Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Because of God's Great Love, Mercy, and Grace

- Even when we were spiritually dead in transgressions, polluted by Satan & worldliness, and enslaved to our sinful nature (fleshly desires), God chose to love us and make us alive with Christ. God is indeed rich in mercy and abounding in love. He loves us so deeply and extravagantly, not because of who we are or what we do but because of Who He is. God loves us with His perfect love. "This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:9-10) "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1 Peter 1:3)
- The Bible says that we deserve death, punishment, and God’s wrath. However, because of God’s abundant mercy, we do not get what we deserve. By grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ alone, God sovereignly bestows the gift of eternal life on us sinners (salvation) and declares us righteous (justification). We don't deserve it but God loves us and rescues us anyway. "Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression...? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy." (Micah 7:18) "When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy." (Titus 3:4-5a)
- Life before Christ is lifeless, meaningless, and hopeless. Life without Christ is a death sentence. Only God can bring life out of death and hope out of despair. We are made alive in Christ's resurrection. "We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life....The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus...For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6:4, 10-11, 14) Now we are dead to sin and alive with Christ/in Christ by the power of God.
 - Those who have received God's mercy are to reach out to those who need His mercy. "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:36) May we extend the same grace and mercy we receive from God to others and may we love others with the love of the Lord!
- Receive God's grace & mercy, embrace His love for you, let go of those feelings that pull you down (guilt, shame, rejection, inadequacy, etc.), and live free! "Life is what we are alive to. It is not length but breadth.... Be alive to...goodness, kindness, purity, love, history, poetry, music, flowers, stars, God, and eternal hope." (Maltbie D. Babcock)

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