Unbounded Grace

January 12, 2017
George T. Ferrier

Each year on March 14, a number of scientists celebrate Pi Day. Pi (π), the mathematical constant describing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, is commonly rounded to 3.14, though its random digits seemingly go on without end. Using dedicated computers, mathematicians have lately extended Pi’s known digits to 13.3 trillion decimal places. This reminds us of our infinite God. Through the study of His Word, we know Him more, yet we will never fully comprehend Him, His character, or His attributes. Let us consider the matchless grace of the eternal God.

The Riches of Unbounded Grace

When He redeemed us, Christ freed us from slavery, His limitless grace binding us to His infinite worth. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).  Let us consider three different Greek words for redemption.

In Paul’s time, a slave was redeemed or bought (Agorazo) at the slave market. Therefore, as Paul exhorted the Corinthians to glorify Christ in their bodies, he reminded them that Christ purchased them at His own expense—a costly grace. Indwelled by the Holy Spirit, they now belonged to Him (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

The second word, Exagorazo, declares that the believer has been taken off the market forever—an enduring grace. When Christ redeemed us from the law’s curse (Gal. 3:13) forever, He removed our condemnation. Christ will never sell or disown us, having stamped “not for sale” on our very being. Bound to Him, our eternal security rests with Him.

The third word, Apolutrosis, decrees that He has set us free (Eph. 1:7)—an altruistic grace. Although He released us from the law’s demands (Gal. 5:1) and sin’s power (Rom. 6:7, 14), and He delivered us from the world’s influence (Gal. 1:4) and the devil’s authority (Col. 1:13-14), Christ does not compel us to serve Him. He desires loving bond-servants, disciples who follow Him with unshackled hearts.  When believers unreservedly yield to Christ, they lead overcoming lives through His empowering grace (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When Christ forgives us, he unbinds us from our sins by His pardoning grace. Having paid our sin’s debts at Calvary, Christ takes away our sins and remembers them no more when we believe on Him.  In the Law on the Day of Atonement, it was only after the slain goat’s blood was applied that the High Priest came out and confessed the people’s sins over the living scapegoat. Similarly, it was through Calvary that forgiveness could be offered to take away sins.

His forgiveness also removes our guilt—an accepting grace. It is often difficult for believers to forget past sins, but Christ wants us to know that we have received full and complete forgiveness. For Christ’s sake the Father will not remember forgiven sins, and He receives us as He receives His Son (Philemon 17). We are accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6).

The Eternal Demonstration of Unbounded Grace

Throughout the eternal ages, God will demonstrate His incalculable, multiplying, unbounded grace in captivating ways that are infinitely fascinating and compelling. We read, “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

Forever exploring the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8), we shall never exhaust them. We shall always anticipate new, rewarding expressions of His grace. As we discover what it means to be Christ’s co-heirs, we will gain an expanding appreciation of the richness inherent in our glorification. The Lord will instruct us about Calvary’s immense cost to both the Father and the Son, imparting a growing knowledge of the boundless chasm between our eternal riches and past poverty (2 Cor. 8:9).  Forever we shall see the Lamb, freshly slain. With thankful hearts we will respond by praising the glory of His grace.

Thy way, O God! Is in the sea; Thy paths I cannot trace,
Nor comprehend the mystery, Of Thine unbounded grace.
With rapture I shall then survey, Thy providence and grace,
And spend an everlasting day, In wonder, love, and praise.
– John Fawcett (1782)