If you’re like me, you don’t spend much time thinking about God’s mercy.
I know from reading Scripture that God is merciful, and I recognize that God’s mercy is important…
…but I just don’t spend much time meditating on and rejoicing in God’s mercy.
It’s not on my radar on a daily basis.
This is a problem.
In Luke 7:47, we’re told that he who is forgiven little loves little. In other words, our love for God is directly connected our forgiveness by God. The more we’re aware of and in awe of God’s mercy toward us, the more we’ll love and delight in God. The more we revel in the reality of our forgiveness, the more we’ll overflow with love and passion for God.
So if we want to love God more (and I do!), then we must spend time reflecting on and marveling at the staggering, stunning, breathtaking mercy of God.
With that in mind, let’s spend a few moments meditating on God’s mercy together.
What Is God’s Mercy?
We often lump the mercy of God and grace of God together, treating them as if they’re the same thing. But the reality is that mercy and grace are two different things, and if we’re going to delight in God we must rejoice specifically in his mercy.
So what exactly is God’s mercy?
To say that we received the mercy of God means that we didn’t get what we deserved.
Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve. Mercy is NOT receiving what we do deserve.
Psalm 103:10 says, “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.”
Isn’t that a glorious truth? God doesn’t deal with us according to our sins. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve.
Psalm 130:3 says, “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?”
If God treated us according to our sins, we could NEVER come to him. We couldn’t know him, couldn’t have a relationship with him, couldn’t draw near to the throne of grace. But because of God’s mercy, he doesn’t treat us as we deserve.
What Do We Deserve?
In order to truly grasp the height and depth of God’s mercy, we must spend some time meditating on what our sins against God deserve. We must reckon with the depth of our depravity if we want to understand the glorious mercy of God.
We must reckon with the depth of our depravity if we want to understand the glorious mercy of God.
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Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us just how deep and dark our sins against God are:
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.
It doesn’t get any worse than that, spiritually speaking. We were dead in our transgressions and sins. We were actively following Satan, joyfully giving into the sinful passions of our flesh, willfully engaging in all manner of sinful activity.
We didn’t want God and didn’t rejoice in his ways. We were spiritual rebels, going our own way instead of pursuing God. We didn’t love God, didn’t give him the praise he deserved, didn’t thank him for his abundant blessings in our lives. We were entirely focused on ourselves and what we wanted.
What did we deserve? We deserved the wrath of God. We deserved to be punished for eternity in hell. Our rebellion against God was no small thing. It was cosmic treason. We spit in the face of the King of the Universe. We hated God and truly deserved to experience his wrath.
But because of God’s mercy, we didn’t receive wrath.
What Did We Receive? God’s Mercy
Amazingly, we didn’t receive what we deserved. Instead of receiving wrath, we received mercy.
Ephesians 2:4-5 puts it this way:
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…
Isn’t that absolutely glorious? God is rich in mercy and full of love toward us. Instead of pouring out his wrath on us, he forgave our sins, saved us from his wrath, and made us his children.
Instead of punishing us, God poured out the punishment for our sins on Jesus on the cross. Jesus received the wrath that we deserved so that we could receive the blessings of God.
We are adopted, blessed, and beloved. We are united to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit himself dwells within us. Once we were separated from God by our sins. Now nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Once we were separated from God by our sins. Now nothing can separate us from the love of God.
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God’s mercy is greater and richer and deeper and higher and wider than we could possibly imagine. He has poured out abundant, overwhelming mercy on us and we should be filled with overflowing joy.
Charles Spurgeon said:
God’s mercy is so great that you may sooner drain the sea of its water, or deprive the sun of its light, or make space too narrow, than diminish the great mercy of God.
Let us praise God for his overwhelming, glorious, never-ceasing, sin-covering mercy. Let us rejoice in this incredible mercy and as we meditate on the mercy of God, let’s be filled with love for God.