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The infinity of God - so infinite His...

Notes & Transcripts

The infinity of God - so infinite His grace

Where do we begin? Where do we end? There is no beginning. There is no end. This is infinity. It seems like infinity beckons us like a deep, dark hole. We are out of our depth. We grope about in the darkness. We wonder where we have come from. We wonder where we are going. When we speak of God, we speak of depth, but we do not speak of darkness. When we speak of ‘the deep things of God’ (1 Corinthians 2:10), we are not being lured by a faceless, nameless infinity, into a deep, dark hole. We are being led by the God of love, the God who gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour. He is leading us out of darkness. He is leading us into His light (1 John 4:8; John 3:16; 8:12).

His light is ‘unapproachable light’. Here, we find ourselves in the presence of infinity. It is not, however, an infinity which threatens to overwhelm us. It is an infinity which promises to welcome us. It is the infinity of His love. It is the infinity of His mercy. It is the infinity of His grace. In ourselves, we dare not approach His ‘unapproachable light’ (1 Timothy 6:16). Through Christ, we have ‘access’ (Ephesians 3:18) to His ‘unapproachable light’. Through Christ, we ‘draw near with confidence’ to ‘the King of kings and Lord of lords’ (1 Timothy 6:15). Our confidence comes from this – ‘the Lord of glory’ has made Himself known to us as ‘the King of love’ (1 Corinthians 2:8; Psalm 23:1, paraphrased).

When we speak of God, we must speak with humility. He is far greater than all of our words about Him can ever be. We must never forget that ‘the secret things belong to the Lord our God’. This, however, is not all that we can say about the Lord our God. We can also say this – ‘the things revealed belong to us’ (Deuteronomy 29:29). The infinite God has revealed Himself to us. This is what gives us confidence when we speak of God. Here, we have the mystery of revelation. There are ‘things’ which are beyond our understanding – ‘things which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man’. These things have been revealed to us by God (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). God has revealed Himself to us without ceasing to be the infinite God. He has given to us a true knowledge of Himself without providing us with a full knowledge of Himself.

When we consider the great difference between ourselves and God, we must learn to echo the words of Isaiah. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His ways are higher than our ways (55:8-9). As we consider the nature of this great difference, we can learn much from observing the context within which Isaiah contrasts our thoughts with God’s thoughts, our ways with God’s ways. Isaiah speaks of divine grace (55:6-7). Here, we have the great difference between our thoughts and God’s thoughts, the great contrast between our ways and God’s ways. Confronted by our sin, we can only echo Isaiah’s confession, ‘Woe is me, for I am ruined!’ When, however, we listen for the Word of the Lord, we hear His word of grace, ‘your sin is forgiven’ (6:5, 7). This is the great difference between our thoughts and God’s thoughts. Our thoughts are centred upon our sin. His thoughts are centred upon His salvation. This is the great contrast between our ways and His ways. Our way is the way of sin. His way is the way of salvation.

Like Isaiah, we are led to worship. Our thoughts become an echo of the heavenly worship: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts’ (6:3). Our worship is grounded in divine grace. There is not only an awareness of the infinity of God. In our worship, we speak of God’s infinity – ‘Great God of wonders, all Thy ways are matchless’. This, however, is not the central focus of our worship. We speak also of God’s grace. Of all God’s matchless ways, there is one of His ways which is ‘unrivalled’. It is ‘grace’. This is what causes us to lift up our hearts and voices in joyful praise: ‘Who is a pardoning God like Thee? Or who has grace so rich and free?’ (Mission Praise, Combined Edition, (Marshall Pickering, London, 1990), 197). Above all the other features of God’s infinity, there is one that inspires our worship more than any other. It is His infinite grace. This is not an infinity that bewilders us. This is the ‘grace’ by which we are ‘saved’ (Ephesians 2:8). This is not an infinity that leaves us confused. This is the gospel which brings comfort. His ‘love’ is ‘amazing’. His ‘mercy’ is ‘immense’. His ‘grace’ is ‘infinite’ (Mission Praise, Combined Edition, (Marshall Pickering, London, 1990), 33). This is the gospel of Christ. This is not only the bridging of the gap between the infinite God and His finite creation. It is the work of redemption, accomplished by the holy God on behalf of sinful humanity.

When we look into ‘the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:6), we are in the presence of mystery. It is not, however, a mystery that leaves us baffled. It is the mystery of salvation. He is the God who ‘hides himself’. He is also our ‘Saviour’ (Isaiah 45:15). There is always more to God than we can ever hope to understand. He is ‘the eternal God’ (Deuteronomy 32:27). He reaches out to us without reducing Himself to the level of our limited understanding. He comes to us with a ‘love’ which ‘surpasses knowledge’ (Ephesians 3:19). He gives to us a ‘peace’ that ‘surpasses all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7). He fills us with a ‘joy’ that is ‘inexpressible’ (1 Peter 1:8). He saves us without removing the element of mystery. Salvation is never within our grasp. It is always His work. He is the God of salvation. We do not save ourselves. We can only receive salvation from him. We see the greatness of His holiness (Habakkuk 1:13). We see the greatness of our sin (Jeremiah 17:9). We rejoice in the greatness of His salvation (1 Timothy 1:15). We say, ‘His greatness is unsearchable’ (Psalm 145:3).

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