Loving Christ and Making Him Known
By Marcelo Tolopilo
God’s Grace is Exhaustive
We must first understand then that God’s grace removes all our iniquities, i.e., it is exhaustive. God doesn’t forgive as men do, reluctantly, grudgingly, imperfectly, partially. God doesn’t merely sweep our sins under some celestial rug, or wipe away the greater part of our iniquity leaving behind a dull, but unmistakable impression of moral failure on our record. God doesn’t hold back some of His forgiveness because of our propensity to grieve Him.
No indeed, God expunges our guilt completely so as to leave no trace of it. That’s the miracle of grace! Our guilt is not simply commuted, or forgiven, leaving the dismissed offense on our record. No, by God’s grace we are pronounced “Not guilty!”, innocent of the offense before the divine Judge. To put it another way, God literally removes our sin so far from us that it is as though we had never committed it. That’s the kind of forgiveness God offers and practices, and that’s why in Psalm 103:8-14 David celebrates,
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”
That is how comprehensive God’s pardon is; He removes our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west” which is an infinite distance! And because the Lord in His beneficent compassion is so sweeping with His forgiveness, when we repent we are given the exhilarating gift of restored fellowship because our past failure is not held against us.
God’s Grace is Inexhaustible
Still, some of you may wonder, “Can God really restore me?” Perhaps you have failed magnanimously, and you are asking, “But Marcelo, you don’t know how far I’ve fallen. I’ve failed Him so often even after coming to faith in Christ. I think I may have used up my quota of grace. Can God really restore me?” The answer to that question, my friend, is a clear and resounding, “Yes!” God’s grace reaches to the deepest, darkest pit, retrieves and restores all truly repentant sinners because God’s grace never taps out.
God’s favor in our lives is not only exhaustive, but inexhaustible. When I came to faith in Christ, when God poured out His grace upon me and forgave me of all my iniquity, there wasn’t a temporary scarcity of grace leaving precious little available for you. The “grace meter” did not dip perilously low. There wasn’t a grace “brown-out” in heaven.
When I wrestle with my sins now and my thirsty, listless soul guzzles from the reviving tributaries of grace ~ God’s word, prayer, fellowship with God and His people, the comforting and reviving ministry of His Holy Spirit ~ heaven does not need to tap into grace reserves because of my great need (though those of you who know me and love me may beg to differ!) The fact of the matter is, God’s grace comes from the boundless depths of His divine wealth, His very character. There is never a shortage of God’s grace because there is never any deficiency in God, and so it is given to us in ceaseless torrents, without hesitation, interruption, or occlusion.
In Ephesians 1:7, 8 we learn that God’s grace for our pardon flows from the depths of His infinite riches which He pours out upon us in opulent fashion. Paul writes, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us“ (emphasis added). God’s wealth of grace is incalculable, and He gives us grace in direct proportion to His divine supply.
Paul tells us this divine favor is a “grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2), that we receive in “abundance” (Romans 5:17), indeed that is “lavished” upon us (Ephesians 1:8), which is “surpassing” in us (2 Corinthians 9:14, Ephesians 2:7) under whose canopy we live (Romans 6:14,15), and which continually abounds to us (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Paul is essentially saying in these and other passages that believers live in an atmosphere of divine grace circumscribed above, below, on every side, and all around in unfailing, inexhaustible bountifulness. The bottom line is this, God’s grace is never outmatched or outstripped by our sins, and when we repent of our sundry failures, He faithfully removes our guilt and restores us to fellowship with Him (1 John 1:9).
Since this is true, the Lord Jesus always extends His welcoming arms to the often wayward, but repentant, adopted sons of God. I want you to remember that, when you fail and your weary soul finds itself longing for the sweet fellowship of our dear Lord Jesus. If we repent, there is no sin that can keep us from His joyful presence. Do you hear His voice calling you even at this moment? Confess your sin to Him and relish in His gracious embrace!