God does not save men and women without a reason. It is for a reason He sanctified us. “So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). At the time of creating man He did not have this reason in Christ, although in His foreknowledge He knew He would. When God created man holy and righteous, He desired to show him the surpassing riches of His grace. But, as sin entered him, it is in Christ that He created an opportunity for the same toward the saved; He wants to show us His kindness.
God saved each one of us to deal kindly with us. He desires to do so in all matters or areas of our life. For this reason, He sent Christ and saved us from sin and all our trespasses. When He saved us, He set times to appear and reveal the overflowing riches of His grace. For every kindness of His toward us in Christ He has set a time. The reason for it is that at any or every given time in our life there appears the need to be supplied. Earthly things do not fully do us justice for every need and trouble we encounter. For example, we know that money cannot solve problems, tensions and heartaches, though in some cases it may provide relief for the time being. But the power and peace of God certainly provide relief forever. There are many Christians without the firsthand knowledge of the surpassing riches of God’s grace that appear in kindness. Many others seek to deceive themselves into thinking of it as wealth of every kind.
What does it really mean when Paul mentions the surpassing riches of God’s grace? First of all, it means it applies to only those who are saved by grace through faith in Christ. In other words, it is to those who know they have done nothing to merit His kindness, except believing in His call to be saved. Secondly, it means His riches are not something we can estimate. In other words, in every instance of our life we only have the right and privilege of believing that God will do the rightful and the needful thing for us. Furthermore, it means those riches accomplish in our life the things for which we lack courage and that we in our power fail to accomplish. So, the idea of riches to mean wealth should be thrown out of the window. Do not be troubled. Possessing wealth by the means of God is a blessing. It is to glorify God in the least and the greatest of cases. But, to equal the surpassing riches of His grace to mere wealth is missing the point.
For the surpassing riches of His grace relate to the works He performs toward us. At times it is rescuing us from dangers and death or it is protecting us from evil, sin and enemies. It is forgiving our sin or sins that repeat in us or rendering baseless the reproaches that wrongly fell upon us. Many times it is providing us the right provisions at the right time to honor us and glorify His name. They include gifts of the Spirit, peace with men and with Him, blessings of many kinds including clothing, shelter and even money. Anything that fills us with joy and confidence in Christ is of the riches of His glory that exceed our strength and understanding. It is for this reason He saved us and seated us with Him in the heavenly places. And because of the confidence in God’s desire to show the surpassing riches of His glory toward the believing Peter said, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Pet. 3:8).
God fulfills that which He promised and desired to do for us. He prepares a timetable according to which the surpassing riches of His grace toward us appear. It convolutes with our relationship with Him. The more intimate we are with Him the more we see His riches appearing and controlling our life. The only way to be intimate with Him is through Word and prayer. At times He delays to fulfill His promises and desires to us, because He intended it for our sake. Still, He controls time, people and circumstances to suit us. This too is of the surpassing riches of His grace. So, do not to be perturbed. He makes delay appear as nothing when He demonstrates the surpassing riches of His glory toward us. We have come to Him through Christ, His unique and beloved Son. He will not betray us or reject us. He made us His dwelling. “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).
The more we grasp the fact that we are His temple the better; the less the worse. One of the many reasons we ought to be intimate with God is to be reminded of what we are to Him. This has a benefit. We have the opportunity to prepare ourselves to stand holy before Him. In other words, we increase our faith in Him through which we are continually sanctified. We fulfill the Lord’s wish. “And the Lord said, ‘If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you’” (Luke 17:6). How is it possible? It is by the showing of the surpassing riches of His grace toward us. His riches appear, since the Spirit indwells us. Obviously, He is not asking us to grow to the point of tossing trees into the sea. But, He is asking us to believe in God, who shows the exceeding riches of His grace, that anything hindering our joy and confidence in Him is uprooted and tossed away. Our intimacy with Him brings forth His amazing works toward us.
Through the surpassing riches of His grace we conquer all fear, trouble and heartache. We also have the desires of our heart that are according to His will. Yet, all this comes to a halt if we are disobedient to His will and sin against Him in the weakness of our flesh. We become the cause for the delay of our joy. So, it is vital to always remember the words of the Lord. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). They will clear the way for the things of His grace. As long as we seek His forgiveness, He will keep us on the road to glory. Remember, God can never work alongside sin. His holiness is too pure and mighty to dwell with it. Again, He has never nor will He ever reject a person that truly repented of his or her sin. The need to repent is evident in Jesus’ words. He does not wish for us to miss the power of heaven that is near, i.e. in our presence to experience. Missing it would mean hindering God to show the surpassing riches of His glory toward us in Him.
The moment God makes us pure in Christ He sends His Spirit upon us. He cannot resist living in us and working for us. For this reason, His love toward us is unfathomable. Many do not truly revere and grasp it, as it becomes impossible for them to taste it while in sin. Though they might be saved, but take lightly the need to repent of their sin, they miss the surpassing riches. In my opinion, it is always profitable to ask God for forgiveness and the affirmation to it from the Word the moment we know we sinned in word, thought or deed. This pleases Him. It will be evident by the riches of His grace toward us. They quickly assure that our journey to the time He set for the fulfillment of His promises and desires has not been halted. There is great effect in true repentance, you know. Further, if we are someone who daily seeks God’s forgiveness as Jesus taught His disciples, we all the more experience His power and peace. Doing so does not mean we again seek salvation, but that we are willing to sustain intimacy with Him by the humblest means possible. For this is the fear we carry in us that we keep intimacy with Him: “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (John 8:34).
If there are none righteous and if it is with great difficulty the righteous is saved, then the possibility of sinning against God in word, thought or deed is in excess. And if we are saved only by grace, it means sin has the power to do its work in us for which our strength to restrain it at all times is inadequate. So, there is a very good reason to daily seek God’s forgiveness by carrying in us the fear that is of the words of Jesus. It is the only assurance that notifies He is with us no matter what; it is by faith. Through it we continue intimacy with Him. Through it the Spirit indwells in us freely. Because of it, God shows the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ. So, let us not neglect to fear Jesus’ words. To not fear them will numb our minds to humble before God; thereby, when we sin we inevitably become its slave. And, the Spirit in Paul reminds us saying, “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Cor. 8:6).