Ephesians 2:4-9, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, (5) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- (6) and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (7) so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
There are some things in life we can count on with great confidence - the brightness of stars, the inconsistency of man, and the mercy of the loving and forgiving God. There are many other things like this but you get the point. As people we need to know the boundaries of our existence. This is far more freeing, than restricting, when it comes to the human condition.
While some things can remain unknown to man, we must know that God’s love and mercy is the foundation of our existence at any time. If we get this wrong, we will get the rest wrong as well. For some reason we twist these pretty easily. We refuse to accept our Savior’s love or doubt our value in His eyes. Mercy is about one’s lack of deserving the gift offered. This critical truth is one
that is extremely hard to accept. I have to accept mercy because I don’t deserve to be treated as innocent.
Why is absolute mercy so difficult to understand? In writing an article recently, I talked about our need to beg for God’s grace. Is so doing I was attempting to point out our outright need
for unwarranted forgiveness and God’s complete mercy of a rebellious sinner. We shouldn’t beg as if somehow we could sway God’s judgment. It has more to do with our innate need for His offer.
We were lost and dead in our sins and He still gives us life. (Ephesians 2:5) People fail to understand mercy because of the rarity with which it is practiced. We struggle to forgive when others are hostile to us. In fact, vengeance is more understandable than grace. The truth is that the world doesn’t love its enemies, or open up to strangers very well. The world waits for the apology, the downfall, or the simple death to allow them to begin to heal. People aren’t cut much slack.
We serve one who has forgiven us in all of that. He made the first move – He loved us when we were dead in our sins. He still loves us when we fail to keep our promises to Him. He is betrayed, lied about, forgotten, besmirched, and denied. Yet, He is still our Father when we repent. He is God whether we do His will, or not. A study of the trinity can help with that last statement, but it is true. He has made Christians His sons and daughters through the sacrifice of His sinless Son – Jesus. We wrestle with understanding a love that is not based on merit, or return. We fail to grasp a forgiveness that relieves us of any past sin, because of the world we live in, yet this is the One in whom we trust.
If we can let the mercy of God be the foundation of our lives, we can have lives that will change. We can become secure enough in Him, that we can extend love to our enemies. We begin to function as a result of His love for us, and not the fuel of guilt, or hate, or cowardice. As we live out this life with God, we understand Him more clearly and are more amazed every day, at His limitless compassion, bottomless love, and immeasurable mercy. I have needed all of those things and more in my life. I am so grateful for one who has no ulterior agenda, just a plain and simple love for the imperfect heart of a faithfully repentant servant.
To try to build our lives on anything other than the mercy of God leads me to think I have somehow earned the grace given me. One can never earn grace. While there is no excuse for simple
irresponsibility, I am saved because God says so. He demands repentance and so I am. He is magnanimous, and loving. This foundation allows me to remain calm in the storm, rest without
worry, and live out my faith with joy and peace. I can’t get this gift with my own perfection or persistence. It is the free gift of the One who loves me. And never forget, He loves you too!
Godspeed as you make this journey…