And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 2 Corinthians 9:8-9
This is virtually the one place in the New Testament where we read these familiar words, “God is able.” (Though there is a limited use of the phrase in Romans 11 where the apostle says that God is able to graft into the olive tree unbelieving Jews again). There is also one place where the phrase is found in the Old Testament. It is in the book of Daniel where the three young men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to bow down before the image of gold on the plain of Dura. King Nebuchadnezzar is outraged and tells them he is going to have them thrown into a blazing furnace.
The men reply, “O Nebuchadnezzar we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will deliver us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan. 3:16- 18). They confessed that their God was able to turn the heat of the furnace into a cool breeze.
God was able to save them from the flames. God was able to deliver them from the king’s hand. If God chose not to do so they would still trust him and certainly never serve other gods or worship the image of gold.
God is able because nothing is impossible with him. Remember how Paul conceived of him as the one, “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). So whatever the power of the devil and his hosts, however great the combined forces of the authorities of this world, however far the professing church has fallen into declension, however weak the people of God may be today this has no debilitating effect on the Almighty Power who reigns in heaven and does whatsoever he pleases. Our God is able. He was able to make the heavens and earth in seven days and all very good. The Lord was able to command the winds and the waves. He was able to raise the dead. He is able to save the chief of sinners.
Of course, God is not able to sin. He is not able to lie. He is not able to break his oath, his covenant, nor his word. He is not able to deny himself. But he is able to glorify the name of his beloved Son Jesus Christ that every knee must bow before him.
Paul has this confidence in God’s omnipotence. He does not look back at creation and say that God was able, or to look back at the burning fiery furnace and say, “God was able to deliver then.” The unchangeable God is able, believe in him, and receive his abounding grace.
Be reminded today of the prodigal nature of the love of God, the extravagance of God’s grace, and the expansiveness of the blessings God pours out on us. It is so typical of the New Testament. Paul tells the Romans that we are “more than conquerors through him that loved us.” We are hyper-conquerors of sin and death and the devil. Peter speaks to his readers of “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Paul tells the Philippians of God meeting all their needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. The Lord Christ said that he came that men might have life and have it more abundantly.
God’s intended vantage for us emphasizes that our bedrock is the abundant grace of God. God the Father with certainty placed the greatest foundational gift of his grace, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ to be our Savior. God did not spare his only Son. At many levels it was the most prodigal act that the world ever saw, so extravagant and apparently wasteful. God so loved … the world! The holy Creator loved that which is defined as the lust of the flesh, and the lust of eyes and the pride of life, and so loved it that he spared not his Son from Golgotha that we might be spared.
There is no reason whatsoever for that kind of grace. It was not that there were some people in some places in the world that were beautiful people, and God loved them. God didn’t look at certain people and say, “Those are very attractive people … at least they are trying … they are sincere … they are a little bit different from others and I like them, because of their efforts, and character, and morals.” There was nothing like that at all, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, no, not one.
God looked at all our sin-filled lives, and he did the most amazing thing. He sent his own Son into this world to save us. It was an action without prudence, or moderation, or measure. How utterly absurd it all seems to be. The Holy One of Israel giving his dear Son to save us. The living God, totally and passionately committed to our salvation. We were sinful rebels, utterly corrupted by our love of sin, depraved idolaters and blasphemers, yet what does God do? He makes all grace abound. He sends to this world his own Son, his only Son, the Son whom he loved. He could look into the eyes of his Son and see his own image. He could see the perfect love of Jesus returned towards him.
There was never a love like the love of the Father for his Son, never was there a Son so lovable, and never a Father so loving. There was never so precious a relationship, so sensitive a parent, and so beautiful a child. Yet God was able to give him up without any reservations. Jesus became the great sin-bearer banished into the far country as he is loaded with the sin of the world. Calvary is a display of the abundant grace of God. It becomes the foundation of all that flows into our lives.
We do not need to be afraid, or cautious when we think about, talk about, or go about our days. We are loved by the greatest lover of all eternity, and he loved us more than all, he loved us enough to place all our sins upon his perfect Son, so that his perfect Son could give us his grace and be made righteous in the perfect love of our Father.