“Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.”
The apostle opened the letter to the Ephesians with an emphasis on grace: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” He now closes the letter with an emphasis on grace.
The grace of God is foundational to everything in your life as a Christian.
Grace is the Greek word charis, and it means unmerited favor. Grace is God’s love and kindness toward those who are undeserving. Grace means that God does not give us what we deserve and instead gives us gifts and blessings that we don’t deserve.
Grace reveals God to you. Aside from creation, the most amazing thing that has happened in the universe is that the Creator has chosen to reveal himself. He is not a distant, disconnected deity. The infinite-personal God is there, and he is not silent. He has revealed himself in his dealings with Israel throughout history, he has revealed himself in scripture, and he has revealed himself through Jesus.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth … And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1.14-18)
Grace redeems you and reconciles you to God. Jesus came to planet earth to repair our broken relationship with God. Redemption means “to buy back,” and Jesus did precisely that. Although we did nothing to deserve it, he went to the cross to pay the price for our sin. He bought us back from sin and death.
“We are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:24-25)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2.8-9)
Grace restores you to God’s purposes. Salvation restores God’s purpose into your life. Redemption returns you to the purpose for which God created you: to be a bearer of his image and an agent of his kingdom. He did not save you for your purposes; he saved you for his purposes.
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5.18-20)
Grace transforms you. Grace redeems you and saves you; it also changes you. The Lord works in your life to transform you more and more into the Christ-like person he created you to be.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Grace trains you. It’s a deeply important principle of the Christian life: Grace delivers you and it develops you. The same grace that brings salvation—the very same grace—also trains and teaches you.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” (Titus 2:11-12)
God’s grace brings more than a pardon. It also teaches you to recognize and turn away from the internal impulses of the old nature and the external influences of the world. It also teaches you how to walk in a way worthy of God’s call on your life.
Again, the grace of God is foundational to everything in your life as a Christian.
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age.” (Galatians 1.3-4)