,

For God has giv’n it to me,

Freely, richly, forever.


I’ll never be short of it,

For it’s giv’n abundantly.

I’ll ever trust upon it,

For it’s always sufficient.

I’ll forev’r be glad in it,

For it’s exceedingly rich.

20 Famous Hymns with “Grace” in Them

amazing grace 2Below you will find stanzas taken from 20 famous hymns.

Each of those stanzas refers to God’s grace.

Can you guess what the titles of the corresponding hymns are?

The titles of the hymns can be found at the end of this article.

1

Ye chosen seed of Israel’s race,

Ye ransomed from the fall;

Hail Him who saves you by His grace,

And crown Him Lord of all.

Hail Him who saves you by His grace,

And crown Him Lord of all.

…………………………………….

2

Come Thou Fount of ev’ry blessing,

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise.

Teach me some melodious sonnet

Sung by flaming tongues above;

Praise the mount—I’m fixed upon it—

Mount of Thy redeeming love.

O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be!

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,

Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee.

Prone to wander—Lord, I feel it—

Prone to leave the God I love;

Here’s my heart—O take and seal it,

Seal it for Thy courts above.

…………………………………….

3

Was it for crimes that I had done

He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity, grace unknown,

And love beyond degree!

…………………………………….

4

For nothing good have I

Whereby Thy grace to claim;

I’ll wash my garments white

In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

…………………………………….

5

Silent night, holy night,

Son of God, love’s pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face,

With the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,

Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.

…………………………………….

6

Lead on, O King eternal,

The day of march has come;

Henceforth in fields of conquest

Thy tents shall be our home:

Thro’ days of preparation

Thy grace has made us strong,

And now, O King Eternal,

We lift our battle song.

…………………………………….

7

O for a thousand tongues to sing

My great Redeemer’s praise,

The glories of my God and King,

The triumphs of His grace.

…………………………………….

8

Elect from ev’ry nation,

Yet one o’er all the earth,

Her charter of salvation,

One Lord, one faith, one birth;

One holy name she blesses,

Partakes one holy food,

And to one hope she presses,

With ev’ry grace endued.

…………………………………….

9

I know not why God’s wondrous grace

To me He hath made known,

Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love

Redeemed me for His own.

…………………………………….

10

O tell of His might, O Sing of His grace,

Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space!

His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,

And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

…………………………………….

11

Chorus: Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!

How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!

O for grace to trust Him more!

…………………………………….

12

He rules the world with truth and grace,

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders, and wonders of His love.

…………………………………….

13

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!

Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!

Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!

Chorus: Mercy there was great, and grace was free;

Pardon there was multiplied to me;

There my burdened soul found liberty At Calvary.

…………………………………….

14

‘When thro’ fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,

My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;

The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design

Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

…………………………………….

15

He left His Father’s throne above,

So free, so infinite His grace!

Emptied Himself of all but love,

And bled for Adam’s helpless race!

’Tis mercy all, immense and free,

For, O my God, it found out me.

…………………………………….

16

Come, Almighty to deliver,

Let us all Thy grace receive;

Suddenly return, and never,

Nevermore Thy temples leave.

Thee we would be always blessing,

Serve Thee as Thy host above,

Pray, and praise Thee without ceasing,

Glory in Thy perfect love.

…………………………………….

17

With humble hearts we bow in adoration

Before this Child, gift of God’s matchless love,

Sent from on high to purchase our salvation—

That we might dwell with Him ever above.

What grace untold—to leave the bliss of glory

And die for sinners guilty and forlorn:

Fall on your knees! repeat the wondrous story!

…………………………………….

18

Thou hast promised to receive us,

Poor and sinful though we be;

Thou hast mercy to relieve us,

Grace to cleanse, and pow’r to free:

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,

Early let us turn to Thee;

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,

Early let us turn to Thee.

…………………………………….

19

All the way my Savior leads me;

Cheers each winding path I tread,

Gives me grace for ev’ry trial,

Feeds me with the living bread;

Tho’ my weary steps may falter,

and my soul athirst may be,

Gushing from the Rock before me,

Lo! a spring of joy I see;

Gushing from the Rock before me,

Lo! a spring of joy I see.

…………………………………….

20

In loving kindness Jesus came,

My soul in mercy to reclaim,

And from the depths of sin and shame

Thro’ grace He lifted me.

…………………………………….

The above stanzas are from the following hymns

  1. All Hail the Power
  2. Come, Thou Fount
  3. At the Cross
  4. Jesus Paid It All
  5. Silent Night! Holy Night!
  6. Lead On, O King Eternal
  7. O for a Thousand Tongues
  8. The Church’s One Foundation
  9. I Know Whom I have Believed
  10. O Worship the King
  11. ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
  12. Joy to the World!
  13. At Calvary
  14. How Firm a Foundation
  15. And Can It Be That I Should Gain?
  16. Love Divine
  17. O Holy Night!
  18. Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
  19. All the Way My Savior Leads Me
  20. He Lifted Me

Grace! How Sweet the Sound!

amazing grace 1

To some, the subject of God’s grace is dull and boring. To them, grace is not glorious, but lacklustre. In their hearts, it is no more ‘amazing grace’, but ‘boring grace’!

However, the topic of grace has always excited the hearts of God’s children. All through the ages, they sang about God’s grace as amazing, wondrous, matchless, glorious, charming, etc. ‘God’s grace’ is an exhilarating theme. That’s why some of our most favourite hymns are about the grace of God.

  • John Newton’s (1725-1807) “Amazing grace”
  • Philip Doddridge’s (1720-1751) “Grace!’Tis is a Charming Sound”
  • Julia Johnston’s (1849-1919) “Grace greater than our Sin,”
  • Haldor Lillenas’ (1885-1959) “Wonderful grace of Jesus”
  • Annie Johnson Flint’s (1866-1932) “He giveth more grace”

God’s people have always been fascinated by the abundant grace that God has promised to them. I can’t express fully how enchanted I am when Christians sing those famous hymns on God’s grace, whether it be in a small or large congregation. Even when I sing alone of His grace, whether it is during my devotion or when I am suddenly gripped by the thought of the goodness of His grace in my life and ministry, I am filled with an unspeakable joy.

Just consider the chorus of Haldor’s hymn,

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus

Deeper than the mighty rolling sea

Wonderful grace, all sufficient for me, (for even me)

Broader than the scope of my transgressions

Greater far than all my sin and shame

I wonder whether you started singing the above lines, as you were reading it!

What do you say about the grace that God has bestowed in your life?

…………………….

(God willing, in my next post, we will consider many popular hymns which refer to the grace of God. By the way, these are snippets from of my discourse on “The glory of His grace” in the recent Bible Witness Retreat.)

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