You know the song: ‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!’ The notes of the song are beautiful and stirring, but the message of the song is even more beautiful and stirring, as it should be. When we see what wondrous love and grace the Father has in store for us, it is beyond comprehension. It is, as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:15, inexpressible.
But Paul did his best to express God’s grace in human words and descriptions. And in one particular place in Scripture, I think he did a fantastic job. Look in Ephesians 2.
vv 1-3 – “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
Paul tells us that we were dead. We were followers of Satan, disobedient sons, and bringing God’s wrath upon ourselves. We deserved to die and be punished. We were sinful, wicked creatures.
And here is the amazing part… “BUT”
vv 4-10 – “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us” (v 4).
He is RICH in mercy, GREAT in love. How great? How Rich? Keep reading…
“even when we were dead in our trespasses, [He] made us alive together with Christ” (v 5).
EVEN though we are not worthy of His love and mercy, He loves us anyway and is willing to save us. What’s that called? Oh yeah… “–by grace you have been saved–.” It’s called GRACE; undeserved merit and favor. We don’t deserve anything from God. We are not worthy. God doesn’t have to save us. BUT He is the God of great love and mercy. Therefore He…
“raised us up with Him [Christ] and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (vv 6-7).
Did you catch that? The IMMEASURABLE RICHES OF HIS GRACE. It can’t even be measured, fathomed, or comprehend. In a word: wow. In another word: amazing.
“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” (vv 8-9).
Can any of us save ourselves without the divine will of God revealed to us? NO. Will any of us ever deserve or be worthy of salvation? NO. Paul reminds us that we are saved by God’s grace and not our own goodness. It is like a what? A gift. God doesn’t owe us anything. He has provided salvation for us as a gift. A gift we can never repay. Can we boast of how much we deserve God’s love and mercy, or that God is lucky to have us? Absolutely not. If we boast, we boast in the GRACE OF GOD (cf. Galatians 6:14 – boast in the cross of Jesus).
And this is what God makes us by His grace…
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (v 10).
Have you become the workmanship of God in Christ Jesus? Have you seen how amazing the grace of God is? It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you have done, or how far from God you have been. There is nothing that God’s grace cannot reach. How sweet it is to rise out of the waters of baptism a new creation, a recipient of God’s amazing grace. If you’ve not obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ and had your sins washed away, won’t you do that so that you too can sing ‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me’?!