Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider the praise of the glory of God’s grace (1:6). This may appear to be a very simple subject, but actually it is very difficult. We may think that we are familiar with the words praise, glory, and grace, but if we are honest, we shall admit that we do not adequately know what they mean.
Ephesians 1:6 says, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He graced us in the Beloved.” This verse does not stand by itself. Rather, it is the issue of predestination unto sonship mentioned in the preceding verse. This means that the praise of the glory of God’s grace is the result, the issue, of the sonship. Therefore, in order to understand the praise in verse 6, we must know the sonship in verse 5. If we do not know the content of the sonship, we may merely understand verse 6 in a natural way.
What is God’s grace? It is very difficult to define grace. I have been puzzled by this for many years, and even today I am still studying it. According to the New Testament, grace is what God is to us for our enjoyment (John 1:16-17; 2 Cor. 12:9; 1 Cor. 15:10). John 1:17 says that the law was given through Moses, but that grace and reality came through Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul says that he labored more than the other apostles, yet not he, but the grace of God which was with him. Galatians 2:20 is parallel to 1 Corinthians 15:10. Galatians 2:20 says, “Not I, but Christ,” and 1 Corinthians 15:10 says, “Not I, but the grace of God.” This indicates that grace is Christ Himself. Other portions of the New Testament emphasize grace. For example, 2 Corinthians 13:14 says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” Furthermore, Paul opens all his Epistles with a reference to grace; he also ends them all with a word about grace. Galatians 6:18 says, “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Second Timothy 4:22 says, “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you.” In this verse Christ and grace are parallel. For the Lord Jesus Christ to be with our spirit is equal to grace being with our spirit. This indicates that grace is virtually equal to Christ. When we have Christ, we have grace. When Christ came, grace came. This is the reason John 1:17 says that grace came through Jesus Christ, indicating that grace is somewhat like a person. It is personified. This personification of grace is God Himself.
Although this may sound strange to some ears, it is nevertheless a fact. If you get into the spirit of the New Testament concerning grace, you will realize that grace is somewhat personified. When Paul said, “Not I, but the grace of God which was with me,” grace was a living person to him. In Paul, a Person became the very grace to labor. Therefore, grace is actually God Himself; it is what God is to us for our enjoyment. When God is enjoyed by us, that is grace. Grace is the very God in His Son Jesus Christ to be our portion so that we may enjoy all that He is.
God is love. If we do not enjoy Him as love, we do not have grace. But if we enjoy God as love, we have grace. Again I say, grace is what God is to us as our portion for our enjoyment. We should sing not only of God’s mercy enduring forever, but also of God’s grace. We need to compose some songs about God being grace to us, songs to express what God is for our enjoyment. If we praise God only for His mercy, we remain on an elementary level. We need to go on from God’s mercy to God’s grace. Grace issues from mercy, just as high school is the continuation of elementary school. After elementary school, we need to go on to high school. We need to go on and not remain in elementary school so long. Many of today’s Christians, however, remain in the elementary grades, even though they may have been Christians for many years. Let us go on to the higher grades and praise God for His grace.
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