I read recently about an incident involving Harry Ironside, who used to be the pastor of a church in Chicago. He was travelling on a train and during the journey a gypsy came along the aisle and offered to tell his fortune for a few cents. Ironside replied by saying that his past, present and future were already written down in a book and asked her if he could read it to her. He read from Ephesians 2, where verses 1-3 described his past, verses 4-6 his present, and verse 7 his future. And that is an obvious way to interpret the passage.
What a beautiful description Paul gives of God’s aims in verse 7: ‘That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.’
The ‘ages to come’ refers to the eternal world. It is made up of age succeeding age, each one full of the riches of God’s grace. What can we say about the exceeding riches of his grace?
We can begin with the resurrection. Our bodies, which are sown in weakness and shame, will be raised in glory and power. Then there is the eternal kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the world. We will stand and watch the appearance of the new heavens and new earth, and will sing for joy in celebration. In heaven we will be lead to the fountains of the waters of life, a picture of endless satisfaction.
It will all be given to us through Jesus Christ. The resurrection will occur at the voice of Jesus. We will enter heaven at the invitation of Jesus. We will be welcomed personally by Jesus to the eternal feast of joy. Jesus will lead us to the fountains of the waters of life.
Thinking about the love of God should affect us. We should be staggered by its contents. The love of God is so varied and rich. It is like a mighty ocean to which we come continually with our empty souls and find that the love never decreases.
We are stimulated to right living by it: ‘Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren’ (1 John 3:16).
We are supported by it in life. It gives us security: ‘For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rom. 8:38-39)
We shall be satisfied with it in eternity. We shall swim in its depth, bathe in its streams, imbibe from its fountain, rejoice in its surprises and celebrate its permanence for ever.