Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. – Ephesians 1:1-10
I’ll admit it: it is an outrageous claim. I’m not certain any notable theologian has postulated this in this exact way. And I believe it better than I can explain it. But I believe the little phrase, “to the praise of his glorious grace,” (Ephesians 1:6) holds the key to the meaning of all of life and of the universe as a whole. I believe if we look at the Bible as a whole, and seek to understand the span of history in view of God’s glorious grace in Jesus Christ we have the very best perspective from which to understand God, Scripture, and life.
When it comes to understanding God, we do well to let him speak for himself. We listen to his word. And by that I mean his literal words: And God said, “Let there be light.” Jesus said, “There is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner who repents.” God’s act of creating was an act of grace. God’s grace is shown in Jesus’ joy over sinners who repent. We understand God best when we attribute to him grace, kindness, and love.
Look at God through the lens of Grace: his unmerited love, kindness, mercy, and favor. Consider all that he does as flowing from and seeking to lead us to himself in order to save, redeem, comfort, and be in relationship with us. When you struggle with God’s presence, or his seeming uncaring attitude toward you, consider his grace. Remember his redeeming love. Think of him in light of his good will for you and all people. Praise him not just for his majesty, glory, sovereignty, or might, but for his love, goodness and grace.
Read the Scripture with the lens of God’s grace. This is not a book of rules and principles for living successfully, or achieving holiness. This is a book of God’s redeeming love, his delight in his creation, and his desire that all would be saved. That’s why Paul writes the words, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” God is a God of blessing: all by his grace. And when it comes time to focus our praise – and God’s intent and desire for such praise – we are pointed to “his glorious grace.” We should pour over every word of Scripture in search of God’s grace. It is the key to understanding and lens that provides clarity to the intent of God’s word.
So to with life. When we view life through the lens of God’s grace, for if we do not we are in danger of adopting pagan perspectives to faith, love, and good works. And to that we will turn tomorrow. D.V.