A devotional thought from Joey Jernigan for “Our Identity”
Read Ephesians 2:3-5; Titus 3:1-7.
If you have children, you may have attempted what I am about to describe. When we were ready to begin teaching our oldest daughter basic tasks, such as cleaning her room, brushing her teeth, and not crying when we dried her hair, we created a chart. We told her that she would get a sticker for each task she completed in a given day, and when she reached a predetermined number of stickers we would get her a present. Think of this as an illustration of giving or receiving a gift based upon good works.
Grace has a traveling companion named mercy. Mercy is the withholding of what we do deserve. The two walk together, and they are both necessary to provide our salvation. God is not simply gracious, He is merciful. He withholds the wrath we deserve for sin by offering us the grace-gift of His Son. Taken together, we can see a beautiful synthesis of both the love and holiness of God.
The giving of Jesus to a rebellious world was motivated by the love God had for the world. However, God could not let sin simply be swept under the rug as though it never happened, for His holiness demands that He must punish sin. God’s gracious gift of Jesus enabled His merciful act upon the cross, pouring out upon Jesus what we deserved. This provided the opportunity for us to receive forgiveness that we do not deserve. With Paul we can truly say that God does not save because of any good done by us. He saves us by withholding the just punishment for our sins (mercy) through receiving the undeserved gift of His Son, Jesus (grace).
Pause and Reflect
• How are grace and mercy alike? How are they different?
• Why was it necessary for God to show grace and mercy?