In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
I. First, consider the RICHES OF HIS GRACE. In attempting to search out that which is unsearchable, we must, I suppose, use some of those comparisons by which we are wont to estimate the wealth of the monarchs, and mighty ones of this world. It happened once that the Spanish ambassador, in the halcyon days of Spain, went on a visit to the French ambassador, and was invited by him to see the treasures of his master. With feelings of pride he showed the repositories, profusely stored with earth's most precious and most costly wealth. "Could you show gems so rich," said he, "or aught the like of this for magnificence of possessions in all your sovereign's kingdom? Call your master rich?" replied the ambassador of Spain, "why, my master's treasures have no bottom" — alluding, of course, to the mines of Peru and Petrosa. So truly in the riches of grace there are mines too deep for man's finite understanding ever to fathom. However profound your investigation, there is still a deep couching beneath that baffles all research. As by necessity of His Godhead He is omnipotent, and omnipresent, so by absolute necessity of His Divinity is He gracious. Recollect, however, that as the attributes of God are of the like extent, the gauge of one attribute must be the gauge of another. Or, further, if one attribute is without limit, so is another attribute.
1. Now, you cannot conceive any boundary to the omnipotence of God. What cannot He do? He can create, He can destroy; He can speak a myriad universes into existence; or He can quench the light of myriads of stars as readily as we tread out a spark. As He hath power to do anything, so hath He grace enough to give anything — to give everything to the very chief of sinners.
2. Take another attribute if you please — God's omniscience, there is no boundary to that. We know that His eye is upon every individual of our race — He sees him as minutely as if he were the only creature that existed. It is boasted of the eagle that though he can outstare the sun, yet when at his greatest height, he can detect the movement of the smallest fish in the depths of the sea. But what is this compared with the omniscience of God?
3. There is no limit to His understanding, nor is there to His grace. As His knowledge comprehendeth all things, so doth His grace comprehend all the sins, all the trials, all the infirmities of the people upon whom His heart is set. The next time we fear that God's grace will be exhausted let us look into this mine, and then let us reflect that all that has ever been taken out of it has never diminished it a single particle. All the clouds that have been taken from the sea have never diminished its depth, and all the love, and all the mercy that God has given to all but infinite numbers of the race of man, has not diminished by a single grain the mountain of His grace. But, to proceed further; we sometimes judge of the wealth of men, not only by their real estate in mines and the like, but by what they have on hand stored up in the treasury. God's treasury is His covenant of grace, wherein the Father gave His Son, the Son gave Himself, and the Spirit promised all His influence, all His presence, to all the chosen. This, my brethren, if ye think it over, may well make you estimate aright the riches of God's grace. If you read the roll of the covenant from beginning to end, containing as it does, election, redemption, calling, justification, pardon, adoption, heaven, immortality — if you read all this, you will say, "This is riches of grace — God, great and infinite! Who is a God like unto Thee for the riches of Thy love!" The riches of great kings again, may often be estimated by the munificence of the monuments which they reared to record their feats. We have been amazed in these modern times at the marvellous riches of the kings of Nineveh and Babylon. Modern monarchs with all their appliances, would fail to erect such monstrous piles of palaces as those in which old Nebuchadnezzar walked in times of yore. We turn to the pyramids, we see there what the wealth of nations can accomplish; we look across the sea to Mexico and Peru, and we see the relics of a semi-barbarous people; but we are staggered and amazed to think what wealth and what mines of riches they must have possessed ere such works could have been accomplished. Solomon's riches are perhaps best judged of by us when we think of those great cities which he built in the wilderness, Tadmore and Palmyra. When we go and visit those ruins and see the massive columns and magnificent sculpture, me say, Solomon indeed was rich. We feel as we walk amid the ruins somewhat like the Queen of Sheba, even in Scripture the half has not been told us of the riches of Solomon. My brethren, God has led us to inspect mightier trophies than Solomon, or Nebuchadnezzar, or Montezuma, or all the Pharaohs. Turn your eyes yonder, see that blood-bought host arrayed in white, surrounding the throne — hark, how they sing, with voice triumphant, with melodies seraphic, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever." And who are these? Who are these trophies of His grace? Some of them have come from the stews of harlotry; many of them have come from the taverns of drunkenness. Nay, more, the hands of some of those so white and fair, were once red with the blood of saints. I see there Manasseh, who shed innocent blood so much, and the thief who in the last moment looked to Christ, and said, "Lord, remember me." Now we turn to another point to illustrate the greatness of the riches of God's grace. A man's riches may often be judged of by the equipage of his children, the manner in which he dresses his servants and those of his household. It is not to be expected that the child of the poor man, though he is comfortably clothed, should be arrayed in like garments to those which are worn by the sons of princes. Let us see, then, what are the robes in which God's people are apparelled, and how they are attended. Here, again, I speak upon a subject where a large imagination is needed, and my own utterly fails me. God's children are wrapped about with a robe, a seamless robe, which earth and heaven could not buy the like of if it were once lost. For texture it excels the fine linen of the merchants; for whiteness it is purer than the driven snow; no looms on earth could make it, but Jesus spent His life to work my robe of righteousness. Look at God's people as they are clothed too in the garments of sanctification. Was there ever such a robe as that? it is literally stiff with jewels. He arrays the meanest of His people every day as though it were a wedding day; He arrays them as a bride adorneth herself with jewels; He has given Ethiopia and Sheba for them, and He will have them dressed in gold of Ophir. What riches of grace, then, must there be in God who thus clothes His children! But to Conclude this point upon which I have not as yet begun. If you would know the full riches of Divine grace, read the Father's heart when He sent His Son upon earth to die; read the lines upon the Father's countenance when He pours His wrath upon His only begotten and His well-beloved Son. So much, then, concerning the riches of His grace.
II. For a minute or two, let me now dwell upon THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. The treasure of God's grace is the measure of our forgiveness; this forgiveness of sins is according to the riches of His grace. We may infer, then, that the pardon which God gives to the penitent is no niggard pardon. Again: if pardon be in proportion to the riches of His grace, we may rest assured it is not a limited pardon, it is not the forgiving of some sins and the leaving of others upon the back., No, this were not Godlike, it were not consistent with the riches of His grace. When God forgives He draws the mark through every sin which the believer ever has committed, or ever will commit.
III. And now I conclude by noticing THE BLESSED PRIVILEGES WHICH ALWAYS FOLLOW THE FORGIVENESS WHICH IS GIVEN TO US ACCORDING TO THE GRACE OF GOD.
1. Peace of conscience. That heart of yours which throbs so fast when you are alone, will be quite still and quiet. When once a man is forgiven, he can walk anywhere; and, knowing his sins to be forgiven, he has joy unspeakable.
2. Then, to go further, such a man has access to God. Another man with unforgiven sin about him stands afar off; and it he thinks of God at all it is as a consuming fire.
3. Then another effect of this is that the believer fears no hell.
4. Once more, the forgiven Christian is expecting heaven.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;