“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2.4-5
This is perhaps one of the most encouraging verses in the New Testament. Not only does it tell about God’s “great love for us,” this is indeed good news — but it reminds us that he is rich in mercy. And because of his love and his mercy-rich character, we were made “alive in Christ even when we were dead in sin.” When we were lost in darkness, death was knocking at our door, the pit was too great for us to climb out, Christ rescued us.
The only way we could saved, rescued, redeemed, is by his grace. And so as Paul writes in v.5, “it is by grace that you have been saved.” It’s not by our merit or worth or works. It’s not by our ability, strength or might. It is by grace. Which means, God gave us a gift to believe and upon believing we have been saved.
In Ephesians 2.8 we are reminded that we are saved by grace through faith. Someone once told me that they were saved at birth. I do not agree with this statement. The ability for us to be saved begins at birth but it is not until we take the opportunity to respond to God’s grace by believing, by accepting, by receiving, that we are saved. The transaction occurs when we extend our hand to the hand of God already reaching out toward us. How can we receive the gift unless we take it?
So God, who is “great in love” and “rich in mercy,” did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He offered us salvation and we in turn, all who have the ability to think, reason, trust and believe, can receive salvation. God knows beforehand who will say “yes” to him, but he does not dictate who will believe and who will not. All may come freely to the cross of our Lord, we have been given free will to choose Christ or not.
As a result of God’s divine action and activity, we are enabled by God, through his Spirit, to respond in kind. We reciprocate the love of God by offering Jesus our very lives and because of this — we are made alive in Christ. Death no longer has a hold. His Spirit joins with our Spirit and we are now children of God (Romans 8.16-18).
What a good day to receive God’s love and mercy! What a good day to say yes to Christ! What a good day to be made alive in Christ and to know our purpose for living both now and in the life to come.
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for the power of the cross to save me. Thank you for offering new life to all who will believe. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your love and mercy. Help me know the truth of your words and walk this day in thankfulness. I praise you because you have saved me. Thank you for taking away my sin and giving me new life. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen