We've seen how God the Father is gracious in all He is and does, and that has helped me see into the meaning of grace. But I also wonder, how does Jesus show and personify grace?
" For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Co. 8:9)
This verse is in a passage about giving financially to help others, but I think it applies in a broader way as well, as I think about what grace is in general.
What does this verse tell me about who Jesus is? First, it tells me that He was/is rich, that He has an abundance. Yet it also tells me that He is very kind and self-sacrificing, thinking of us more than Himself, because He gave up His riches to become poor for our sakes. It tells me He has a loving heart, and that He must think we humans are pretty important and special, since He was willing to give up so much in order to bless us! It also tells me that His heart is that He doesn't want me to be poor or lacking in any way, but that He wants me to be rich and abundantly provided for. He wants me to have more than enough. He even wants to give me His own richness, it would seem!
What does this verse tell me about what Jesus did? It tells me He gave up a lot for me, all His riches. It tells me that He became poor for me.
What does this verse tell me about why He did what He did? It tells me He did it so I, through His poverty, could become rich! And it tells me He did it out of GRACE. Grace motivated Him. Grace caused Him to do this!
So what does this verse tell me about the meaning of grace? Grace must be the love and kindness that would cause Christ to give up everything in order to bring me up from poverty to riches with Him! That shows me how great His love is for us!
I have heard that grace described as "love that stoops." I like that, and with the verse above in mind, I would even say it is "love that stoops and lifts us up". His love stooped down to where we were, but we weren't meant to stay down, no! It was all so He could lift us up to where He is - in a rich and abundant place! A place of blessing and plenty! A place of overflowing and being well off! So grace has to do with being given something really good, being put in a much better state than you were before.
Maybe you have heard Grace defined by the acronym, with one word for each letter - God's Riches At Christ's Expense. That really fits in well with our verse! And it points out another thing mentioned in our verse, which is how this blessing comes to us. How are we made rich, according to the verse? We are made rich at Christ's expense and by His work, His sacrifice of becoming poor for us. He has done a work to make it so.
What is our work and what do we do, according to the verse? This verse doesn't list anything that we 'do', except to be poor! We are just sitting there poor, that is all it says about us! Jesus is the One who did all the work to make us rich. He is the One who gave up everything and became poor, so that through His poverty we might become rich. Grace, then, must mean getting something you didn't have to work for. We get something Christ worked for!
So Christ has provided riches for us through what He has done. But what exactly did He do, and what exactly are the riches He provides? These things will come out as we dig into some other wonderful scriptures. And knowing all that will give us a fuller definition of grace!
Till next time,