How do you view God? Do you think of Him as generous, kind, gracious? Or, do you view Him as cold, hard, and miserly? Chew on what Paul says in Ephesians 1:7-8: ”In Jesus we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…”
We sometimes adopt the wrong view of God. Mankind thinks of God as tightfisted and stingy. We don’t believe He is eager to give grace, but instead is reluctant to love sinners like us. We sometimes think that God has to be talked into, or coerced into showing us mercy.
Don’t miss what Paul is saying. He says that Christians have been redeemed and forgiven “according to” the riches of His grace. He does not say believers have been redeemed “out of” the riches of His grace. No! He says, according to His riches!
So what? What difference does a preposition make? The preposition makes all the difference in the world.
To illustrate the significance, William Hendriksen gives the following example. He imagines two very wealthy people. They were both asked to give to a good cause. In response, both gave out of their wealth. However, the first person donated a very small amount–– far less than had been expected of him. He merely gave “out of” his riches not “according to” them.
The second person gave a vast amount––much larger than was expected of him. He gave an amount that was proportionate to his riches. This man gave “according to” his riches not merely “out of” his riches. The second man was lavish in his giving.
This exemplifies the lavish posture God takes toward His people. God doesn’t just give us grace out of his riches; He drenches grace upon us according to His infinite storehouse of riches.
Eliminate any thought in your mind of a God who is stingy and unwilling to give love and mercy to His children. We have an extravagant Father in Heaven who spoils His children.
The Puritan pastor/ theologian John Owen addresses this common mindset and gives this encouragement:
Why then, this foolishness? Why are we afraid to have good thoughts of God? Is it too hard to think of God as good, gracious, tender, loving, and kind? I speak of saints. How easy we find it to think of God as hard, austere, severe, unable to be pleased and fierce, which are the very worst characteristics of men and therefore the most hated by God.”(John Owen, Communion with God, pg. 32)