That was God’s approach as well when He sent his Son. It was planned, and it was a personal sacrifice on a universal scale. It was also eternal, for through that one extraordinary sacrificial gift came two more wonderful gifts that I grab hold of on numerous occasions during the year: Mercy and Grace.
Mercy, as many of you know, is defined as “Not receiving what you do deserve,” while Grace is defined as “receiving something you don’t deserve.”
We have all sinned. Not one of us would deny that, and as Romans 8:28 states, “The wages of sin is death, . . . .” That is what we deserve. And physically we will all die. But the ending of that verse shows both God’s mercy and grace: “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Many of us accepted God’s mercy and grace when we accepted Jesus as our savior, but then often live our daily lives forgetting that these gifts are available to us each day. That when we fail or fall, God’s mercy and grace are right there for us to claim again. Too many of us repent but then continue to live in despair and discouragement rather than experiencing God’s tremendous love.
As Paul says in Romans 6, God’s grace does not give us license to continue to live in sin just so we can experience that grace, but instead that grace allows us to live a new life of freedom that He has provided us through his power.
As the new year approaches and Christmas fades into the past, and we set before us lofty goals and a desire to live in obedience to God, we must remember that we will fail and fall at times. At those times we need to remember the greatest gifts ever given to us – God’s mercy and grace. They are ours to open at any time.