GRACE - God's Unspeakable Gift by James Ryle

By James Ryle

Ryle Headshot Color"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15)


How does one describe that which is indescribable? Though my tongue may be the pen of a ready writer (or not), the challenge I undertake is quite daunting. For, according to the Apostle Paul, we will be speaking about something that is "unspeakable."


Reaching for the words to express his feelings about the abundant grace of God, Paul said, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!"  The word unspeakable means, "incapable of being fully expounded." Paul found himself in this predicament on repeated occasions.


In his Letter to the Ephesians he calls it "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph.3:8), and marvels that God would give him the great honor of preaching it among the Gentiles. He exclaims in Romans that these matters are "unsearchable and past finding out." (Rom.11:33)


The word unsearchable means, "there are no tracks leading to where this may be found." How then shall we find it? How may we be sure in our travels to this place named Grace? The Spirit of God must open our eyes to see what our minds can only wonder at, but never fully explain. Such is the case with Grace - it is unspeakable and unsearchable apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. 


How odd that today, in contrast to how Paul felt, we seem content to reduce that which is unspeakable  to "bumper-sticker" catch-phrases. "Grace," we say, "is God being good to us though we do not deserve it." As if that were the sum of it all.


And some clever lad came up with this one - "Mercy is God withholding from us what we DO deserve; Grace is God giving to us what we DO NOT deserve." That sounds all well and good, but it is woefully inaccurate. (For the record, we will talk in detail about Mercy further along in our journey, so for now let's stay on the subject of Grace).


Grace is the empowering presence of God enabling you to be who God created you to be, and to do what God has called you to do - right where you are.


Consider that Paul himself, an anointed apostle to whom this staggering revelation of Grace was given directly from the Lord Jesus, by his own admission exhausted the fullness of his inspired vocabulary in an attempt to explain it.


He flatly admitted to his inability to express the inexpressible; to utter the unutterable; to speak the unspeakable. And thus he heads the long line of prophets and preachers, poets and minstrels, sages and scholars, authors and orators - a line which stretches in rambling tracks through the winding corridors of the centuries; each in their time attempting to do what has yet proven to be beyond us: to fully speak of GRACE - God's unspeakable gift.


So, let us press forward - and when we have completed this ambitious hike, I am certain that you, too, most surely will be saying, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!" (2 Co.9:15)


James Ryle