Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” Ephesians 4:7. The measure of the gift of Christ is “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” [Colossians 2:9.] This is true whether viewed as the measure of the gift which God made in giving Christ, or as the measure of the gift which Christ himself gave. For the gift that God gave is his only begotten Son, and in “him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” [Colossians 2:9.] Therefore, from this standpoint, the measure of the gift of Christ being only the measure of the fullness of the Godhead bodily and this being only the measure of the grace that is given to every one of us, it follows that unto every one of us is given without measure, simply boundless grace.
Viewed from the measure of the gift in which Christ himself gives to us, it is the same; because “he gave himself for us;” (Titus 2:14) he gave himself for our sins, and in this he gave himself to us. And as in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and as he gave himself, then the measure of the gift of Christ on his own part is also only the measure of the fullness of the Godhead bodily. It therefore follows that from this standpoint also, the measure of grace that is given to every one of us is only the measure of the fullness of the Godhead, that is, simply immeasurable.
Thus in whatever way it is viewed, the plain word of the Lord is that unto every one of us he has given grace to the measure of the fullness of the Godhead bodily; that is, boundless, immeasurable grace—all the grace he has. This is good. But it is just the Lord, it is just like the Lord to do that; for he is good.
And this boundless grace is all given, given freely, to “every one of us.” [Ephesians 4:7.] To us it is. To you and me, just as we are. And that is good. We need just that much grace to make us what the Lord wants us to be. And he is just so kind as to give it all to us freely, that we may be indeed just what he wants us to be.
The Lord wants every one of us to be saved, and that with the very fullness of salvation. And therefore he has given to every one of us the very fullness of grace, because it is grace that brings salvation. For it is written, “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11. Thus the Lord wants all to be saved, and therefore he gave all his grace, bringing salvation to all. The marginal reading of this text tells it that way, and it is just as true as the reading in the verse itself. Here it is: “The grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared.” All the grace of God is given freely to everyone, bringing salvation to all. Whether all or any one will receive it, that is another question. What we are studying now is the truth and the fact that God has given it. Having given it all, he is clear, even though men may reject it.
The Lord wants us to be perfect: and so it is written: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48.] Desiring that we shall be perfect, he has given us, every one, all the grace that he has, bringing the fullness of his salvation, that every man may be presented perfect in Christ Jesus. The very purpose of this gift of his boundless grace is that we may be made like Jesus, who is the image of God. Even so it is written: “Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ … for the perfecting of the saints … till we all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:7, 12, 13.]
Do you want to be like Jesus? Then receive the grace that he has so fully and so freely given. Receive it in the measure in which he has given it, not in the measure in which you think you deserve it. Yield yourself to it, that it may work in you and for you the wondrous purpose for which it is given, and it will do it. It will make you like Jesus. It will accomplish the purpose and the wish of him who has given it. “Yield yourself unto God.” [Romans 6:13.] “I beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” [II Corinthians 6:1.]
It can never be repeated too often, that under the reign of grace it is just as easy to do right, as under the reign of sin it is easy to do wrong. This must be so; for if there is not more power in grace than there is in sin, then there can be no salvation from sin. But there is salvation from sin; this no one who believes Christianity can deny.
Yet salvation from sin certainly depends upon there being more power in grace than there is in sin. Then, there being more power in grace than there is in sin, it cannot possibly be otherwise than that wherever the power of grace can have control, it will be just as easy to do right as without this it is easy to do wrong.
No man ever yet naturally found it difficult to do wrong. His great difficulty has always been to do right. But this is because man naturally is enslaved to a power—the power of sin that is absolute in its reign. And so long as that power has sway, it is not only difficult but impossible to do the good that he knows and that he would. But let a mightier power than that have sway, then is it not plain enough that it will be just as easy to serve the will of the mightier power, when it reigns, as it was to serve the will of the other power when it reigned?
But grace is not simply more powerful than is sin. If this were indeed all, even then there would be fullness of hope and good cheer to every sinner in the world. But this, good as it would be, is not all; it is not nearly all. There is much more power in grace than there is in sin. For “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” [Romans 5:20.] And just as much more power in grace than there is in sin, just so much more hope and good cheer there are for every sinner in the world.
How much more power, then, is there in grace than there is in sin? … Whence comes grace?—From God, to be sure. “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” [Philemon 3.] Whence comes sin?—From the devil, of course. Sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. Well, then, how much more power is there in grace than there is in sin? It is as plain as A B C that there is just as much more power in grace than there is in sin, as there is more power in God than there is in the devil. It is therefore also perfectly plain that the reign of grace is the reign of God; and that the reign of sin is the reign of Satan. And is it not therefore perfectly plain also, that it is just as easy to serve God by the power of God as it is to serve Satan with the power of Satan?
Where the difficulty comes in, in all this, is that so many people try to serve God with the power of Satan. But that can never be done. “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt.” [Matthew 12:33.] Men cannot gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles. The tree must be made good, root and branch. It must be made new. “Ye must be born again.” [John 3:7.] “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” [Galatians 6:15.] Let no one ever attempt to serve God with anything but the present, living power of God, that makes him a new creature; with nothing but the much more abundant grace that condemns sin in the flesh, and reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Then the service of God will indeed be in “newness of life;” [Romans 6:4] then it will be found that his yoke is indeed “easy” and his burden “light;” [Matthew 11:30] then his service will be found indeed to be with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” [I Peter 1:8.]
Did Jesus ever find it difficult to do right? Every one will instantly say, No. But why? He was just as human as we are. He took flesh and blood the same as ours. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” [John 1:14.] And the kind of flesh that he was made in this world, was precisely such as was in this world. “In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren.” [Hebrews 2:17.] “In all things”! It does not say, in all things but one. There is no exception. He was made in all things like as we are. He was of himself as weak as we are; for he said, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” [John 5:30.]
Why, then, being in all things like as we are, did he find it always easy to do right?—Because he never trusted to himself, but his trust was always in God alone. All his dependence was upon the grace of God. He always sought to serve God, only with the power of God. And therefore the Father dwelt in him, and did the works of righteousness. Therefore it was always easy for him to do right. But as he is, so are we in this world. He has left us an example, that we should follow his steps. “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” [Philippians 2:13] as well as in him. All the power in heaven and in earth is given unto him; and he desires that you may be strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power. “In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”; [Colossians 2:9.] and he strengthens you with might by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your heart by faith, that you may be “filled with all the fullness of God.” [Ephesians 3:19.]
True, Christ partook of the divine nature, and so do you if you are a child of promise, and not of the flesh; for by the promises ye are partakers of the divine nature. There was nothing given to him in this world, and he had nothing in this world, that is not freely given to you, or that you may not have.
All this is in order that you may walk in newness of life; that henceforth you may not serve sin; that you may be the servant of righteousness only; that you may be freed from sin; that sin may not have dominion over you; that you may glorify God on the earth; and that you may be like Jesus. And therefore “unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. … Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” And I “beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” [Ephesians 4:7, 13.]
Can every believer have grace enough to keep him free from sinning?—Yes. Indeed, everybody in the world can have enough to keep him from sinning. Enough is given; and it is given for this purpose. If any one does not have it, it is not because enough has not been given; but because he does not take that which has been given. For “unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” Ephesians 4:7. The measure of the gift of Christ is himself wholly, and that is the measure of “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” To the fullness of the Godhead there is, indeed, no measure; it is boundless, is it simply the infinity of God. Yet that is the only measure of the grace that is given to every one of us. The boundless measure of the fullness of the Godhead is the only thing that can express the proportion of grace that is given to every one who is in this world. For “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” This grace is given in order that “as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through the righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord,” [Romans 5:20, 21] and in order that sin shall not have dominion over you, because you are under grace.
It is given also “for the perfecting of the saints.” The object of it is to bring each one to perfection in Christ Jesus to the perfection too, that is fully up to God’s standard; for it is given for the building up of the body of Christ, “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” It is given to “every one of us,” “till we all come” to perfection, even by the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Again, this grace is given to every one where sin abounds; and it brings salvation to everyone to whom it is given. Bringing salvation in itself, the measure of the salvation which it brings to every one is only the measure of its own fullness, which is nothing less than the measure of the fullness of the Godhead.
As boundless grace is given to every one bringing salvation to the extent of its own full measure, then if any one does not have boundless salvation, why is it?—Plainly it can be only because he will not take that which is given.
As boundless grace is given to every one, in order that it shall reign in him against all the power of sin, as certainly as every sin reigned; and in order that sin shall not have dominion, then if sin still reigns in any one, if sin yet has dominion over any one, where lies the fault?—Clearly it lies only in this, that he will not allow the grace to do for him and in him that which it is given to do. By unbelief he frustrates the grace of God. So far as he is concerned, the grace has be given in vain.
But every believer, by his very profession, says that he has received the grace of God. Then if in the believer grace does not reign instead of sin; if grace does not have dominion instead of sin, it is plain enough that he is receiving the grace of God in vain. If grace is not bringing the believer onward toward a perfect man in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, then he is receiving the grace of God in vain. Therefore the exhortation of the Scripture is, “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” II Corinthians 6:1.
The grace of God is fully able to accomplish that for which it is given, if only it is allowed to work. We have seen that grace being altogether from God, the power of grace is nothing but the power of God. It is plain enough therefore that the power of God is abundantly able to accomplish all for which it is given,—the salvation of the soul, deliverance from sin and from the power of it, the reign of righteousness in the life, and the perfecting of the believer unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,—if only it can have place in the heart and in the life to work according to the will of God. But the power of God is “unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Unbelief frustrates the grace of God. Many believe and receive the grace of God for the salvation from sins that are past, but are content with that, and do not give it the same place in the soul, to reign against the power of sin, that they did to save from sins of the past. This, too, is but another phase of unbelief. So as to the one great final object of grace—the perfection of the life in the likeness of Christ—they do practically receive the grace of God in vain.
“We then, as workers together with him beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed.” [II Corinthians 6:1–3.] Nor does this word “ministry” refer simply to the ordained ministry of the pulpit; it includes every one who receives the grace of God, or that has named the name of Christ. For “as every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” [I Peter 4:10.] Therefore he does not want any one to receive the grace of God in vain, lest that grace and its blessed working be misrepresented to the world, and so men be further hindered from yielding to it. He does not want his grace to be received in vain, because when it is, offense is given in many things, and the ministry of grace itself is blamed. Yet when the grace of God is not received in vain, but is given the place that belongs to it, “no offense” will be given “in anything,” and the ministry will not only be not blamed but will be blest.
And now to show how complete and all-pervading the reign of grace will be in the life where it is not received in vain, the Lord has set down the following list, embracing “all things,” and in which we shall approve ourselves unto God. …
“In all things approving ourselves” unto God, “In much patience, In afflictions, In necessities, In distresses, In stripes, In imprisonments, In tumults, In labors, In watchings, In fasting, By pureness, By knowledge, By longsuffering, By kindness, By the Holy Ghost, By love unfeigned, By the word of truth, By the power of God, By the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honor and dishonor, By evil report and good report: As deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; As dying, and behold, we live; As chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; As poor, yet making many rich: As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” [II Corinthians 6:4–10.]
This list covers all the experiences that can ever enter into the life of any believer in this world. It shows that where the grace of God is not received in vain, that grace will so take possession and control of the life, that every experience that enters into the life will be taken by grace, and turned to making us approved unto God, and building us up in perfection unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. “We then, as workers together with him, beseech ye also that you receive not the grace of God in vain.” [II Corinthians 6:2.]
From the book, Lessons on Faith, 79-89.
©1995 by TEACH Services, Inc., used with permission. www.teachservices.com
In 1888, the Lord brought a message of righteousness to the church through Elders E.J. Waggoner and A.T. Jones. This message was identified as the beginning of the loud cry of the third angel whose glory was to fill the whole earth in preparation for the second coming of Jesus.