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What is Grace Worth?

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Have you ever thought about the number of awards, accolades, and achievements we strive for in our world today? It starts at an early age with our children. Go into any proud parent’s home and you will often find a small area of the house—perhaps a book shelf or a hallway wall—decorated with a plethora of participation awards and trophies from their child’s various activities.

If you are filmmaker, there are approximately 95 awards you can receive in the United States alone. (Each country has their own list of awards available.) In the world of entrepreneurs and business people, the motto is to be the best salesman or the most successful district manager. Bonuses and all-expense-paid vacations are given to those who obtain these prestigious titles. Our most high profile role models are the rich and famous, so we strive for greater wealth, responsibility, and recognition.

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[Photo by Brad.K on Flickr]

With that in mind, I want to tell you about a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians living in Ephesus because it speaks to us in a profound way, some two thousand years later. Paul’s epistle is called the book of Ephesians in the New Testament of the Bible. Ephesus was a city in ancient Greece that was a center of prosperity. It was also a hub for idolatry and crime. But in the middle of all this darkness, God did an amazing thing! He raised up a great church that would boldly shine forth His light.

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[Photo of ancient Greece by Gary Fagan on Flickr]

Because Ephesus was so accustomed to wealth, you’ll notice how many terms of prosperity Paul uses in his letter to the Christians living in that city. Not to worry—he was not one of those “health, wealth, and prosperity” preachers we need to be cautious of today. Paul is talking about something eternally greater. He is talking about the riches of God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

He writes in Ephesians 1:7-8 about Jesus,

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us…”

To lavish is to “expend or give in great amounts or without limit.” Paul is saying that God heaps undeserved merit and favor upon those who choose to believe in His Son Jesus. Then Paul writes probably one of the most well-known verses in the Bible that perfectly captures what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about:

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:6-9).

This would have been a mind-blowing concept to the Ephesians who were used to business, trade, and earning every cent they made. Through faith in Jesus, the free gift of eternal salvation was theirs. All because of God’s unfathomable kindness—through the incomparable riches of His grace.

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[Photo by Moyan Brenn on Flickr]

Grace, my friend, is of greater worth than all the money, yachts, Rolexes, and diamonds in the world. There is no other trophy—which serves as a token of great victory, valor, or skill—we could place upon our mantelpiece and there is no other achievement that could measure up to what Christ has done in our lives and in our hearts.

Right now at Shepherd Church, we are in a sermon series about the book of Ephesians called, “Trophies of Grace.” We will learn more about the incredible lavishness of God’s grace—how it changes who we are and how we live. I hope you will join us!

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