Man crosses a Grace Bridge

In the sacred text of Ephesians 2:7, we find a passage that speaks of immeasurable riches, grace, and kindness that span not only our past and present but also extend into the ages to come. This profound verse opens a gateway to understanding the divine nature of God’s grace, the purpose it serves, and its significance in the grand narrative of human history.

As we delve into this exploration of God’s grace through the ages, we will unravel the depths of His kindness and love, recognizing how grace has been and continues to be an essential thread in the tapestry of our existence.

The Eternal History of God’s Grace

The history of God’s “grace” or “free love” goes back into eternity. Our Earth’s six thousand years mark neither its beginning nor its end. It dates immeasurably backward among the ages that are past, and it stretches immeasurably forward into “the ages to come.” It is like Him in whose bosom it dwells, unbeginning and unending; so that, as He is from everlasting to everlasting “God,” so is He from everlasting to everlasting the “God of all grace.”

Divine Nature and Grace: A Perfect Match

This grace must give vent to itself and be manifested, for it is the very law of the divine nature, not merely to be—but to manifest itself. This is the law of all being—to bring forth that which it contains; in other words, to manifest itself; as in the case of the seed sown in the ground; a law which, in the creature, is the finite copy or image of that which has its seat and origin in the infinite Creator himself.

The Purpose of Grace: Divine Self-Manifestation

But, for this unfolding of grace, this manifestation of what is gracious in the divine character, there must be a purpose; for grace is not to manifest itself at random, or without due regard being had to time, and place, and objects, and circumstances, and final outcomes. It is this “purpose of grace,” as the apostle calls it, that is needed for giving shape and direction to the divine self-manifestation.

Grace’s Role in History: Unraveling the Divine Plan

It is this purpose of grace which answers the dreadful question—a question which no finite being can ever solve or ought to entertain—of how far a certain amount of permitted evil may so be overruled for far greater good as to warrant that evil being allowed to enter.

Defining the Objects of Grace

It is this purpose of grace which defines the objects towards whom this grace is to direct itself; the circumstances in which it is to find them; the time or times at which, and during which, it is to reveal itself; the channel through which it can righteously flow; the amount of obstacles which it can righteously overcome; the nature, as well as the extent and duration—of the results which it is to accomplish.

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Grace in Human History: God’s Divine Selection

This purpose selected the channel through which this divine manifestation was to come, and in selecting it settled, at once and forever, the vain question that has been so often raised—Could there not have been another channel equally efficacious? There could not. The divine selection of one channel is the setting aside of all the rest as inadequate to accomplish the design.

The Tapestry of Human History: God’s Purpose Unfolded

This purpose, then, gave definite shape to the future, arranging its endless movements—as certainly as the motions of each starry orb in the skies are adjusted, by the hand of the Creator. It regulated the time when grace was first to come forth, the place where it was first to be proclaimed, and the race in reference to whom the manifestation was to be made.

The Dawn of Grace: Meeting Sin Face to Face

It was not to show itself at the first eruption of sin. In that case, righteousness was alone to triumph—and the transgressors would have been consigned to everlasting chains. But after it had been proved that vengeance executed on the criminal could not deter others, and that thus righteousness alone was insufficient to deal effectually with sin—grace was to be introduced, to deal with it in a way such as would render any future outburst of it forever impossible.

Grace’s Location: Planting the Standard

Immediately on man’s fall, grace was to come in, and undertake the mighty work; a work in which righteousness had been baffled. On the very spot where sin had burst in upon the new-made world, grace was to plant its standard, and at the very commencement of the conflict, proclaim its certain victory.

Confronting Sin: The Unfolding of Divine Grace

Confronting both the tempter and the tempted, interposing between the spoiler and the victim, bidding the law stand by and see itself vindicated to the full, though in a new way; calling on righteousness to forego its prey, under the promise of a far nobler and more satisfying victim—it proclaimed “glory to God in the highest” out of that event which seemed most to dishonor his name; “peace on earth” out of that disaster which seemed to have driven peace out of the world; “good-will to man” out of that sin which threatened to make God man’s enemy forever.

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The Location of Grace’s Beginning: Near Eden’s Forbidden Tree

Near by the forbidden tree of Eden, God opened the well-spring of grace! Out of the fountain there opened, have flowed to us all the manifold streams of grace which have, since that, watered our parched and cursed soil.

The Nature of Grace: A Strange Concept

This grace is a strange thing in our eyes; its nature is so contrary to ours. We cannot take in its meaning. It seems to us an unearthly element, as if it were something entirely apart from the creature; as if, were we to drink deeply of it, we would cease to be creatures. It looks as if it could never be put upon us; as if it must stand forever apart from the sinner.

The Cross: Grace’s Pinnacle and Turning Point

The cross, we may say, is the place where grace reaches its highest manifestation. It is the culminating point of the sinner’s history. The sinner, in whom God delights, has come to the last of his course, and the cross is the crisis. There the sinner meets grace as it reaches him, dealing with him as it has dealt with him since the beginning; and as he meets it there, in faith, he takes it as God meant him to take it, and as he never took it before.

Grace on the Cross: Redeeming Humanity

The cross of Jesus is the meeting-place of grace and righteousness. There they embrace; there they part. There righteousness takes the sinner to her bosom, and bids him go in peace; while grace blesses him, and sends him on his way rejoicing.

Grace and Righteousness: A Harmonious Duo

The two walk together to the gate of heaven, and the sinner enters in. They accompany him to the end, and they introduce him to the heaven of heavens. But at the gate of heaven, grace stops, and leaves him to go on alone, while righteousness takes him up.

Grace’s Glorious End: Ages to Come

Now, we come to the remarkable phrase from Ephesians 2:7: “the ages to come.” This phrase tells us that grace is not a fleeting moment, not just a temporary fix; it is an eternal, unending reality. God’s grace doesn’t stop at the cross or in this present age—it extends into the ages that are yet to come.

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The Hope of Glory: Grace’s Promise

These “ages to come” speak of a future that holds promises beyond our imagination. They remind us that God’s grace will continue to unfold its riches, blessings, and kindness in the endless expanse of eternity.

Grace and the Promises of God: Our Inheritance

The ages to come also highlight the fulfillment of God’s promises to His children. Through grace, we become heirs to God’s promises, not just for today, but for all eternity. The inheritance of the ages to come is the ultimate expression of God’s love and kindness towards us.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Ephesians 2:7 invites us to embark on a journey through the ages—a journey that uncovers the unfathomable depths of God’s grace. This divine grace, rooted in the very nature of God, has a purpose that spans the course of human history. It is a purpose that confronts sin, redeems humanity, and ultimately leads to the ages to come, where the hope of glory awaits.

As we reflect on this journey, we find ourselves in awe of the divine kindness that has been lavished upon us. It is a grace that surpasses all understanding and continues to unfold its riches throughout eternity.

FAQs

Q1: What is the significance of grace in Ephesians 2:7? Ephesians 2:7 emphasizes the everlasting nature of God’s grace, which extends not only through our past and present but also into the ages to come. It signifies that grace is an essential aspect of God’s divine nature, revealing His kindness and love for humanity.

Q2: How does grace relate to the concept of divine self-manifestation? Grace is an expression of God’s divine self-manifestation, as it reflects His character and nature. It is the means through which God reveals His love, kindness, and mercy to humanity, demonstrating His willingness to forgive and redeem.

Q3: What role does grace play in overcoming sin and evil? Grace plays a pivotal role in overcoming sin and evil by offering forgiveness and redemption to sinful humanity. It confronts sin at its core and provides a way for righteousness and peace to be restored, ultimately leading to the salvation of souls.

Q4: How does grace connect to the hope of glory and the promises of God? Grace leads believers to the hope of glory by making them heirs to God’s promises. The ages to come represent the fulfillment of God’s divine promises, and grace ensures that believers partake in the blessings and inheritance of God’s eternal kingdom.

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