We live in a time when “self-worth” and “self-image” are major concerns. And there are many “Christian” books telling us how to find our worth. However, our true worth is found in the value God in Christ has placed upon us. It is what he has done (and who he is as the One who has done it) that gives us a real sense of value. For us, the Father’s Son was willing to actually become one of us. He took the form of a servant making himself nothing. He became poor that we might become rich in him. He endured the cross of shame that we might appear with him in glory. For us, he became sin that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Furthermore, he gave himself to all this for the joy that was set before him of having us with him in God.
Truly, Jesus values us all so very much. He tells us that he won’t allow himself to lose any one of us. Even though all the powers of the world combine to take us out of his hand he will hold onto us in love. Yes, “Christ parted with everything for us; but he will never part with us” (Sinclair Ferguson).
Only when considering Jesus’ value of us do we find our own true worth. All false self-worth is dissolved in the presence of his supreme valuation. And this, in turn, leads to the value we place on Jesus. We value him above all counting everything as loss in order that we might gain Christ and be found in him.
The self-giving of God always moves from the Father through the Son and in the Spirit towards us. We respond to God’s grace through faith, but even this arises from the movement of Grace. For our response of faith moves from our hearts in the Spirit through Jesus to his Father. Yes, even our faith is the gift of God. From both sides of the relation, Triune Grace acts. This shatters any idea of religious self-effort.
This same double movement of Grace continues throughout our whole lives. For the God of Grace who encounters us in Jesus is now personally present bringing us into personal transformation through life in the Spirit. Jesus gave himself for us once and for all and now, in the Spirit, he continually gives himself to us in order to live out his own life in and through us. So now I no longer live but Christ lives in me and the life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
We easily slip into seeing grace as “something” we need in order to live the Christian life. So we must continually acquire grace in order to live well as Jesus followers. If we receive grace we will perform better. We really need to see that Grace isn’t a commodity for us to make use of in our own lives. Grace is God continually giving himself to us through Jesus and the Spirit setting us in a completely new world as new humanity.
We sometimes talk about Grace as if it were “something” that God gives to us. T F Torrance reminds us that Grace is never a quality transferred to us so that it becomes our “private possession”. Grace cannot be thought of apart from God himself. For Grace is simply God giving HIMSELF to us through Jesus in the Spirit. Concerning Jesus, John says, “We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The fullness of grace that John saw now comes to us in union with Jesus. Through the Spirit, the Father gives us to Jesus and gives Jesus to us. We are joined to Jesus so that we are in him and he is in us. And now “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” Everything you ever lack is found in him; all you will ever need is given to you in him. For the Father has “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”
Jesus is just what we need, and he is all that we need: Are you dead? Christ is life. Are you weak? Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Are you crushed under the sense of guilt and condemnation? Christ is our righteousness. Are you troubled? Christ is our peace. From beginning to end, therefore, Grace is all about Jesus. When he fills the horizon of our vision, we find ourselves drawn to him, embraced by him and enjoying God with him.