The Riches of His Grace (continued)
So, if you at any time would care to look onto your New Testament with that word "riches" in hand, you will see how it is connected with different things, because the riches are many-sided, as seen in ...
"The riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7)
"The riches of His glory" (Ephesians 3:16)
"The riches of His Inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:18)
"The riches of the full assurance of understanding" (Colossians 2:2)
I do not know how far the Lord will lead us in this, but we can begin where the riches begin. Therefore we have to begin with "the riches of His grace."
There is another word linked with that phrase, "the riches of His grace." It is "the riches of His goodness." The apostle asks, "Despisest thou the riches of His goodness...?" (Romans 2:4). That word of scripture will always be beyond us. We may as well settle it now and throw up our hands in utter despair right at the beginning. You and I are never going to fathom that depth nor comprehend that fullness nor understand that grace. I do not hope for a moment to be able to plumb the depth of that word; that is why we can only just dip into these depths - "the riches of his grace" and "the riches of His goodness."
We have a very hackneyed way of defining grace. It has been put into a phrase, and we do not get very much further than that phrase. If we ask, "What is the meaning of grace?" the traditional answer is: "Grace is unmerited favor." Yes, it is that, it is unmerited favor. That very definition does introduce us to the basic character of grace, but that is a weak definition. Yes, it is "unmerited favor," and, yes, thank God for that. But what do you mean by that? Just this - you have no merit, and God just comes to you because you have no merit. Nothing can merit grace.
Now, dear friends, I want to say to you, that grace is more than unmerited favor. First, on our side, it is worse than that because grace does not only come to where there is no merit, but grace also comes where there is a great deal of demerit, demerit. You can see that demerit is stronger than no merit. No merit may be negative, but demerit is positive. It is everything that is not only without merit but of the nature and character of that which is perfect demerit. You and I are not only without worthiness, but also you and I are worse than that. We are positively everything that we should NOT be!
(continued with # 3)