Salvation: God’s Mercy to the Undeserving

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. (Romans 9:14-16)

As I was reading through a few chapters of Romans, the word ‘mercy’ caught my attention. I am not sure exactly where I stand in terms of the Calvinism vs. Arminianism per se, yet I know I am one of the elects, God’s chosen people. God revealed Himself to me, called me to repent and believe Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and adopted me as His child. I have new life in Christ, yet I know there are many who have not received the gift of new life that can be found in Jesus alone. And the scripture I read tonight reminded me of something that often seems to be forgotten by some who have that life. Through the scripture, God, not for the first time, taught me that I did not earn salvation. When Jesus died on the cross, he did not die for some who deserve that kind of love. Just as no one deserved salvation back then, so does no one deserve it now. When God revealed Himself to me and the way to have reconciliation with Him, it was simply an act of mercy on His part. What did I do to have His mercy on me? NOTHING. What could I have done to have His mercy on me? NOTHING. If I did something to have Him to show me His mercy, that would not have been mercy at all. Mercy is a favor that is given to those who do not deserve that favor.

As Paul the apostle asked, would God be unjust for not showing mercy to some but not to others? I do not think so. A few reasons I can think of this moment are as follows. 1 Doing right does not deserve a “favor” but is simply right, 2 Doing right is good but still does not deserve a reward, 3 Doing wrong is wrong and deserves “just treatment,” aka. punishment. I mentioned earlier, salvation depends on God’s mercy. No one deserves it, but He still freely chooses to save some. If, because of our wickedness, we need lots and lots of God’s work in our lives, let’s call it “tons of mercy,” in order for us to respond properly to His call to salvation, we can say God showed tons of mercy to only some but not to others. However, we can’t still say that He is unjust or bad for not saving the others because they did not deserve His favor from the first place as no one did. He just has been too good to some, including myself.

As I was thinking about this, I was humbled again before Him. It is hard to comprehend the mind of my God. I asked, “Why, God? Why did You choose me to be Yours? Why are You so good to me?” I do not fully understand why I was chosen, but I am chosen by Him. And He has given me one task to do here. To make His name famous. Thank You for giving me life that I do not deserve. Thank You for choosing me, and thank You for sustaining me. Thank You for the mercy…

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Father’s Love

Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel like you keep coming to God asking for forgiveness for the same sins? You pray that He would forgive you for doing something, and few days, weeks, or months later you come back and pray again for the same problem. I have. And many times I hesitated before praying. I feel like I shouldn’t ask Him for forgiveness because I am afraid that I would come to Him again for the same exact problem. What should I do? I hated myself because I sinned against Him again. I had asked Him for forgiveness already for the same problem, and I did it again. I feel like I am asking Him for too much. I think I shouldn’t ask Him to forgive me again. What should I do? I felt helpless, ashamed, and miserable. Have you ever felt the same?

Let me share with you the message He gave me today.

 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? Who can bring accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.’ For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

This is the kind of love that He did and still does. He gave up His own son when you and I were still sinners, His enemies. We were at a war against Him, the Creator and the Lord. And after redeeming us from that status, adopting us as His children, Jesus Himself intercedes for us. I was afraid of going before Him because of what I had done, but He encouraged me to come before Him with every burden I had. He reminded me that He is God who forgives. He reminded me of His mercy and grace that He has poured upon my life and many others’. Honestly, I do not understand why He loves us that much. Why is He so gracious and merciful towards us? My heart breaks but, at the same time, rejoices. I am deeply grieved that I am so weak that I fall over and over again. I am sorrowful that I am no way close to be where God desires me to be. I am so blessed that He chose me to be His. I am so thankful for who my Father is. I am so overwhelmed by His grace and mercy and love that He has shown me.

O So Amazing Love of God

Psalm 103:11-12 (from NIV)

 

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.


 

 

As I was reading through Psalm 103, these two verses struck my head. The psalmist described God’s love being as high as above the heavens are above the earth. The Hebrew word shamayim (heavens) in the OT normally refers to the realm in which God himself abides. It is not a place that any man on his own can ever reach or see. I asked myself, “Then, how high would the heavens be above the earth?” All of sudden, I was stunned. The answer was simply, “I don’t know, and no one does.” No one can measure because it is beyond our reach, and that is how great the love of God for those who fear him.

and for those who fear him, God demonstrated this incredible love for them by removing their transgressions as far as the east is from the west. Did you hear that? I mean .. the east and the west .. they are completely separate. No matter what we do through our human technology and science or how hard we try through all means, we will never see the east and the west being upon each other. They will remain as far as they are now – the east and the west.  God removed our transgressions from us to the extent that transgressions would never be found with us.

Yet, according to the psalmist, this love that removes our transgressions is not for everyone, but for those who fear him. They are the ones who love and honor him. They are the ones  who know who he is and who they are. They are the ones who acknowledge the Lordship of God and accept Jesus as their Savior because Jesus Christ is the only One through whom anyone can truly see and know God. Only in Christ Jesus, we are no longer sinful but righteous because Jesus Christ, through his suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection, paid for all the iniquities and transgressions.

I was so thankful at the moment I realized how much I am loved by my God the Father in heaven. The love of God that has been poured upon me through my lover Jesus Christ is immeasurable and “completely” cleansed me from my sins. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed my sins from me through Christ.

What’s more amazing about this love of God is that the whole thing started by Him! Some might ask, “well, doesn’t he love those who fear him because they fear him? Doesn’t it make the people the initiators?” and I would reply, “No. God is the initiator.” The Bible affirms that we are from dust (Gen. 2:7, 3:19; Eccl. 3:20; 1 Cor. 15:47-49; also, this psalm itself in verse 14).

The psalmist said, as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; For  he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. God created us, and this means that he owns us. Before God gave us life, we were nothing but dust. To me this very fact says that God from the first place does not have any reason to “love” his creatures, and more so if they do not appreciate Him being the Creator but only act against Him. Yet, because God himself is love, He loves us. Our fear of God, from God’s sight, is almost “nothing” (because we are nothing but dust), yet God chose to see it as worthy of his “LOVE”. It is completely his choice to love us when he could just do not care about rebellious creatures of his own. If he desired to turn us back to dust, we would not have any right to even complain. This makes everything He has done for me an act of His amazing love that He chose to start. Plus, unless God reveals this mystery of his love for humanity, no one can ever get to know it. Seriously, who would understand the kind of love when it says He loves us because we are “nothing but dust”?

It was a refreshing moment for me. It is “always” exciting to be reminded of God’s love, so I wanted to share this psalm with everyone I contact with. I hope this word would enrich the life of anyone who reads it with this “O So Amazing Love” of our Father in heaven. He loves me and you greatly, so let’s live today as someone being so greatly loved!

in Christ

Hannah