Paul makes a transition in his letter to the Ephesians, writing, “But grace was given to each one of us” (Eph 4:7). After explaining so thoroughly the unity of believers in the body of Christ, Paul reminds us that members of the body do not cease to be unique. God calls us into the same body for the same purpose, but we still retain our individuality. Unity is not uniformity.
J.B. Phillips paraphrases verse 7 this way: “Naturally there are different gifts and functions; individually grace is given to us in different ways out of the rich diversity of Christ’s giving.”
Before we go any further, it’s important to remember that grace is grace. God’s nature is one of giving. God is a God of grace because he freely gives, not because any of us have earned his grace. His grace is entirely self-motivated. It is his sovereign act of giving.
Grace is a remarkable concept. Think about it. For those who are married, think back to when you met your future spouse, dated, and got to know each other. Chances are, you saw something in the other person that made you think, This person is worthy of my love. I know marriage takes sacrifice, but I will gladly sacrifice myself for this person.
God couldn’t do that when he chose to love us because we were not worthy. We were his enemies, fighting and rebelling against him. Paul tells the Romans:
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:8-10)
What did Jesus tell Nicodemus? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3:16). Can you imagine sacrificing everything for your enemy? Would you willingly devote your life to an enemy, inviting them into your home until death do you part? It seems that our greatest display of love falls short when compared to God’s love for his people. As we often sing, God’s grace is simply amazing.