Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross"1 (Lyrics)
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. (NIV)
Although my dear mother's given name wasn't Grace, my father called her Gracie because of the way her brain worked. Her thought processes reminded him of Gracie Allen from the old George Burns and Gracie Allen radio show. In that show, Gracie's reasoning made sense to her, but not to George. Likewise, my mother's thought processes had Dad shaking his head.
Often when God grants grace and mercy, it makes little sense to us. We wonder why God offers grace to someone like Moses, a murderer. Not only did God pardon him (mercy), but God selected him (grace) to be the one to deliver enslaved Israel from Egyptian bondage. Likely, none of us would have chosen Moses, because it makes no sense to pick a criminal. We'd pick someone who showed leadership potential, someone like a straight "A" college student, or an Olympic athlete, or a leader in the business community, but God doesn't choose the way that we do.
Likewise, Christ didn't join others in condemning the two thieves on crosses beside Him, even though one derided Him. Both criminals should have gone straight to hell, right? Not according to the Gospel of Luke. One thief confessed that Jesus did not deserve crucifixion and asked to be remembered when our Lord came into His kingdom. In response, Jesus promised him a place in paradise.
Our world demands justice, right? Thieves should pay for their deeds, not go free, nor be given a free pass into heaven. The trouble with such reasoning is that we are also guilty, probably not of murder like Moses or of grand theft larceny like the thief, but none of us is perfect. For sure, we've all messed up and deserve to reap the consequences of our actions. We should all get what we give: eye for eye, tooth for tooth. So, why would Jesus wipe away our deeds as if we had never done them? Why should Christ pardon any of us?
Jesus forgives because He loves us, warts and all. He exchanged His life for ours and paid the penalty of death that we deserved.
John 3:16-17 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (KJV)
The truth is, when we ask God to set us free from wrongdoing through Calvary's cross, where Christ Jesus died in our place, He forgives us for the asking, and we are set free from sin's consequences — eternal damnation.
Thought: God's mercy withholds what we deserve. Likewise, grace is God's undeserved kindness. God's grace follows His mercy. The two go together. Please pray with me:
Prayer: God, I have really messed up, and I want to stop doing what's wrong. Please forgive me, and help me to do what is right, for I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.