God doesn’t do things by halves. The riches of His grace are not given to us in pinched precision or in limited measurement. Tragically, we live in a world where sin abounds, but to compensate God has provided us with a mercy that superabounds (Rom 5:20). This is Paul’s argument to the Romans when he states all too clearly that men and women are naturally enemies of God, mortal and alive in a world where sin abounds. But God has lavished His goodness upon mankind. He has supplied something far greater to make up for this evil in that those who have been reconciled to Him are subject to an outworking of something “much more”. We are not just reconciled, says Paul, we are “much more” saved (Rom 5:10). He continues: in Adam death reigns, but in Christ God’s generous mercy has “much more” abounded (Rom 5:15). Sin reigns, but those who have received this mercy will “much more” reign in life. In summary, where sin has abounded, grace has “much more” abounded (Rom 5:20).

What does all this tell us about our heavenly Father? It reveals a God who is more than equal to the task of redeeming us. It shows us too that God has lavished His care upon us with unstinting generosity. If even in the natural sphere of life God opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing (Psa 145:16), then how much more in the spiritual. As our Lord said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The apostle Peter adds his testimony to this overflowing love of God towards His people when he writes, “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 1:11).

To underscore God’s overflowing generosity, the Spirit has employed a number of Greek words to convey that bounty. They are:

pleonazo which means to abound, increase
huperpleanazo which means to be exceeding abundant
perisseuo which means to cause to superabound, to excel or to be in abundance
huperperisseuo which means to superabound exceedingly (cp Rom 5:20)

So here is a gradation of ideas. The Greek huperpleonazo is an intensification of pleonazo and huperperisseuo is an intensification of perisseuo. The Greek preposition huper, meaning ‘beyond’ or ‘over’, has come into English as the prefix ‘hyper.’ The pleonazo verbs have to do with being more than enough, of going further, while the perisseuo verbs have to do with overflowing and passing boundaries, of outnumbering.

Look at the way the Scriptures express God’s overflowing care for us. In Christ “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (Eph 1:7-8). He has liberally showered upon us mercy and forgiveness, because the word “abounded” suggests just that—a life where our cup overflows and where we witness plenteous redemption (Psa 130:7).

Moreover, our gracious Father is able “to do exceedingly abundant above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph 3:20). He is generous in the way He answers our prayers, being prepared to give us more than we can ever deserve. In a similar way, “as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth in Christ” (2 Cor 1:5).

Now if this is part of God’s character, then it should be part of ours too. He expects us to demonstrate that same bounty and abundance in our lives before Him. Hence Paul exhorts us to “abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Rom 15:13). We need to “excel to the edifying of the ecclesia” (1 Cor 14:12). We are encouraged to “be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58).

If God abounds towards us, ought we not therefore to abound towards others? The ecclesias in Macedonia were poverty-stricken, yet “the abundance of their joy and deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality” (2 Cor 8:2). Our rejoicing needs to be more abundant (Phil 1:26). We need to be rooted and built up in Christ so that we can abound therein with thanksgiving (Col 2:7).

And what of our love for each other? Paul says, “The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another and toward all men” (1 Thess 3:12). We are exhorted to know “how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more” (1 Thess 4:1) and to increase in love “more and more” (1 Thess 4:10).

This is not a walk in Christ which is stingy and tight-fisted. These are not encouragements which speak of slackness, or half-heartedness in our service. They speak of having a willing, plentiful, overflowing sense of contribution and dedication in worship.

There is an Old Testament precedence for this. David was not permitted to build the house of God, yet he prepared abundantly in other ways (1 Chron 22:5). We learn too that God will abundantly pardon those who seek God and turn to Him with all their heart (Isa 55:7). Indeed, His goodness is described as “the multitude of his lovingkindnesses” (Isa 63:7) and “the multitude of [His] tender mercies” (Psa 51:1; 69:13,16).

Everything about God is full of generosity in a way we struggle to understand. He sends the rain on the just and unjust alike. He provides good things to His children that are always more than enough. Every gift surpasses our needs and expectations, so much so that Paul describes it as a treasure that is part of incalculable wealth. God’s goodness is always extraordinary, profuse and undeserved. In dramatic contrast to the awful consequences of sin and death, God’s power to save us is more than enough and if He has superabounded towards us, ought we not to superabound in service, love and joy in return?