Rich in Mercy
This article is part of the Gentle and Lowly: A 14-Day Devotional series.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 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—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.—Ephesians 2:1–6
Consider God’s richness in mercy for your own life. He is the resurrecting God. He doesn’t meet you halfway. And that’s not because resurrecting sinners is on his to-do list. His very nature is to engage death and bring life--and that’s true for you, too. He did that decisively once and for all at your conversion, but he continues to do it time and again in your sin and folly.
Gentle and Lowly
Dane C. Ortlund
How does Jesus feel about his people amid all their sins and failures? This book takes readers into the depths of Christ’s very heart—a heart of tender love drawn to sinners and sufferers.
Perhaps, looking at the evidence of your life, you do not know what to conclude except that this mercy of God in Christ has passed you up. Maybe you have been deeply mistreated. Misunderstood. Betrayed by the one person you should have been able to trust. Abandoned. Taken advantage of. Perhaps you carry a pain that will never heal till you are dead. If my life is any evidence of the mercy of God in Christ, you might think, I’m not impressed.
To you I say, the evidence of Christ’s mercy toward you is not your life. The evidence of his mercy toward you is his—mistreated, misunderstood, betrayed, abandoned. Eternally. In your place.
If God sent his own Son to walk through the valley of condemnation, rejection, and hell, you can trust him as you walk through your own valleys on your way to heaven.
Perhaps you have difficulty receiving the rich mercy of God in Christ not because of what others have done to you but because of what you’ve done to torpedo your life, maybe through one big, stupid decision or maybe through ten thousand little ones. You have squandered his mercy, and you know it.
To you I say, do you know what Jesus does with those who squander his mercy? He pours out more mercy. God is rich in mercy. That’s the whole point.
Whether we have been sinned against or have sinned ourselves into misery, the Bible says God is not tightfisted with mercy but openhanded, not frugal but lavish, not poor but rich.
That God is rich in mercy means that your regions of deepest shame and regret are not hotels through which divine mercy passes but homes in which divine mercy abides.
The Bible says God is not tightfisted with mercy but openhanded, not frugal but lavish, not poor but rich.
It means the things about you that make you cringe most, make him hug hardest.
It means his mercy is not calculating and cautious, like ours. It is unrestrained, flood-like, sweeping, magnanimous.
It means our haunting shame is not a problem for him, but the very thing he loves most to work with.
It means our sins do not cause his love to take a hit. Our sins cause his love to surge forward all the more.
It means on that day when we stand before him, quietly, unhurriedly, we will weep with relief, shocked at how impoverished a view of his mercy-rich heart we had.
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