walk in the word
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. —Ephesians 2:4-5
How often do you think about mercy? Today’s passage reminds us God is rich in mercy—words with staggering implications for our lives.
You can’t recognize your need for mercy or fully appreciate it unless you understand what it is. Mercy is the opposite of grace. Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve. Mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve. Mercy withholds what we clearly have coming to us. Right now, you and I are experiencing God’s mercy whether we recognize it or not.
So what do we deserve? Without Christ’s intervention, here’s what we have coming to us: judgment, condemnation, and eternal separation from God in hell. Without God’s mercy, we would have no hope.
What we don’t deserve is to draw another breath. That’s why Paul describes our condition as dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked. Apart from Christ and God’s mercy, we are the walking dead—trapped in sin. What we deserve is God’s justice. His holiness apart from His love, grace, and mercy would mean the end for us.
Our problem is we are so dead in our trespasses and sins we are only vaguely aware of our guilt before God—guilt that requires His mercy. We try to avoid our guilt by looking at others as worse sinners than we are. But, comparing ourselves to anything or anyone other than God and His standards produces a false result. When it comes to measuring up to God’s expectations, the Bible is very clear: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We’re all dead because we’ve all sinned.
But God is rich in mercy—and His mercy flows out of the great love with which he loved us. This divine mercy is personal, intimate, and completely unexpected. God is merciful out of His abundant stores, and lovingly pours mercy over our lives. Every heartbeat, each breath, every hour you have is not only a gracious gift from God, it also reminds you that God has mercifully kept death at bay. Mercy withholds judgment long enough for grace to take effect.
Because God is rich in mercy, we are no longer dead in our sin—and no longer under the power of sin! Our lives are made new because of His great love for us. Take a few moments to thank Him for His mercy today.
Lord, I am humbled by thinking about the ways Your mercy saturates my life. When I realize how often I contemplate sinful attitudes and actions, I am convicted by the realization that Your mercies start out fresh with me every morning. I fully expect to be overwhelmed in glory when I am given the knowledge of just how often Your mercy preserved me in ways I never noticed. Father, thank You that You are faithful and merciful far beyond what I can actually see. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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