Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The few verses preceding this passage highlight the powerless, hopeless, lifeless condition of mankind, being enslaved by our fleshly desires and being dominated by the world around us. Then we are reminded that despite our fallen condition, God looked on us with love. Not just a little bit of love – GREAT love. He knew that salvation, if left to us to earn, would be granted to none. He gave us a gift that we have only to accept through our faith. No strings attached. Nothing we have to do to keep the gift.
Why? “So that he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” He created us and gave us life and this earth to dwell on. He gave us the things we love and enjoy while we’re here (family, food, beautiful weather, etc.) But since many of the things we crave and yearn for are unpleasing to him, and eventually bring sadness and despair in our own lives, he offered a way for us to live with him in perfect eternity – just because he loved us.
It’s difficult to grasp the measure of his love, and the full meaning of this much grace. Almost daily I have to remind myself to show grace to people – over small, mostly insignificant things (cutting me off in traffic, using a large pile of coupons in the grocery checkout aisle, children spilling milk). My instant natural reaction is anger and/or frustration. And these actions aren’t even specifically committed against me personally – they’re just from people making mistakes or going about their business in life and causing me an inconvenience in the process. The concept of loving the way God loves and giving grace the way God gives it is nearly impossible to comprehend. And it has nothing to do with us – we have done, or will do nothing to deserve or earn his love. It’s just there, without fail, without end.
As you think about God today, meditate on his kindness. When you see someone or have an interaction with someone whose actions are less than perfect, try showing them grace. It won’t be easy, but I bet it will turn your heart to prayer and to thankfulness for God’s ability to love us better than we love others. 🙂
Lord, Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being a God of Grace, and for saving me through your son Jesus. Help my actions to reflect your kindness, and help me to show more grace and less frustration to others.