Thursday, January 10, 2008

Love, Mercy, Grace and Faith

There is a great principle that is found throughout the Holy Bible concerning God’s love, mercy, grace and faith. The Apostle Paul states it very clearly in Ephesians 2:1-9. In the first three verses he states the dreadful condition of man’s soul and that the wrath of God was his destiny.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” (Ephesians 2:4 NASU)

It is a beautiful expression, “God is ‘rich’ in mercy;” overflowing or abundant, more than sufficient. Thus mercy is the riches or the wealth of God rendered in abundance to someone who is miserable, needy and hopeless, someone who is without claim to favorable treatment.

Mercy is closely related to compassion in the Holy Scripture; their differences are barely definable. The Greek word from which compassion is derived means literally “from the bowels,” denoting the deep innermost being, an intensely emotional reaction to someone or something in a hopeless condition. Mercy, therefore, is both feeling compassion and acting upon it. Thus mercy can be though of as compassion in action.

The most important fact about mercy in the Bible is that God is the fountain of mercy. There are, to be sure, references to human displays of mercy in the Bible but God was the source. If man desires mercy from man he must go to God and ask Him to supply it.

God’s infinite love is the groundwork of man’s salvation; in reference to man that love assumes the form of mercy, and that mercy provides the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is God’s love that motivated Him to be “rich in mercy” and moved Him to the greatest act of compassion ever shown man.

“Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:5 NASU)

The hopeless is the sinner who is without hope, born into Adam, bound to eternal death under the Law of sin and of death. When Adam sinned against God he became separated from the life of his soul, God’s Spirit of life, and became one with his flesh; thus he became “sin in the flesh.” Every child of the flesh of Adam is born “sin in the flesh” and he sins because he is born a sinner. And like Adam, does not have the Spirit of Life in him; thus he is spiritual dead.

In Christ is the Law of the Spirit of Life (Romans 8:1-2) and by the grace of God we are made alive with our resurrected Lord through a spiritual rebirth. So from God’s love and mercy comes grace.

And by grace God has exalted the believer.

“and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6-7 NASU)
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASU)

The grace of God the Father has been placed on every man’s plate through the sacrificial death of His Son on the cross of Calvary; He died “to take away the sins of the world.” But the message of the Gospel is that to partake of this wonderful grace, the gift of eternal life that is on every man’s plate, one must believe (John 3:16), he must have a lasting faith (Matthew 24:13) and put total trust in the work of Christ for the salvation of his soul.

But where does one get such a faith, a faith that leads to the Divine attribute of faithfulness? “Faith comes by hearing,” but how does one hear? “And hearing by the word of Christ;” (Romans 10:17 NASU). So it is the word of God being preached by the anointed preacher (Romans 10:14-15) that quickens the ear of the spiritually dead and causes the dead to hear. And hearing the word of God the formerly dead turns away from his sins (repents) and receives the gift of faith. Thus the faith that God’s grace works through is a gift from God and not of works or anything that man conjures up, thus he cannot boast.

Therefore we have the great principle of God’s love resulting in mercy, and from mercy the gift of faith, and grace working through the gift of faith in Christ Jesus, resulting in redemption. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

We leave the reader with this though: Salvation is not by the works of the Law or works of faith, but by faith through God’s grace. Unless we repent and receive His gift of faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). We are justified by faith and we must live by faith (Romans 1:17) and by faith we faithfully walk in the works that God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10), but it is the grace of God that flows from His fountain of love and mercy that saves our soul, working through His gift of faith.

James C Sanford

No comments: