Pastor and author David Mathis called divine mercy “one of the most tragically misunderstood truths about God. . . . Many of us today are prone, by nature and nurture, to see God’s mercy as peripheral or incidental to who he is. We suspect that perhaps he shows mercy by accident or weakness. But if we let the Scriptures have their say, we will see that when God shows his mercy, he does so with utter intentionality and strength, and we as his creatures get our deepest glimpse of who he is [from it].”
God’s mercy shows His heart. As the apostle Paul continued to expound the truths of salvation, we learn more not only about God’s plan but also about His character. Salvation is moving from death to life. Death is conquered—God is a God of life!
Before salvation in Christ, we were “dead in [our] transgressions and sins” (vv. 1–3). Spiritually lifeless and unable to turn to God, in a state of rebellion and alienation from Him, we lived in a worldly and even satanic manner, in that Satan and his fallen angels are the inspiration for all disobedience. Our top value in life was “gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.” This is less than human, not what God intended for beings created in His image. In this state, we fully deserved His wrath (see John 3:36).
But now we are alive in Christ! This also means we’re dead to sin. God’s love, mercy, grace, and kindness raised us to life and brought us into a state of friendship with God (vv. 4–7). In our own strength we were utterly unable to help ourselves, but in Christ we now share in His victory and are seated with Him at God’s right hand. Throughout eternity, we’ll be joyous evidence of the “incomparable riches of his grace” (v. 7).
We need not wait for heaven to confront the world with evidence of the incomparable riches of God’s mercy. Are you able to share your personal testimony as a meaningful “but God” story? “I was dead—but God.” “I was lost—but God.” “I was in bondage—but God.” Jot down notes for telling your story in order to give God glory.