“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people (quoting Psalm 68:18).” 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) Ephesians 4.7-10
John Wesley speaks about one grace but different administrations of that grace. The grace given to us, without our knowledge or reception, is prevenient grace. The grace that “comes before” we make a decision to follow Christ. It’s the grace enabling us to say yes to Jesus. Part of this giving of grace is also the giving of spiritual gifts for the church which Paul mentions in the verses following. And He who went up into heaven also came to earth as a human to save humanity.
Each of us have been given grace – unmerited favor with God. Why would God do this? Why would he care about humanity? Why would he be faithful to previous generations, King David, for example, who he revealed this grace in Psalm 68.18. The prediction about the Messiah who would “ascend on high,” take those who are in captivity with him, and give gifts to his people. Why would God care about us?
God first cared about the Hebrew nation. This nation, who is still waiting on the coming Messiah, were his chosen people. That is, until God sent Jesus who made a way for all people to come to faith — Jews and Gentiles alike. God made his grace accessible to all who might believe. And by believing, we would receive grace upon grace.
But the gift can is in effectual unless it is received and opened. The Jews who are still waiting on Messiah must only turn and see the truth that he is the Son of God. And for the rest of us, welcoming Christ into our lives by faith is how we will experience the fullness of all God has in store for humanity.
Imagine a God who would love people so richly that he would allow the death of his own son that all of humanity might be saved. That God is among us and his name is Jesus.
“O Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for grace upon grace that has been bestowed upon all people. Lead us into a loving relationship with you. Help us know the truth of your love by the power of your Holy Spirit. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen