/ Gentle Reformation

A Brief Reflection on Ephesians 2:7

"4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."

One of the astonishing things to be observed in Ephesians 2:7 is its future scope. Our being raised and seated with Christ in the heavenly places is designed to show forth the immeasurable riches of God's grace. But note when this will be manifested. Paul declares that this will occur “in the coming ages.”

What is it about the riches, nay, the immeasurable riches of God's grace that will be more clearly manifested in the future? Hasn't such grace already been made plain?

It no doubt has. So in what way will it be made to shine more brightly?

Perhaps this is simply a matter of our more adequately apprehending its depths. Maybe once we are transformed in the twinkling of an eye, and once we behold those realities that cause Seraphim to cover their faces and cry, “Holy, Holy Holy,” we will better understand the exceeding awesomeness of grace. Tasting heavenly fruits and beholding God will no doubt sharpen our focus and cause our hearts to overflow.

One cannot help but wonder, however, if there isn't more at play here. From the standpoint of human history (in all its totality), God's grace has been increasing in clarity, being sharpened with example after example and revelation after revelation. This is to say that Noah surely understood grace more clearly after the flood. And with the advent of Christ, grace blossomed into a flower of staggering beauty.

The deep suspicion here is that the eternal state will not be some kind of static existence of fully achieved insight. Once we pass to the other side, the story will continue to unfold. New vistas of insight and wonder will ever be rolling over us like successive waves, thereby heightening the grandeur of grace.

Here the choice of word “riches” takes on special meaning. As each new, eternal blessing is unveiled in the continuing story of God's glory, our sense of the wealth of grace will continue to multiply, thereby magnifying our joy, forever and ever. It will cause us to abound in happiness, knowing more and more the kindness of Christ (vs. 7).

How this will be manifested throughout the coming ages, one cannot say. As with most gifts, they come at special times. Only then are they unwrapped and seen. But by faith we can see them from afar, knowing the kindness and grace of Christ now, even in the midst of a dark and cursed world.

Very good things await us.