“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, ‘When He ascended on high He led a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.’ (In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that He had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)” Ephesians 4:7-10
Grace: the entirety of the Gospel of Jesus Christ woven together in just one word. Unmerited favor. Getting what we don’t deserve. Grace. We looked at the call to unity yesterday, and this can only be accomplished by God’s grace made manifest in and through us. As much as we are unified in Christ, we are also unique as individual believers in Christ, and the uniqueness of our callings is nothing short of the outpouring of God’s grace on our lives as well.
“But grace was given to each one…”
One of the many things that I love about grace is that it cannot be earned. Notice in verse seven that it is given according to the sovereign will and design of God. He decides what is given to whom. Grace depends on Him and what He has already done, not on us or what we can do. One thing that we can be confident of, though, is that every single believer is a recipient of this grace, and this gift is free. To all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, each has been given a unique spiritual gift that is to be used for God’s glory and the betterment of His church. We will look more specifically at some of these gifts tomorrow, but for today, rest assured that in Christ, you have been gifted with this grace.
“When He ascended on high…”
The perfect life of Jesus Christ here on this earth made Him the only perfect sacrifice that would atone for the sins of the world. Having gone through the brutality of the cross and having overcome the power of death in the grave, the resurrection of Jesus Christ sealed for all believers for all time the gift of God’s grace. Jesus Christ accomplished what He descended into earth to fulfill. The veil was torn in two. The great divide between God and man was bridged. Jesus Christ made a way. Jesus Christ is the way. His position of rule and authority now is seated in the heavens, interceding on our behalf to the Father. He reigns. He is glorified. He is alive. And His reign is marked by the grace He pours into our lives. Grace.
“…that He might fill all things.”
Every aspect of the life of Christ was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. His ascension restored Him to His rightful place, where at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. (Philippians 2:10) From that moment in time until His long-awaited return, He is filling all things. He rules over the church and gives gifts to His children. Not a single moment passes by on this earth when He is not at work in our midst. He is filling all things. Because of His grace, we have been invited to come alongside Him in His redemptive work and plan. Because of His grace, we have been spiritually gifted to accomplish this work. Because of His grace, the lost that surround us can know the hope we possess. The Gospel in one word: grace.