May 4, 2010

Pondering God XIII: God's Unmerited Favor

God's Unmerited Favor for a quite flawed and very sinful

The Mercy of God

The mercy and the grace of God are tied together. Because He has mercy on flawed beings such as us He offers us grace. The mercy God gives is for those in distress or are suffering. Mercy is emphasized more often in situations of suffering though. I also imagine mercy sometimes comes in forms we wouldn’t expect. In the case of the terminally ill it may be more merciful to take them from the world to be with the Lord rather than miraculously cure the person who is suffering. God in these situations has His reasons. Many times the suffering may be suffering because of their own sinful nature (sometimes not).

"Now we know that if the earthly home we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this home, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." ~2 Corinthians 15:1-8

We have a better chance of God being merciful to us if we are repentant. We know that an unrepentant heart will have God store up wrath against us in judgment. The following verse also tells us that people are careless with God’s mercy and grace also because of the word “storing”.

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. Romans 2:5

We also know that man is sometimes not given mercy because it is a form of judgment, discipline, testing or rebuke by God. Ultimately, God is a just God and does things in His own time for His own reasons.

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. Romans 9:14-16

The amazing thing is that God’s mercy and grace is, well, it’s amazing! As sinners we are walking dead men without it. Our sin merits only condemnation and death. God did not decree that this was to be all of humanity’s final destination. As a matter of fact He decreed just the opposite. He predestined that some would be saved and that we would not be condemned to separation from Him for eternity. Merciful indeed is our amazing God!


God's Amazing Grace

It is only through God’s grace that we are saved. The Bible is quite clear here that you can only be saved by grace through a faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. It is nothing that we do lest a man boast of his own deeds.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~Ephesians 2:8-9

God did not have to do this, He chose to. He didn’t give the angels this same chance when they sinned and rebelled.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment…~2 Peter 4:2

It was His choice to do what he wanted. He is sovereign and this universe, heaven, angels and man are His creation, and He can do what He pleases with it. Grace on our behalf is undeserved favor from God. This is amazing considering that we are worthy only of death as sinners. Without grace, without God’s official pardon we are condemned to death and eternal separation from Him. Hell…our deserved punishment.
As it turns out grace can and often is taken for granted and abused. Christians are called to a higher expectation. Jesus made this quite clear in His beatitudes. He upped the stakes and expected people to be vigilant with their behavior even requiring us to control our thoughts not just actions.

Unfortunately, some do not make the effort to go the extra mile and rely too much on God’s mercy and grace when they really should be living a more righteous life and making an attempt to move forward with their sanctification, not backward. Paul asks this rhetorical question in Romans 6:1, “…Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” His immediate response is, “by no means.” Why? We walk in a newness of life in Christ and because we are dead to sin. If we are dead to sin it should have no power over us because we…

“…are not under the law but under grace”. Romans 6:14

God didn’t have to give us any grace, He chose to. The best environment for God’s grace to operate is in righteousness. When there is righteousness, which is a product of obeying God and man being humble, it will not cancel out God’s grace. When man sins it negates the grace we are given.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this message. I have pondering about the moments in my life where I came up short with my promises that I have made to myself and more importantly to God. Your message reminded me that I have to put God before all my earthly wants and desires. The only want and the only desire that I want is God's saving love.

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