Ephesians 2:4 "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
It is our nature to serve our desires whatever they may be. The socially acceptable desires we serve in the day light and the others we serve in the darkness. Some of these desires cause us to destroy others and ourselves.
God is rich in mercy. Think about that. You'll never see mercy listed on the S&P 500 but God is rich in mercy. He stockpiles it. The Psalmist wrote repeatedly "Your mercy endures forever".
What does He spend His mercy on? He spends it on us. We who like dead men or robots mindlessly serving our destructive desires are the constant recipients of His exhaustless mercies that are new every morning. Why? Because of His great love for us.
I have told this story before but it fits perfectly here. When I was in grade 8 or 9 a friend and distant cousin of mine was visibly upset on our bus ride home after school. I moved into her seat and asked her what was wrong. Long story short a group of girls had accused her of sleeping around and called her a slut. The accusations were untrue. What struck me about the conversation we had about it and etched it forever in my mind is what she said about what they said to her. She said "If that's what everyone thinks about me then I might as well be that way".
What others think about us affects deeply what we think about ourselves. We live in a culture now that is telling us we came from chance and have no future or ultimate purpose and then we are surprised by climbing rates of depression and suicide and addictions of all forms.
If others thinking less of us can cause us to think less of ourselves what might happen if others thought more of us than we had thought of ourselves? Could it affect us? Might it cause us to take a 2nd look at who and what we are?
Love awakens love. That is the primary reason Jesus came. He had a message that was too important to send any other way. He came to show us that God loves us. Radically loves us. Demoniac I love you. Prostitute I love you. Lying cheating tax collector I love you. Poor foreign widow I love you. Naked humiliated woman caught in adultery I love you. Samaritan "half breed" woman who has had 5 husbands and is now living in sin with the 6th man, I love you. Crippled man who did it to yourself I love you. Sick man who is weakened by guilt more than by disease I love you. "Evil" Roman centurion I love you. All you who hold hatred in your hearts for others I love you. All you who desire others sexually that you have no right to think of that way, I love you. All you who live on the "wrong" side of the border or tracks or speak the "wrong" language or are the "wrong" colour I love you.
He could have sent the message in writing. He could have sent it by a prophet. Truthfully He did both but He wanted to make sure we knew so He came Himself. So radical was His love that His own followers who were supposed to be sharing His love were shocked by it, offended even.
Jesus was the walking, talking heart of God.
More on this life changing, mind altering passage tomorrow...