Wherein he has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
I. From the words before us, the first observation we would make is THAT THE GRACE OF GOD IN REDEMPTION IS ABUNDANT GRACE — "Wherein He hath abounded toward us." The term here used corresponds exactly with the idea expressed by the previous phrase, "the riches of His grace." God is "rich in mercy" and "great in love." By the abundant grace of God, and by that alone, are sinners saved. Riches or wealth is a relative thing, having relation to the individual's actual wants and necessities, amid which he is placed. It is, in fact, that which is over and above, or which superabounds or overflows, after all actual wants have been supplied. From the greatness of the sacrifice which the grace of God made in order to our redemption, even the sacrifice of His own Son, we obtain a grand demonstration of the abundance of that grace, or its overflowing riches. In its original exercise — within the scope of those demands on its treasures which unsullied excellence makes — there is no need for any such sacrifice, but, on the contrary, it seems nothing but natural and every way easy and cheap, so to speak, for God to love and bless the lovely and the perfect. But, as it often happens that the prodigal son in a family costs his parents far more that all the rest in reclaiming him to the ways of decency and propriety, which they never forsook, and the strength of the parental love is tried and proved not so much by the ordinary exercise of it to the decent and well-ordered children of the household, as by its measures of an extraordinary kind in such an exceptional case as that referred to; so, in the redemption of lost sinners, we behold not merely grace, but riches of grace, in the amazing length to which it has gone, to reclaim the wanderers and bring them back to glory. In this, He hath surely given proof of an abundant grace, which is nowhere else to be met with in His vast dominions.
II. In the second place our text speaks of THE REVELATION OR MANIFESTATION OF THIS ABUNDANT GRACE IN AND THROUGH THE GOSPEL — "Abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known unto us the mystery of His will." These words refer, in general, to the outward revelation of His grace which God hath made in the gospel, and also to the inward discovery or apprehension of that grace which God effects in the minds and hearts of believers.
1. How true is it that without an external and positive revelation man could never have attained to any certain or reliable knowledge of God as the Redeemer and Saviour of guilty man! At best the idea of such a God could only have been conjectural, leaving the mind in doubt and fear, since it is met by the opposite idea of God as the avenger of wrong — the punisher of sin.
2. But how true is it, also, that without the illuminations of grace, the Bible itself is of no avail! "The natural man receiveth not the things of God."
3. Hence the line of our duty, as well as privilege, is clearly set before us. Study, then, that word with diligence and prayer; rely on the aids of God's Spirit.
III. In the third place, we may briefly notice the last clause of the passage before us, as again bringing into view THE SOVEREIGN GOOD PLEASURE OF GOD. Here it is yet more strikingly held forth, as the true and original cause of all our mercies. It is described as "His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself."
1. This purpose is one of supreme sovereignty.
2. It is one of infinite benevolence.
3. It is one of all-sufficient power.
(W. Alves, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;