“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved…” Ephesians 2:4-5
Who is excited that we have finally made it to Ephesians chapter two? Three weeks of Bible study, homework, and hard work are under our belts, and although it took us quite awhile to get through only one chapter, we have laid a sturdy foundation to build upon. To those of you who are on your very first journey through Scripture, I am so proud of you! To the veterans of the faith, I am so honored to walk alongside of you. To all, I am thrilled to be on this verse-by-verse trek through the book of Ephesians with you. And today, we dive head first into chapter two!
As we learned in “The Honest Truth” of Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul held nothing back in painting a brutally honest picture of what our lives look like apart from Christ. There’s no pretty way of looking at it. Life before or apart from Christ is ugly, bleak, and depressing, which makes today’s portion of Scripture that much sweeter to the taste.
I love the word mercy. Just say it, out loud. Mercy. It embodies the idea of not getting what we do deserve, the lifting of the penalty, the removal of the due sentence. After having looked at Ephesians 2:1-3 in depth, we should be fairly certain of what we deserve based on our lives before Christ. Death. That’s it. The wages of sin is death, and when we were in sin, we were dead in it, lost and separated from Christ. “But God” (Ephesians 2:4)…what an incredibly beautiful two words to start us off today. “But God…”
Something we must come to understand when we come to faith in Christ is the richness of His mercy and the greatness of His love. Too often, I’ve heard people tell me that although they fully believe in God’s mercy and love towards others, they simply cannot imagine that God would extend it towards them. In their minds, they have gone too far. They can’t possibly believe that God’s mercy could or would cover their sin. Even if they don’t actually articulate this, their lives are characterized by this belief. They won’t darken the doorstep of a church. They refuse to get involved in Christian community. They fear embracing accountability. They won’t receive God’s mercy.
Let me tell you something about the mercy of God. It’s an ocean. It’s wider and deeper than the eye can see or the mind can comprehend. It’s greater than the heart could long for it to be. And what makes it even better, this mercy and love that brings us into salvation, is that it rescued us when we were still sinners. That is a good God. That is a loving Savior. That is a faithful Father. That is my Jesus.
When we were dead in our sin, Christ made us alive through His power. This power that brings life from death within us is the same power that energizes and enables every aspect of Christian living. Therefore, although difficult at times, living a Christian life according to the standards and principles of God’s Word is possible, even in a culture that rejects it. Take a moment and read Romans 6:11-14. What encouragement do you receive from these verses as you seek to maintain a close walk with Jesus?
Oceans of mercy and waves of grace, washing over us as we receive God’s invitation of love. The stains of our pasts made clean, the guilt and shame removed, the burdens of our foolish choices lifted, in the oceans of His mercy, beneath the waves of His grace. And He invites you in. Stop wading in the shallow waters. Go deeper. Let His mercy and love overwhelm you and pull you into the depths of His embrace.