Those who understand what the Word of God teaches realize that the doctrines of the prosperity gospel have no foundation in Scripture. And they recognize how poverty-stricken is the notion that believers can or should have their best lives now. However, God’s Word is equally and unequivocally clear that believers should be extravagantly wealthy. Just a brief survey of key verses in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, if properly apprehended, will leave us like the queen of Sheba after she had seen all the wealth and magnificence of Solomon’s kingdom: “there was no more spirit in her” (1 Ki. 10:5). The opulence took her breath away. Consider a few of the following truths, all from Ephesians.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (1:7). God does not dole out grace like a pinch of salt, a few grains pressed tightly between His thumb and index finger. He is rich in grace toward us. Although we are warned in Romans not to sin in order that grace might abound, we honor the Lord when we pray for grace, live by grace, ask for His grace, and in true, simple, and thankful faith expect Him to bestow unmerited favor on us.
“The riches of His grace which He lavished on us” (vv. 7, 8). By the Spirit of God, Paul assures us that God has heaped grace upon us. This side of eternity, we cannot fully comprehend or appreciate the grandeur of our redemption, the readiness with which God truly forgives a repentant heart, the zeal with which He cleanses us from sin, the infinite willingness He displays to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness when we truly confess them. When we consider the infinite distance one sin created between Adam and God, the depravity it visited on the entire human race, the curse it brought on the whole earth, and the universal death that followed as a just consequence, we can begin to get an idea of the lavish nature of the grace God has bestowed on us.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . . made us alive together with Christ . . . , and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2:4-6). Justice pronounced us guilty and sentenced us to damnation in hell and eternal separation from God. But in infinite mercy, God withheld that which we deserved; instead, seating us with Christ (!) in heaven. We don’t sneak in under the tent flap when no one is looking. We come in the front door, welcomed and accepted by God, who seats us with His beloved and all-worthy Son, in order that we might fellowship and reign with Him!
“So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (v. 7). Even superlatives are unable to bear the weight of the truth concerning the wealth God bestows on believers. This verse suggests that eternity will be one endless unfolding of the wealth of grace that God has stored up for those He has chosen to redeem and deliver from sin. In recent days, we have read or heard of some of the pampered opulence that attends those of the House of Windsor. That can’t hold a candle to what God has in store for those who love Him—but unlike earthly luxury, there will be nothing in it that spoils, corrupts, or perverts because it will all manifest the immeasurable love and grace of God.
“The unfathomable riches of Christ” (3:8). When we have said all that we can say, when we have understood all that our minds can comprehend, the richness of who Christ is and what He has done in redeeming us will still be beyond human comprehension.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think . . . to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus” (3:20, 21). We can ask amiss, but when led of the Spirit, we cannot ask more than God is capable of providing—we cannot even conceive of the extent of His ability to provide. May we glorify Him by drawing deeply from the riches of God in Christ Jesus.
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