The Grace and Mercy of God
What Others Have Said: John Piper
God’s settled purpose is to be gracious to those who are in Christ Jesus. And lest we miss the sweetness and gentleness and gladness of the word “grace,” he adds the words, “in kindness toward us.” Now ask yourself this question: If there were one person in all the universe the benefits of whose kindness you could choose, who would it be? Would it not be God? You might be able to think of a thousand things that would be kindness to you. But then your imagination would run out. But God’s imagination will never run out.
And to make this clear Paul uses the word “riches.” God’s purpose is to spend the “riches of his grace in kindness on us.” And then to assist our faltering imagination he adds the word “immeasurable” or “surpassing” or “incomparable.” How rich is God? I read in the paper recently that Queen Elizabeth is worth about four billion dollars. Now if you got a letter in the mail from Queen Elizabeth which said that she had taken an oath by the blood of her son to spend her riches to show you as much kindness as she could for the rest of your life, wouldn’t you get excited? And her wealth compares to God’s like a grain of sand to the Sahara Desert.
But that’s not all. She could only show you kindness for a few years—ten, thirty, sixty maybe. But look what Paul says God intends to do for you? “That in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” How long is an age? And how many ages are coming? Well, the answer is simple: all of them that lie in the future are coming. So it doesn’t matter how long one of them is.
Do you know why Paul had to say it this way? Because that’s how long it will take God to run out of fresh ideas about how to show you kindness. When eternity ends, God will have run out of ways to show you kindness. Now tell me, when does eternity end?
Christ came into the world to die for sinners so that God would have a people who would value the riches of his kindness forever. Are you one of those? How can you not be one of those, when you compare the wealth of God with the wealth of Queen Elizabeth?
We were by nature children of wrath, BUT GOD has promised us eternal kindness instead.
Verses to Meditate Upon:
Ephesians 2:4-6 ~ 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— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Titus 2:11-12 ~ For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age
2 Timothy 1:9 ~ Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
Questions to Consider:
- What is the definition of mercy? Of grace? Prepare yourself to give a biblical definition of these terms when asked what they mean.
- What was your condition apart from Jesus Christ? How do you know that you did not contribute to your salvation?
- Why is a biblical understanding of God’s grace necessary to live a godly life and “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10, ESV)?
Action to Take:
- The next time you are discouraged, take time to read through Ephesians 2 and then start a list of all the blessings God has given you that you do not deserve. (I’m sure you’ll get to 100 in no time!).
- Think about the condition of the lost and their need for a Savior. Think of one unsaved person in your “circle” and commit to praying for them each day for a week then set a date for when you will tell them about how God saved you by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.