Monday, 25 November 2013

God's Awesome Mercy

Romans 5:6-8
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
It occurred to me once again just how much God has done for us and just how much we don't deserve it. I know these things in my head, but they often don't reach my heart as easily, and the depths of them are easily forgotten. But God just reminded me of how much he has done for me and how little I deserve it - so I thought I'd explore that a bit.

Romans 3:23 tells us that we are all sinners. Romans 5 says we are powerless and ungodly. We disobey God's law - which is the reflection of his character. God is good and holy and perfect, thus he demands us to be perfect. He is good, sin is evil - rebellion to his good standard. He is love, sin is about hate. He is just, sin is corrupt. Sin is a personal rejection of God and attack on his character.

But we can't hurt God. Our rejection of him doesn't hurt him. It doesn't make him depressed. No, God reigns over the universe. Our personal rebellion against him cannot hurt him and cannot undo his plan. He laughs at our puny attempts to defy him and he still works everything for his glory (Psalm 2). Because of our sin we deserve God's wrath. We have rejected our creator, the one who has blessed us with countless gifts: with life and everything good we have. Yet we rebel against him and try to live our own way.

Therefore God would be entirely just and right to send us all to hell. It would be good for him to do that - God isn't the bad guy. We're the bad guys, and we deserve the punishment.

Yet instead of just destroying us he decided to give us a second chance. He sent Jesus, his son, into the world. Jesus lived among us and did not sin even though he was surrounded by sin. He gave up the eternal glory that he had as part of the trinity from before time began so that he could become a man and save us. He gave up that glory and was willing even to die in our place: on the cross Jesus took God's wrath - the wrath we deserved for our sin. He was betrayed, forsaken and murdered so that he could save us. Jesus took the wrath that we would all personally suffer eternity in hell for. That was the plan from Genesis, and Jesus is the fulfilment of all those prophecies.

But that's not the end of the story. Jesus rose again. The wages of sin is death - death entered the world when Adam and Eve sinned the first time. Jesus took the punishment for sin in full, and as a result death could not hold him. He rose again, proving that he truly is God, proving that he really did and can save us, and calling us to put our faith in him. Jesus takes our sin when we repent of them and put our faith in him.

God/Jesus could have rightly just condemned us to hell. Instead the God of the universe, the one who directs everything that happens, the creator and sustainer of all life, gave up his life for us. It cost God a lot to save us.

So why did he do it?

There are two reasons intertwined:
  • The one we first think of is love. God loved us, and as a result he died for us.
  • The second seems more selfish, but isn't: to glorify himself.
God is glorified by loving us. God is glorified by showing us his mercy and grace (and he is glorified in justly judging all those who continue to reject him). God created the universe for his glory. Everything is about God - it's not about us, it's not about how good we are. It is all about him. It's about how awesome he is. He doesn't choose to save us because we are worth saving. We aren't worth saving. We aren't worth loving - we reject him daily, we sin and rebel against him, we are powerless. Yet he chose to save us and love us to show the depths of his grace and mercy which we did not deserve to see.

God truly is awesome, and he has done awesome things for us.

Have you given your life to him?

Soli Deo Gloria!

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