October 7 I Thursday
“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.” —Ephesians 1:7-8
When I first became a Christian, I was under the impression that I had basically been given three things: a ticket, a certificate and a catalogue. The ticket said, “One way to heaven.” The certificate said, “This is to certify that Charles Price has had all his sins forgiven. Signed, God.” The ticket and certificate gave me the confidence for what would happen to me after I died. I knew Jesus had forgiven me and I would go to heaven, but what about the here and now?
For that, there was the catalogue. I thought the Bible was filled with good things I could ask God for. If I needed some love, I would ask God to give me some, but that would soon wear off. If I lacked joy, peace or power, I would ask God, but that would soon wear off too. My experience was one of asking for this and that, hoping it would last, but it never did. After being a Christian for several years, I made a discovery that transformed my whole understanding of the Christian life. I realized God had only one thing to give me and that was the life of His Son who came to live in me by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The reality is the Christian life is so much more than a ticket, a certificate and a catalogue. Jesus forgives us through His death and resurrection so we can spend eternity with Him, but the relationship central to the Christian life begins the moment we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. When we become a Christian, everything Jesus Christ is—His kindness, His power, His goodness and love—is already given to us in Him.
Paul uses a great word when he talks about the riches of God’s grace that He “lavished” on us. “Lavish” means “profuse, excessive, over-abundant,” which is an accurate description of the riches God gives us in Christ Jesus. Paul’s prayers are always for the spiritual truths he has taught to become experiential in our lives. In Christ is every spiritual blessing and nothing is left out of that. “Christ in us” is the only resource we will ever need because it all derives from Him. As the old hymn, “He Giveth More Grace” goes,
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power, no boundary known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.
Prayer: Glorious Jesus, everything I will ever need has already been given to me by the indwelling of Your Spirit. Keep me mindful to draw on Your presence every day, particularly in times of hardship. Thank You, Lord.