BY JORDAN MAYER
"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..."
During this season of Thanksgiving, it’s no surprise that it’s a time marked by giving thanks. We often think about family and friends, the food on our table, the house over our heads, and our Good Father who blesses us with all these things. It’s common to think about and be grateful for what we’ve been given. But how often do we find ourselves being grateful for the things we haven’t received? in the context of the Gospel, we see God's mercy and grace on full display, revealing that what we deserve is not what we find.
Let’s begin with God’s mercy. Simply put, His mercy can be described as God not giving us what we truly deserve. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we have all fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). We have not and cannot meet His holy and righteous standard, and because of this, we stand condemned. Our sin has racked up a debt that we can’t possibly hope to repay. We stand before the court guilty as charged. And, as Romans 6 tells us, the wages for our sin is death. It’s a startling and devastating reality for each and every one of us.
But let’s return to the Ephesians 2 passage. The chapter begins with the same bleak reality. We were dead in our trespasses. By our nature we were called children of wrath. “But God!”, how sweet these words are! In the very depths of our misery, God extends His mercy. Though we stand condemned in the Law, Christ came in fulfillment of the Law to satisfy its requirement. He is our great advocate who enters the courtroom and willingly pays our debt (Colossians 2:13-14). At the Cross, God lavishly pours out the riches of His mercy through the sacrifice of His own Son on our behalf.
If we did not deserve His mercy, neither do we deserve His grace. But not only does God not give us what we deserve, He also gives us what we don’t deserve. This is His grace, His unmerited favor. In canceling our debt, Christ also provided the means for relationship with God. We deserve death, we are given life. We deserve condemnation, we are given justification. We are redeemed, renewed, and restored. The dividing curtain that separated us from God was torn in two by Christ’s work on the Cross. So then, we don’t sheepishly enter into the presence of God. Rather, we draw near to this throne of grace with confidence and boldness to receive His grace and mercy (Hebrews 4:16).
As we approach this Thanksgiving holiday, let us all thank God that He gives out of the abundance of His mercy and grace. We thank Him that “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him…” (Psalm 103:10-11).