God’s Grace and Mercy

“I will answer them before they even call to me.
While they are still talking about their needs,
I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
The wolf and the lamb will feed together.
The lion will eat hay like a cow.
But the snakes will eat dust.
In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”     Isaiah 65:24-25 (NLT)

He suffered and endured great pain for us,
but we thought his suffering was punishment from God.
He was wounded and crushed because of our sins;
by taking our punishment, he made us completely well.
All of us were like sheep that had wandered off.
We had each gone our own way,
but the Lord gave him the punishment we deserved.    Isaiah 53:4-6 (CEV)

As I read through the story of Christ’s journey this week in Luke’s gospel, my mind and heart turn overwhelmingly to Jesus’ great love for me. And here is the prophet Isaiah telling me, just as John does in 1 John 4:19, that God loved me first before I even knew Him or knew how much I needed His love. Jesus was heckled and pursued by hypocritical men who would not rest until they killed Him, primarily because He challenged their self-satisfying life and traditions. Jesus laid down His life because He had no other greater way to show His great love for me (John 15:13).

The Sunday School class of which I am a member is studying the book of Hebrews right now. I am fascinated by what I am hearing about sacrifices, the Tabernacle, and the High Priest. We are up to chapters 8 and 9 and it was at 9:26 that I underlined a phrase: once for all. Jesus, not a Levite but the Son of God, made a sacrifice that was perfect because He was perfect. He gave Himself, because of His great love, as a blood sacrifice that would never have to be repeated. He made the sacrifice – once – for all. I had to stop and just savor that enormous statement. I saw in my mind Jesus holding out His hands for the shackles. I saw Him standing quietly and meekly in front of the accusing High Priest and Roman governor, His body bruised and bloodied. I shuddered as I saw Him hung on a cross in a horrific crucifixion. He was the sacrifice, the eternal covenant, made once for all. And I weep in gratitude. He loves me so very much.

It is impossible for me to meditate on God’s grace, His unconditional love, without considering in the same breath His mercy, His forgiveness. I am a sinner. What Jesus did on that cross, thought horrific and foolish by some, He did for me. Once for all my sins.

How Great is Our God written and sung by Chris Tomlin


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