It is all because of God’s grace and mercy that I am saved! This is an amazing truth that has become the bedrock upon which I live and serve my God and King! I have been a Christian for over 60 years and have served the Lord for over 40 years. Despite these decades of knowing and serving Him, I continue to marvel at His grace and mercy!
In my recent meditation on Ephesians 2:1-10, a very familiar passage, yet I was once again awe struck by God’s magnanimous love for me. How could God lavish (“pour out”) His love on me so freely when I did not deserve it at all. Paul writes “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.” (verses 4-5). The more I meditate on the depth of God’s great love for me while I was still steeped in sin and wickedness, the more I am humbled. How could God love me when I was still a sinner? When Paul contemplated on this same truth, he concluded that he was the worst of sinners. If that was how Paul viewed himself, what about me? I must be the most wretched person in the human race! The Lord then brought to my mind two hymns that succinctly capture God’s love and mercy:
“Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within,
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all my sin.” (Marvelous Grace of our Loving God)
“O the love that drew salvation’s plan,
O the grace that brought it down to man,
O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free,
Pardon there was multiplied to me,
There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.” (At Calvary)
I realized that I won’t truly understand God’s grace until I understand my own sin! We were once “disobedient, … gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts… and were by nature objects of wrath.” But God’s grace is “greater than all my sin”! Salvation is God’s greatest gift to us that cost Jesus Christ His very life. From being an object of God’s wrath, I became an object of His amazing grace – “O the mighty gulf that God did span, at Calvary,” and my burdened soul found liberty! Isaac Watts a 17th century hymn writer expressed it thus – “Amazing love, how can it be, that Thou, my God, should die for me”!
This is the foundation upon which every other truth is built. When this becomes our unshakeable foundation, it has tremendous power to change lives. Knowing that we are sons and daughters of the loving God gives us the security to extend God’s love to people who offend us and who are hostile toward God. But I can only extend God’s love to others supernaturally. Everyday I must “download” God’s supernatural grace and mercy to enable me to do the impossible – to love and extend grace and mercy to others who desperately need this. My prayer daily is that God will enable me to demonstrate His grace and mercy to all kinds of people, especially to those who are different and difficult and that with His supernatural power many more people will come to love and serve Jesus as their Lord and King in the same way He is enabling me to do daily.
By Dr Violet James, Associate Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 9&10 February 2019)