A DEVOTED PERSON REV. 1:4
GOD THE SOVEREIGN grace and peace, from Him, which is,
and which was, and which is to come;
The phrase “grace from Him, which is, and which was and which is to come” appears to be awkward, or is it? Is God relevant? When we are facing crisis, where is God? Is God appropriate? Is God applicable? Is it wrong to question God?
The Psalmist questioned God over and over.
Psalms 10:1 why do You stand so far away, Lord?
Psalms 44:24 why do You hide Your face and forget our affliction and our oppression?
Psalms 74:1 O God, why have You cast us off forever?
Psalms 77:9 Has God forgotten to be gracious, has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?
We may feel insignificant in ourselves. That was the problem Moses felt. He was taking care of sheep in an obscure desert and a bush starts burning in the middle of nowhere. The strange thing is the combustion in the bush doesn’t consume the bush.
When he stops to observe the burning bush, God talks to him and tells Him to do something unimaginable and impossible. He is given an amazing task of releasing over a million slaves from a tyrant who ruled as a dictator of a massive empire.
God gave Moses a promise when he dispatched him on this impossible assignment. Moses stressed that he felt like he was really just nobody. He says, I feel like I’m unimportant and insignificant. This isn’t an uncommon feeling. Most of us feel small as far a making an impact in history. But to be given what appears to be an unreasonable task could really stir our sense of puniness into view. In Exodus 3:11 he asks, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh?
God answers Moses objection with an interesting statement. Certainly I will be with you. Exodus 3:12
Having God’s presence is a very special privilege. The average person wouldn’t accept our sanity if we claimed God was walking around with us. Moses now asks: what am I expected to say about Your name? This appears to be a way of questioning God’s identity. God says: “I am that I am” Now, this name God gives, actually seems odder then making claims that God always walks with us.
God’s identity disclosure in His name is to help Moses in his identity crisis. There’s no excuse to feel insignificant now. God is saying: I am the one who is, was and is to come. I am God, who is unchanging. I’m the One who has always existed. I am the self-existent one, dependent on no one else. Everyone and everything depends on Him for their being. He is the Eternal God who has no beginning and no ending, who is independent of all. It’s almost as if God is saying; do you think you, or anyone else, can challenge my existence and my all-powerful infinite abilities.
We may hoot around challenged in our own existence. And we all live moment-by-moment by God’s mercy. But to have grace and peace from the one “who is” is exceptional.
Ephesians 1:7 says: this grace is according to the riches of God’s grace.
John D. Rockefeller was the richest man in the world during the early 1900s, the richest man America had ever produced. If Rockefeller wished to give of his riches there were two ways he could achieve this. He could do it according to his riches, or from his riches. History records that, as a great giver the best he contributed was always to give from his riches.
The most famous picture of Rockefeller shows him as a wizened old man, dressed in a top hat and cut-away coat giving a dime to some little ragamuffin. Rockefeller reportedly did this again and again for the press to be respectfully photographed. One wonders how many boys were truly set on the road to wealth and moral excellence by a wonderful gift from Rockefeller’s fortune.
But think what it would have been like had he given according to his riches. If he had done that, he would have perhaps given a grand home, say the famous Greystone Kykiut (Rockefeller estate on the Hudson) or his hamlet in Pocantico Hills, and for the living room a Gilbert Stuart or George Washington, a Rodin for the lawn, and a forest, and a Duisenberg for the carriage house.
When God gives “in accordance with the riches of His grace” He gives from his unlimited treasure house. Grace is unmerited favor “an overflowing abundance of unmerited love, inexhaustible in God and freely accessible through Christ,” Charles Hodge.
Our God is consistent, reliable, steady and dependable. He’s never unswerving, never unfailing. He is unshakable and unwavering. He is the God who is, who was and who is to come, which means His grace and peace is constant and stable.
We not only live based on His amazing grace but we can come right up to His throne of grace and like a bush that isn’t consumed by fire, we can stand, next to God in our weak, dependent, fragile condition.
Grace is unearned and undeserved. We can approach a throne of grace with all our needs and we can come with boldness. To push into God’s presence, right into His throne room with every need. This is an incredible invitation.
The Greek-English Lexicon defines boldly as a use of speech that conceals nothing and passes over nothing. Coming boldly is being outspoken, frank, and plain. We don’t have to dilly-dally around with God. We can be honest and straightforward with Him. He is always consistent, always the same yesterday, today and forever. He is even, accepting of every need and His storehouse of grace and mercy are exhaustless, measureless, limitless and endless.
Claims, about God being self-existent, and the source of our existence, right down to our every breath and micro-detail is not a popular position. The rampant thing is to accuse God for all that is malfunctioning and broken in our world. The custom is to blame God for every fault and flop in history. Actually the things that have traumatized humanity over the centuries are a drop in the bucket to what is about to be unleashed in this Revelation of Christ.
In Tim Keller’s book, The Reason For God, its stated:
“Just because we can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen, doesn’t mean there can’t be one”.
Where is our faith? Is our faith in our brain? Is our confidence in our cognitive abilities? Is it in someone else’s thoughts? Is our faith in America, liberal or conservative politics, our educational system? Or is our faith in the God who is, was and is to come?
C.S. Lewis initially rejected God’s existence because of what he felt was the cruelty of life. Then Lewis realized that suffering proved God’s existence. Those who refuse God’s existence exalt the evolutionary process, which depends on the harmony of convergence through the emergence of decay.
Evolution depends on suffering and death. You can’t be outraged with injustice if a true source of justice is non-existent.
God is our only source of life through His grace and peace by the forgiveness of sins through Jesus, and it is all according to the riches of his grace.