"Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given." - Ephes. iii. 8.
My soul, hear what the great apostle to the gentiles speaks of himself.
He calls himself "less than the least;" a thing almost impossible in
itself; but he doth it with a view to magnify the riches, the exceeding
great riches of grace. And in the same moment that he views himself so
low and abject, he is lost in amazement at beholding the exalted office
to which he was called. So that Paul cries out, "Unto me," a poor,
sinful, unworthy creature of the earth, "to me was this grace given!"
My soul, leave for a moment the view of the apostle, and make the
subject personal, by looking to a renewed instance of that grace, most
freely given, in a case as far surpassing Paul in the greatness and
undeservedness of it, as the imagination can conceive. Perhaps every
sinner feels the same; this at least is certain, all may well feel the
same. But the subject is not properly improved, either in the apostle's
instance, or any other, unless there be connected with it the one great
object of the whole, the promotion of the Redeemer's glory. This was
and is the first and ultimate design for which grace was given. "This
people," saith Jehovah, speaking of the redeemed in Christ, "have I
formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise." Isa. xliii. 21.
And how do they shew forth the Lord's praise, but by the gifts of the
Lord's grace? When Jesus calleth a poor sinner, and manifests himself
to him, this is the display of his grace; for it is on such more
especially, that he maketh his grace to shine. It would have been no
grace had we merited his favour. But because we merit nothing, yea, are
justly entitled to punishment, and yet God gives mercy, grace, and
favour; this is what illustrates the exceeding riches of his grace, and
demonstrates God's love to be indeed the love of God which passeth
knowledge, because it differs altogether from creature love. And what
tends yet more to display the riches of grace, that the glory of God in
Christ, in following up the blessed plan of redemption, may be great
indeed, the crown of Jesus, as Mediator, depends upon bringing to glory
the objects of his love, on whom he hath made that grace to shine. And
who shall calculate the rich revenue of love, adoration, and praise, in
glory, which Jesus will have, and be forever receiving, from the
millions of redeemed souls gathered from sin and Satan, by the alone
sovereignty of his grace? My soul, it is truly blessed thus to
contemplate the person and work of Jesus, and the sweet effects of his
grace. And what an addition to the subject is it, to say, with the
apostle, each poor sinner for himself, "Unto me, who am less than the
least of all saints, is this grace given!"