“In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
God has” seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (v. 6) ”in order that in the coming ages…”
God’s purposes in seating us with Him are now revealed. It is firstly about the future.
God looks at the really, really long term outcome. From before the beginning of time He purposed to create a race of people capable of responding to His love, having first tasted the reality and consequence of sin.
The goal of this plan is expressed in the future, “in the coming ages.” The word “ages” here is the word which we derive aeon. it is a long period of time, a multi-generational period. When you are in the middle of it, it seems like it is all you have ever known, the only way things have ever been or ever will be.
There have been several such ages in history. One of them began with the death and resurrection of Jesus. It will end when Jesus returns for his church, and the new heavens and earth of Revelation are instituted.
This present age will come to an end. Nobody knows the day or the hour, except the Father. From Paul's perspective, writing in the first century, that time was an aeon away. For us it might still be a long time away.
In the coming ages God will show the incomparable riches of his grace.
This phrase makes me think of another phrase,”trophy of grace.” Every born again follower of Jesus is a trophy, a prize won for God by his grace through the death of Christ.
We are in God’s trophy room or His treasure house as signs of His great victory in Christ. Often we don't feel like we are rating very highly on the Christian league table. It doesn't matter; the fact that we persevere in our walk of faith with Christ makes us his treasures.
Who is God showing the riches of his grace to?
Firstly, He is showing off to the rest of humanity what he has done for them in Christ. For as long as we live faithfully, our words and actions serve as an ongoing testimony of God's rich grace. The Holy Spirit is constantly nudging people to see Christ in us.
On the Day of Judgement, we will each be rolled out as a testimony to God's great love , both to those who are saved and to those who are unsaved alike.
To the saved, we will be an example of the same grace that they experienced. I used to think that Judgement Day was about God revealing all my secret and shameful sins, but now I see it as a day when God brags about all his beloved children, and his grace being on show to the universe.
To the unsaved, we will be the end of all excuses. If God could save me from my messed up life, and thousands of others who had all kinds of abuse, violence, and neglect to overcome, then there is no excuse for anyone to reject him.
Secondly, God wants to show off his grace to all the heavenly beings -- the angels and seraphim , cherubim and living creatures. “These people, billions of them, were born in sin yet were saved by my love.” The miracle of salvation is something that angels have never experienced.
Finally, God wants to show off his great grace to satan, the great enemy. Satan rebelled because he wanted to be God, and he has projected that desire onto people ever since. Every believer is a testament against the deception of satan.
God desires to show the incomparable or immeasurable riches of His grace. God's grace cannot be measured or compared to anything else.
When God was showing Abraham the destiny that God had for him, He used analogies such as the grains of sand on the seashore and the stars in the sky.
In our age we have become used to the huge numbers that scientists come up with. We know that the universe is bigger than Abraham could see. But God's grace is greater still.
If you had all the gold in the world, all the mansions, all the privately-owned islands, all the cattle and sheep, it is just a fraction of God's grace.
The incomparable riches of God's grace.
His grace never gives up and never runs out. We can't fly far enough to escape it; all we can do is close ourselves off from it.
Of course, the great tragedy is that so many people prefer to block out the grace of God rather than humble themselves to admit that they need it. The limitation is not in God, but in people.
God's grace is expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Jesus did not have to die for us. He chose to do that out of love for us. You could describe that as an act of kindness.
We tend to think of kindness as a desire to give someone a treat or a gift for no particular reason other than we want to do it for that person. We might buy flowers for someone going through a hard time, forgive a small debt, buy dinner for someone.
Kindness is motivated by love, a tangible expression of love.
Our idea of kindness just fades into insignificance when compared to that of Christ.
He died for us. He received no personal benefit from the transaction except for the joy of our response. This is perfect kindness.
The reason why we are now seated in heavenly places is the kindness of Christ. He bore the brunt of our sin and our rebellion against God. He paid the price of our redemption.
He saw a need we could not fulfil ourselves, and rather than seeing us die, He died for us. The innocent died and the guilty ones were set free.
Every hope that we have for eternity is in Christ.
Key points in this verse:
God's plan extends to the coming ages
This present age will come to an end, but God is looking to the future ages
We are both the riches of God's grace and the recipients of the riches of His grace
God wants to brag about his children, showing us off as trophies of grace
God's grace never fails and never runs out
We are saved by the ultimate kindness of Christ