Ages and Ages of Immeasurable Riches

Ephesians 2:4–7

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Puritan Thomas Goodwin, who passed away on February 23, 1680, wrote this of verse 7:

What is pardon of sin to heaven? It is but so many riches buried in the foundation.

What is the Spirit’s pouring forth here? It is but the earnest of that riches which is to come.

All that he hath done here, it is but that he might show forth the exceeding riches of his grace on us, in ages to come, in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.

All that is done for us here, it is but like a lighter metal; as always in mines you shall have a lighter metal before you come to the mine itself. All the riches of grace expended upon us here, they are but that lighter metal to that great mine that is then to be broken up. ‘That he might make known,’ saith the Apostle, Romans 9:23, ‘the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared unto glory.’

All that is done here, it is but a preparation to those riches of glory that are to be made known on the vessels of mercy. As the sorrows of this life are unto the wicked but the beginning and sorrows, so all that God doth for his saints in this life is but the beginning and the sprinklings of those riches he will expend to eternity, and which he hath laid up for them in heaven, as the Apostle phraseth it in Colossians 1:5. Saith the Psalmist, Psalm 23:6, speaking of this love, Mercy and loving-kindness shall follow me all my days.

Take any of the elect children of God, what a world of mercy and loving-kindness doth follow him, and pursue him? Even as we are bid to follow after peace and to pursue it, so doth God pursue thee with loving-kindnesses, one after another. But when thou comest to ‘ages to come,’ loving-kindness shall overwhelm thee, swallow thee up.

My brethren, if God have done so great things in the bringing us to glory, as the preparation to it — he did let us fall into sin, delivered us out of it, sent his Son to die for us — if these be but the preparations, what will the riches be? And yet all this is but preparation, that he might show forth the exceeding riches of his grace, in the ages to come, in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.

Thomas Goodwin, The Works of Thomas Goodwin (Edinburgh: 1861), 2:308, paragraphing added.

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Tony Reinke (@tonyreinke) is a content strategist and staff writer for Desiring God and the author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (2011) and John Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (2015). He hosts the Ask Pastor John and Authors on the Line podcasts, and lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and their three children.