The Nature of Love
In the way of laying a foundation for understanding the relationship between God’s gift and His grace, I think we have to consider the relationship between those attributes of God that are particularly highlighted in scripture. It could be said that all the characteristics that are properly ascribed to the Divine Nature find their center in the truth that God is love, so that when God is described also, for instance, as light, spirit and consuming fire, such descriptions essentially explain the meaning and nature of divine love.
That God is light, speaks to us of the fact that it is the nature of love to enlighten, to GIVE understanding. God’s love is self-revelatory. It shines out of its essence and needs nothing outside of itself to make itself known. That God is spirit confronts us with the truth, that in spite of the propensity of divine love to subject itself to all that is adversarial to its existence, love is still, underneath all that hostility, universally and constitutionally pervasive. It is the spirit that constitutes all being, all existence. It’s what “makes the world go around,” from within, and is what gives all things their cohesiveness.
That God is a consuming fire encourages us to trust that the inner love-spirit essence of all things, from the inside out, will cleanse itself from all that seeks to defile it. The divine nature of love can be afflicted by such defilement but it can never in its essence be defiled. On this foundation rests our salvation.
So it is with the gift of God, and the graciousness of God. As it is true that when we speak of God as spirit, light, and consuming fire, we are essentially explaining the nature of love — those other attributes do not stand alongside love, they explain love as they are the unfolding of love’s nature, so when we speak of the grace of God, we are, really redundantly, explaining the nature of His gift; that it is, in fact, free. We are emphasizing the obvious, that God’s gift cannot be earned. It is, as all gifts should be, freely given. It is what it is — His gift. The grace of God is, to my understanding, simply God’s givingness.
God’s gift and God’s grace do not stand alongside one another. As Jesus said of His relationship with the Father, “I and the Father are One,” so also, God’s gift (Christ) and His grace (His givingness) are one. He is graciously giving. He gifts us out from His nature of givingness. Finally understood, God only has one gift for mankind, and that is the gift of His Son.
In Him are all the riches of the glory of God’s grace. We need to see the obvious, that Paul’s expression, “the glory of His grace” simply means, His grace’s glory. God is gloriously gracious, and we see grace’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. In Him we see summed up the givingness of God, and NO decision on the part of man can frustrate the givingness of God. He WILL give Himself, in His Son, to all creation until all creation is full of His glory, so that all creation will come to realize its true inner constitution. This is the essence of the Kingdom of God. -John Gavazzoni-
Are our broadest hopes broad enough? Shall there be a nook or abyss, in all the universe of God, finally unlightened by the Cross? Shall there be a sin, or sorrow, or pain unhealed? Is the very universe, is creation in all its extent, a field wide enough for the Son of God?