"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
As fun as it is to think about, each of us has earned a one way ticket to no, not paradise...quite the opposite in fact, just based on the fact that we have fallen short to what God had required us to be. But, through His grace, He gave us the gift of Christ to totally wipe clean that debt that sin accumulated for us. Then, by His mercy, He didn't give us what we had coming to us, death, a permanent, unpleasant, not the kind of place you want to spend the afterlife in, death.
The bottom line in the whole mercy and grace issue is that God knew from the start how royally we messed this whole Earth thing up. We had it GREAT: no work, no pain, no saddness, no death. Life was PERFECTION! But, then this little thing called sin crept in and offered us an alternative to perfection we had and we, like the weak, fleshly beings we are, snatched it up and have dealt with the aftermath ever since. God could have just left us alone at that point. I mean, He had given us everything on a better than silver platter and we flung it in His face, saying we thought the less than perfect platter offered by some sneaky snake, was more enjoyable. He could have left us to our own devices. However, in His great compassion and kindness, He opted to give us another option to this less than perfect existence we had accepted as our fate. He sacrificed His own flesh and blood, His son. I think about that a lot since I had a child. I love that little girl sleeping on her floor right now because she refuses to sleep in a crib. I mean I love her A LOT. If God's love towards His Son was even an ounce more than the love I have for her, He loved Jesus a lot, too. Then, to willingly allow His Son to die, for a whole lot of people who didn't appreciate the sacrifice, must have pained Him deeply.
He could have made us each prove ourselves worthy of even setting foot in His presence. He could have made it all depend on how good we did in this life. He could have graded each and every one of us according to our ability to follow in His precepts. Instead, He chose to make it a "get out of jail" free card scenario, where all we had to do was believe and ask for Him to save us.
"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 9:15-16
That is why this whole mercy and grace thing is so important in Christianity. It is kind of the crux of it all. We don't deserve God's love. We can't earn God's love. He is just freely giving it to us and not giving us the fate that we deserve. That's it. That's the whole point of it, period.
If you are tired of waking up each and every day thinking about how bad you messed up the day before. If you are sick of constantly feeling the ache and pain of a broken home, broken heart, or the broken people around you. If you just want to feel as though you matter in those whole, big universe. You can. You just have to accept the free gift and the freedom from the punishment that would await you had it not been for God's grace and mercy.
Here's to not getting what we deserve...
Until next time,