FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
GRACE AND MERCY
November 7, 2015
Today’s psalm: Psalm 145:2-11
“The Lord is gracious and merciful” (v.8a). It can be said that grace and mercy are two sides of the same coin. They go together. Mercy is not giving the other person the bad that is due to him. Grace is giving the other person the good that is not due to him.
In the verses before and after our theme verse, Paul tells us who we really are. We were “dead in our transgressions and sins,” we “lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient,” we lived according to “the desires of our flesh” (Eph 2:1-3a). As such, rather than being the children of God, “we were by nature children of wrath” (Eph 2:3b). We were, and still are, sinners. In many ways we live not according to the ways of God but according to the ways of the world. As such, by our own actions and decisions, we stand condemned.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ” (Eph 2:4-5a). God could just have discarded us, disobedient as we are even with the supreme sacrifice of His own Son, but God did not. He is “slow to anger and abounding in mercy.” (v.8b).
Further God is gracious. God was proactive, considering how He could bring us back to Himself. So He sent His very own Son to suffer and die for us. Such is grace, totally undeserved, freely given. Thus “by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:5b). And God goes all the way, holding nothing back. God “raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). Totally amazing. And what do we have to look forward to? God intends “that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:7). We, sinners, can make it to heaven, not by our works, but simply by the mercy and grace of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works” (Eph 2:8-9a).
We want to make such a God known. We want to tell all that Jesus loves them, even as they have turned away from him. They need to know that “the Lord is good to all, compassionate toward all your works.” (v.9). What a God! People need to meet Christ, the one who went to the cross for them. For that to happen, we need to share Christ. The glorious risen Jesus awaits them. We thus “speak of the glory of (his) reign and tell of (his) mighty works.” (v.11).
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