“Grace, on the other hand, means that God is pursuing you. That God forgives you. That God sanctifies you. When you are apathetic toward God, He is never apathetic toward you. When you don’t desire to pray and talk to God, He never grows tired of talking to you. When you forget to read your Bible and listen to God, He is always listening to you. Grace means that your spirituality is upheld by God’s stubborn enjoyment of you.”
– Preston Sprinkle, Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us, p. 76, emphasis mine –
There are some things in life that I can’t explain.
I cannot explain God.
When I read 2 Corinthians 9:8, my mind will not wrap around the verse. I hold it like I’d hold a sparkling diamond. It’s glorious in its shimmer. It’s costly beyond belief. It’s beautiful. And I have no idea just how much it is worth.
In this passage, Paul is speaking to the willing and repentant Christians in Corinth. He’s urging them to follow through on their previous promise to assist struggling Christians in other cities. After he explains the virtue of giving from a cheerful heart, he makes this powerful statement:
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8, NKJV).
Every time I read this, this verse stops me cold. What kind of promise is this? What kind of love and glory is this? I don’t understand. This is extravagant. This is more grace than I deserve.
~ Ability ~
“And God is able….”
Wow. Think about that for a minute. God. Is. Able.
This God of ours can do ANYTHING. He is not held back. He is not bound by our misconceptions, limited perspective, or fears. He is God. He is Able.
He is “able to make all grace abound toward you…”
God is capable. What, then, holds us back?
~ Always ~
“…always having all sufficiency…”
Always? Always? From childhood, we’re taught to be suspicious of words like “always” and “never.” But when it comes to our Heavenly Father, His unchanging nature is our anchor. He is always the same. Always steady. Always love. Always justice. This is the kind of always that we must believe in.
He promises eternal sufficiency. Always: not sometimes, not occasionally, not every other day. His supply of grace is bottomless. Oh, Lord, give us this grace of Yours. Give us hearts to ask for this grace every day! I know You will never run out of it–but I run dry every moment. Fill me with your always-ready strength.
~ All ~
This single verse blows me away every time. One thing in particular stands out: one little verse–only 28 words long–uses the word “all” THREE times! Three!
God has His own perfect reasons for how He breathed His inspired words into Paul in just this way. But I like to think of it this way: God knows that I am forgetful. No sooner do I discover His glory than I forget my glimpse of Him. James 1:23-24 says, “Those who hear but don’t do the word are like those who look at their faces in a mirror. They look at themselves, walk away, and immediately forget what they were like” (CEB). I’m just like this. I see, and then I immediately forget God’s staggering greatness. As song writer Andrew Peterson writes:
“It’s easy to not have the heart to remember
That I am a priest and a prince
In the Kingdom of God”
– “Fool with a Fancy Guitar” –
I think that is why God directed Paul to write “all” three times in this small verse. It is there so it can ring true in my soul.
All. All. All.
I have no excuse to think that God is neglecting any of my needs. I have been equipped with absolutely everything necessary for my life to glorify Him. His promise is more than “some,” “nearly,” or “most.” He offers all.
~ Abundance ~
The title of this post is “A Grace of Superlatives.” In English grammar, superlatives are words that describe something as above all others: best, smartest, loveliest, richest, most wonderful. These are superlatives.
Just like the superlatives of our language, Paul lavishes this kind of overflowing terminology on the Corinthians, using the words “all,” “always,” “abundance,” and “every.”
This is who our God is. He doesn’t half-do things. He doesn’t give half a gift, or just enough grace for us to limp along.
He pours blessings. He lavishes riches. He showers with love. He writes us a book full of Him, so brimming with His own power and extravagant nature that our language bulges at the seams to try to convey even a portion of His glory.
I just wrote a blog post about how unable I am to write a blog post that sufficiently captures this grace.
I don’t get it.
All I know is that when I read this verse, I am staggered by a God who saw the filthiness of my soul and yet chose to make me His. I am amazed by the God who knows my forgetful, wandering heart and still calls me upward, closer to Him. I am humbled and awed by a God who lavishes me with grace and sufficiency and unimaginable reserves of strength–and I have barely tasted a drop of His supply.
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
– Hebrews 7:25, NKJV –
This is a grace of superlatives. This is a grace that can get me through any dark day, or joyous night I could ever have. This is a grace that is more than enough for you.
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
– Ephesians 3:14-21, NKJV –