God?  Lavish?  (Ephesians 1:7b – 8)

“He is so rich in his kindness towards us that He lavished ( poured out, showered, abounded, super abounded)  towards us in all wisdom and prudence (intelligence, understanding and insight)” (Ephesians 1:7b-8 My own translation). 006 Ephesus  Get hold of the concept.  God has been and is being lavish.  Being lavish is just His nature. He cannot be anything else apart from what He is, i.e. lavish.  As an adjective, “lavish,” in this context could mean luxurious or elaborate; perhaps affluent and even sumptuous is appropriate. Other words that one could use are costly, opulent, splendid, or regal.  As a verb it plainly means that something has been given and/or somebody has been endowed in a profoundly generous measure or with extravagant volume with a gift of whatever nature. When God “lavishes” grace upon us we need to assimilate the fact that He has deluged upon us freely and unstintingly an enormous heap of blessing and strength.  When one trusts Christ it is like a Tsunami of goodness rushing in and flooding our lives.  It is a Krakatoa type volcanic explosion of love and blessing that has erupted from the very heart of God impacting on all that a person has or is.  God has lavished His practical and tangible love upon us.  It’s no wonder Jesus referred to it as th “Gospel.” When used in secular historical documents the word means “The almost too good to be true message.”   It has to be said that whatever it is that Paul is struggling to explain to us in Ephesians 1, it is something that God has lavishly shovelled into our lives in a manner that suggests that it is randomly and extravagantly generous. It is so huge and has such a broad impact on people that Paul has to invent a new set of adjectives and nouns to paint the picture clearly.  It is so excessive in its measure I could even imagine the legitimacy of declaring that it is God’s random acts of lavish kindness, inasmuch as He has poured it out in the same plentiful generosity on literally anybody who believes. Not that God does anything at all that is random, but what He has given us in Christ is so full, voluptuous and dynamic and can be received by absolutely anybody who believes the gospel, that to us humans it looks as if it is totally random. I, personally have met men who were killers, murderers and hatefully violent in their earlier lives, and yet, when I met them and spent time with them they were the gentlest and deeply Godly people. Bank robbers and muggers turned to Christ are glorious trophies of the results of God’s lavish expression of lgracious kindness.   God is lavish in His love towards us.  In Greek it is “perisseuo.”  “Peri,” as in “periscope,” means all around and comprehensive.  Perisseuo means to exceed all limitations, to go far beyond what anybody would or could expect.  That is God for you!   And, as if this was not enough, intense power is added to this idea of God being lavish in the way He deals with us and saves us, by the added data that informs us that God intelligently and wisely thought the whole thing through, and with His infinite understanding and prudence decided to lavishly give.  What we have in Christ is truly beyond what we could reasonably expect and well beyond normal comprehension of what is reasonable behaviour.  I have in my life heard several songs, read one or two books and heard quite a few sermons entitled, “Love Beyond Reason.”  That is exactly what we are talking about here.  However, Paul is striving to put a system of reason, a body of thought and rationale behind his explanation of the fact that God has come looking for lost humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. It would seem – and this is the logic of scripture – that the worse we became the more lavish were His attempts to win us.   I know all these excessive superlatives sounds like pink and fluffy poetry, like majestically noble sentiments that could never be practically implemented or carried through, but I swear to anybody reading these lines that I am utterly understating the rock hard truth. This thing is bigger and better than any human mind has ever got their head around. It’s all about the character of God. The divine character in the eyes of the unbeliever is dull, boring and apathetic about most things. But that is a far removed from the truth as the east is from the west.   God made this planet in the midst of a universe with billions and billions of stars. I would say that is lavish. Wouldn’t you? In the entire expanse of earth, He made two people to live on it. Now if any reader does not consider that extravagantly lavish we need to sit down together and come to some agreement about the definition of language and the meaning of words. God promised Abraham that the entire planet would be blessed because of him. Is that lavish, or what?!  Joseph got up one day in a prison that he had been in for many years, and that night, before he went to bed he was the second most powerful man in the world. Surely that meets anybodies criteria for a lavish divine blessing.   There are instances and examples of God’s lavish attitude of giving right throughout the Bible. It is for the assurance of faith and the understanding of the believer that Paul tells us how lavish Heavenly Father is towards all men, but especially those that believe the gospel, Believing the gospel gives us access to more grace. How gloriously lavish is that!

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