Riches of Christ 4

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

In pondering over these verses it is possible to see something of the riches of having Christ Jesus. However, we must be careful and know that there is a distinction between seeing in some way that these things are factually true and then the ability to taste and know that these are true. There is the intellectual knowledge that something is true, but that is not the same thing as seeing the true beauty of Christ in these and being caught up in His beauty with them. There is also a selfish and self-centered way of thinking that I have riches in Christ, yet we must be caught up with Christ Himself to taste and see that these riches are real riches.

It is one thing to know that there is a doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone. Any person, believer or unbeliever, can see the propositions set out in the doctrine and in one sense know that doctrine. There is another sense in which a person can acknowledge and know that the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone is true as stated. However, that is still not the same thing as being justified by grace alone. In other words, or to put the matter plainly, it is not enough to know that there are riches untold in Christ just as it does my bank account no good to know that another person has millions or billions in his or her account. The intellectual knowledge of riches is not riches to me. The knowledge that there are riches in Christ does me or anyone else any good until Christ is the life of the soul.

The riches of His grace are not of saving benefit to those who do not have Christ. The riches of that grace for those who are redeemed and forgiven by Christ are not for those who are not redeemed and forgiven by Christ. It is Christ Himself who has the riches and is the riches. Sinners must be put in Christ and Christ must be in them in order for them to have Christ and His riches. This is to say once again, the riches of Christ have no saving or sanctifying benefit to sinners who do not have Christ. It will do them no good in eternity to know all about the riches of Christ and His grace when they are under the eternal wrath of God and are outside of Christ.

In order to make the point even plainer, the devil himself knows more theology than any saint on earth in terms of the intellectual part of it. The devil has no benefit to knowing about the riches of Christ since he can never partake of those riches of Christ. In John 8:44 Jesus, speaking of the Pharisees and others with them, told them that “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.” These were the religious elite of the day, the theologians of the day, and those who thought of themselves as holy. They knew a lot about the Bible and yet they missed the fact that the central message of the Bible is Christ. These men, while they were so esteemed as religious and holy, were at enmity with Christ.

“The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” is only found in the saints. The surpassing riches of His grace in Christ is only found in Christ. It is so deceptively easy for men and women to go about their daily lives living in an outwardly moral sense and perhaps in a very religious sense and that without knowing Christ. It is so easy for men and women to be caught up with the thought of having the riches of Christ and be total strangers to Christ. Yes, thinking upon the riches of Christ is wonderful, but having Christ in reality is something each person should seek the Lord for. We don’t have the riches of Christ because we are good people or religious people, we will only have the riches of Christ if God gives them to us by His grace alone. That grace is of greater worth than millions of worlds. Let us seek those riches asking God to glorify His grace in and through us.

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