[Papercut Press] 2004-11-30 - Accommodated

Ephesians 1:(7), 8, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, for forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight."

We hit here on verse eight of this part of the Word of God. It is a short verse, and we will not spend a lot of time on it. However, there is much here to ponder. Let us first start with the three things Paul Bayne thinks we should get out of this verse. I am going to be a little academic at the start, and then get real (I hope) practical. Here is what Bayne says:

  1. God gives pardon of sin to none to whom He has not first given wisdom and understanding.
  2. True wisdom and understanding are gifts of God's grace in Christ Jesus.
  3. God gives wisdom and understanding plentifully to us whose sins He forgives.

I updated the English with Bayne's comments this time, and I am going to start by wondering if He got the content of this verse right. (I am wondering, and not claiming to say I have it right.) There are two ways to look at this verse. One is to say that God has, in wisdom and insight, through Christ, lavished upon us His grace and mercy, and that is what I think that the text is saying. The other is to say that God has lavished upon us wisdom and insight, which I think is true, but this is not the teaching of this verse (It just isn't in this verse-sorry, Bayne).

Bayne takes the second view (He leaves Christ out of the picture). Grace and wisdom are not in our capacities, but in Grace. Theologically we can say that what Bayne says is true. We must have both wisdom and insight/understanding in order to understand our need for grace, and that is certainly imputed by the Lord. So there is an element that we can say that God has given us wisdom and understanding. But I don't think that is what the verse here is teaching based on the context of the passage. So I am going to take issue with Bayne here, and suggest that he has given more ability to the rational capacities of fallen man than should be given. This was something that was beginning in his era. It was called rationalism, and it is part of what destroyed Orthodoxy in the 17th century.

(I have to say that were I differ with Bayne is point one, not the others, but point one makes no sense in light of the latter two.) We have to remember that all of God's revelation to us is accommodated revelation. God is God, and we are simply the creation. A flower is also God's creation, but as rational beings with a soul, we have something a flower does not, and that is that we are made in the image of God. This is where I think Bayne drops the ball in his insights. The image of God we have is hurt by our fall into sin, and is not perfect. This makes us unrational. We are sinners.

I believe that what we see in this verse is that wisdom and insight/understanding comes from God, and when I remember that God's revelation is accommodated to us (to consider our shortcomings) I think that this verse teaches that wisdom and insight to believe the above verses (1-7) comes from God. It is His wisdom and insight that causes us to see these things as true.

This is a blow-your-mind kind of verse, and we will only spend this week on it. We must rely on God's wisdom and insight for our salvation, but where else can we go? Have you never thought about wounded we are by sin? We can't figure this out ourselves. We are sinners, and the only place to turn is to Christ. We come for forgiveness, rest in His grace, and hope for His return. Life is the by-time as we have breath, we are to seek to spread His message of grace and forgiveness. This might seem hard-core, and I hope it does, because God's greatest servants have been just that!

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com