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Love and Mercy



But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.


Ephesians 2:4,5


How do you feel towards those who have hurt you? Your family? Your loved ones? What thoughts and feelings bubble-up when you happen to think about them? Or their name comes up in conversation? Or they happen to comment on one of your social media posts? Or you’re in the same room with them? Or, worst of all, you come face to face with them?


Yes, hard as it is to imagine, there are some people like that in my life. There are some people that have hurt my family and I just don’t want anything to do with them. They have not apologized. Heck, they haven’t even recognized what they did was hurtful.


At first, I just pulled back, not copying them on emails or text updates. Over time, I’ve trimmed them from my distribution lists. When I thought about it, I “unfriended” them and members of their family.


But this isn’t how God’s treated me. It’s not how he’s treated you. He hasn’t “unfriended” us. He hasn’t cut us off. He’s reached out with his one-two punch that just knocks us off our feet.


  • Great love – not just love, not just some love, but great love. It’s not just a pinch of love to tease us. No, this is overwhelming love. It’s a tsunami of love that just pushes everything aside. There is no stopping him. His love is totally motivated by the fact that he thinks that we are precious. And this preciousness motivates him to sacrifice himself for us.


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

  • Rich in mercy – this mercy is eternal and unchanging loyalty towards us. He will always choose for us. And his mercy is not limited by feelings or circumstances. God’s mercy is given not because of anything we do but because his guilty verdict was totally paid for. He saw our wretchedness, and everything dirtied by it. And now, he surrounds us with mercy. He wraps us up in it. He puts us in his eternal envelope, full of mercy, and permanently seals us in it.


I will have mercy on anyone, whoever he is, that I will show mercy to in the future. Romans 9:15 WWS[1]


That’s who God is and how he thinks, acts, and feels about us. But who are we? Where are we? What kind of people are we? I’ll tell you exactly what God’s opinion was.


  • Dead – without life. Dead is dead, and there’s no coming back from it. There’s no second act after dead.

  • In transgressions – we’ve totally disobeyed God’s right and holy way of life to the point that we’re surrounded by it.


There is nothing that we can do, so God acts and steps in to reclaim us. Recapture us. Redeem us. And he does it by grace. He doesn’t just do the heavy lifting; he does all the lifting. Period.


That’s what grace is. God, leaning out towards us. Leaning into us. He initiates the relationship and keeps it going. He never turns away. He takes us as we are and totally forgives us in Jesus. It doesn’t depend on who we are, what we do, what we say. He does it all. As one writer put it:


Mercy is not getting what you deserve.

And grace is getting what you absolutely don't deserve.


It’s just like these lyrics from I’m Alive[2].


But God, rich in mercy, You came to save me, Now I'm alive

But God, strong and mighty, You reached down for me, So I could rise

Now I'm alive


Now that we understand a little bit more about who we are and who God is, the question is how do we respond? Do we just keep on going like nothing’s changed, or do we fall down in grateful worship and adoration?


God is rich in mercy. So, how are we going to spend his riches? It’s time to change our spending habits. To turn from spending our lives on ourselves and spending them on the one who’s love is great and who’s rich in mercy.


Noodling Questions


  • How has God shown that he loves you (wants nothing but the very best for you)?

  • Who do you think deserves God’s rich mercy? Who doesn’t deserve it?

  • How does God want you to change your “spending habits” with his rich mercy?

[1] Kenneth S. Wuest, Romans in the Greek New Testament, 9:14–16, 1955 [2] https://youtu.be/aiuw2QX4RpI

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