BUT GOD, BEING RICH IN MERCY
"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."
// Ephesians 2:4-5
We were “children of wrath.” That wrath came from our taskmasters, as they paid out cruel wages for our work. That wrath also welled up in our hearts, for we knew we were meant to live better than we were, to live with dignity and honor, to live with joy and ease, but the injustice we suffered under slavery robbed us of what we intuitively knew our design to be. We grew angrier and angrier, each one of us believing a lie whispered in our hearts: “this is God’s fault, He did this to you.” And we, in fury or despair, sink into the depths of our hearts’ rage, thinking God is angry with us and has set Himself against us.
But God was never angry with us. Never. Not once.
We have to ponder the source of the idea that God is mad at us, that He is displeased with our behavior, because we all tend to feel it in our hearts. Where does this idea come from? Can it be verified by Christ, the Incarnation of the Father’s heart? Jesus told His disciples, “if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” So, where in the Gospels do we see Jesus angry at sin? What sinner can you identify who came to Him and was turned away because their sin was too great, because their perversion was too abominable to the Lord Himself? Not one person.
Isn’t it scary that so many of us think that God is mad, but if we look to the Person who “put a face to the Father,” we can find no evidence for it? Why then do we tend to believe something about God that is not evidenced in the Gospels? I smell a rat here, don’t you? I wonder if that former taskmaster of ours, that “old serpent, the Devil” as John calls him in the Book of Revelation, just might be engaged in a smear campaign against our good, good Father. I wonder if the ideas we have about God, that are so contrary to the truth of scriptures, arise from the slanderous mouth of the same one who tricked us into becoming his slaves in the first place.
But God. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,” stooped down, bowed His shoulder low, and lifted up the burden of our sin-slavery, took it off of us and carried it away to the Cross of Jesus. The sin which had killed us, and the death that reigned over us, all of this He hung on the Cross of His Son, forever removed from us. This is called grace. And the same grace — favor, inclination to help, empowerment, privileging — that removed our sin is the grace that empowers us to live the ascended life; the life of Jesus Himself.