God’s Amazing Grace & Mercy
If you’ve seen the past month’s devotionals, then you know the main theme has been about identity. It is my hope and prayer that we would all find our identity in Christ as beloved children of God, created in His image, fearfully and wonderfully made. Our identity as his children is one of the greatest reassurances we have that God will never leave us nor forsake us, and will always act in our best interest according to his will. We see this in Romans 8:28 where the apostle Paul writes “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Sadly, because of sin, Satan, and society, even as followers of Christ we often have difficulty remembering and holding on to our identity in the Lord. So much so that sometimes I think it’s hard for us to even comprehend and receive God’s amazing grace and mercy.
A few weeks ago, our family sat down to watch the movie version of the musical “Les Miserables” based on the French historical novel by Victor Hugo. The novel, considered one of the greatest of the 19th century, was also made into a hit Broadway musical that ran for many years which some of you have probably seen. Now not to sound too hoity-toity (now there’s a snobby word), we don’t typically watch these kinds of historical movies (this one was the contemporary version with Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe). In fact, I usually prefer action, adventure or spy-type movies. However, in this case, we watched it because Colson has been preparing for his school’s virtual spring musical, which is a production of Les Mis (oh yeah and it was showing on Netflix). The story is primarily about two men – Jean Valjean and Javert – who struggle with each other and with issues of law, grace, and mercy. It’s a great story! Valjean is an ex-convict who is shown grace and mercy by a local bishop and turns his life around. Javert is a police inspector who relentlessly pursues Valjean according to the letter of the law in order to recapture him and send him back to prison. Eventually, Valjean saves Javert’s life and extends to him the same grace and mercy he once received from the bishop. Javert, however, who was obsessed with the law, is never able to reconcile or come to grips with the grace and mercy he was shown.
Grace and mercy are two sides of the same coin. Grace is having been given favor and kindness which we do not deserve. Mercy is not receiving the just punishment or condemnation we do deserve. All of us need grace and mercy in our lives. Don’t we? It’s not hard to understand how we have all wronged somebody at one time or another. Sometimes I’m extended grace and mercy by other drivers when I mess things up or cut them off (even unintentionally). Sometimes I’m extended grace and mercy by Renae and the kids when they respond to my insensitivity or sharp words with patience and kindness. Of course, my greatest sin, all of ours, is that of disregarding, disobeying, or disrespecting God Himself. As Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all guilty and deserving of condemnation. Yet, by the sacrifice of His Son, God redeems us as His own. Romans 3:24 goes on to say “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
This is part of our identity! That despite our wrongdoing and sinfulness, we have been extended grace and mercy by Almighty God. And this is all because of His great love for us. In scripture, we regularly see God’s love, grace, and mercy together. Ephesians 2:4-5 says “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Beloved, do not resist God’s amazing grace and mercy to you. Believe on Him and hear His affirming voice as you spend time with Him in prayer and in the Word. Then go and extend God’s grace and mercy to others.
God bless you,