“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…” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
For anyone to become a Christian requires a miracle. You may have been brought up in a Christian home and lived a pretty decent, law-abiding, moral life. Or you may have had no Christian input as a child and lived a rotten, rebellious, outwardly wicked life before coming to faith. But there’s no difference in God’s eyes. By nature, we were all “dead in our trespasses.”
Dead people can’t do a great deal about their predicament, of course. Actually, they can’t do anything about it. Because, well, they’re dead. A sinful person trying harder to be good, is like a rotting corpse trying harder to breathe.
This is why it took a miraculous, spectacular, life-giving intervention from God to save us. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, God “made us alive together with Christ.”
But why did God do this? What was his motivation? God doesn’t need us. He’s utterly self-sufficient. So frankly, why bother with us? Why does a holy God, the immortal one who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16), go to all that effort for sinful creatures like us? After all, let’s face it, even after graciously being brought back to life, we still mess up, still fail, still fall far short of God’s glory.
Biblically, there are several different answers to the “why” question. But one answer comes to us in Ephesians 2:4, which points us to the perfect nature of God. We belong to the God who is “rich in mercy.” And he saved us “because of the great love with which he loved us.”
The word “rich” there is the same Greek word used over in Luke 18 to describe the rich ruler that Jesus encountered. He became very sad when Jesus told him to sell everything he had and give to the poor, “for he was extremely rich” (Luke 18:23).
Well, our God is extremely rich in mercy. He has an abundant, inexhaustible vault packed full of mercy, which he is willing to lavish on sinful, rebellious people in order to make us alive with Christ.
So here’s a question. Do you believe that the riches of God’s mercy are sufficient to deal with your day to day weaknesses and failings? His mercy wasn’t lacking when it came to the awesome miracle of raising you from death to life. So why on earth would God now turn off the golden tap of divine mercy when you mess up and fail as his adopted child? (Ephesians 1:5)
We should, of course, strive by the grace of God to live good and godly lives. In thought, word, attitude and deed. But when we fall short, let’s not be slow to run to and cry out in prayer to our merciful God. The one who, because of the great love with which he loved us, made us alive with Christ. Let’s rely daily on the extravagant riches of God’s mercy.