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…

No Other Gospel

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:6-9 / NIV)

Knowing the true gospel of Christ is so important. Being able to discern false teachings is so important. It is because there is only one way, Jesus Christ, who redeems and saves. He is the Word who was, in the beginning, with God and who was God (John1:1).

And he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). And it is not by good works or any works we do, but “by grace” one receives salvation. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are redeemed. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom.3:22-24). Because of salvation that we have received freely by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we do the good works. Because we are redeemed, we want to live the life that is worthy of the gospel. Let’s not forget that what count is not our deeds but Christ’s. Our deeds are the fruits of the gift we received from God in Christ.