Friday, 22 July 2016
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, Ephesians 2:4
This thought picks up after verse 2:1 –
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, … But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,”
The intervening verses simply explained the details of our dead condition. They described living in a state of certain ruin from which there was no escape and only an inevitable and final bringing on of God’s wrath could be expected. However, as the Pulpit Commentary so beautifully states it, “Man’s extremity becomes God’s opportunity.” Where we were destined for certain destruction, God stepped in and redirected the situation for us.
The word “but” is emphatic and conveys the absolute sovereignty of God in the matter. We could do nothing. We were in an impossible state of death leading unto death. But God transcends our realm, and what is impossible for us is entirely within His abilities. And yet there is more. Not only is correcting the matter within His ability, it is a part of His very nature to take the action.
“But God” shows the absolute contrast between our helpless condition and God’s ability to correct it.
“Who is rich in mercy” reveals that mercy is a part of His nature. Just as He is gracious, truthful, holy, loving, etc., He is also merciful. It defines His character. And this mercy is “rich.” The Greek word gives the idea of “muchness.” He is simply abounding in mercy towards the objects of His affection. The mercy, therefore, streams from Him in abundance.
“Because of His great love” shows that the mercy is directly connected to His love. Just as mercy defines His nature, so does love. And as His mercy abounds, so great also is His love. It overflows from Him as a spring overflows its opening. The water is impelled up and out by the force of pressure. It is as if in Him, the outflowing of His love cannot be bottled up. Instead, it streams from Him towards His elect as is seen in the words, “with which He loved us.” Again, the Pulpit commentary notes that “the verb of love governing the noun of love makes the idea rich and strong. This view of the exuberance of the Divine attributes from which salvation has its rise is in harmony with the whole character of the Epistle.”
Paul’s explanation of what occurs towards us when we are “in Christ” is revealed throughout the letter, and it conveys to us the highest sense of God’s reaching out to His creatures, demonstrating His infinite attributes through the giving of His Son for us.
As the psalmist cried out, so should we also call out from our souls –
Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven!
For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 136:26
Life application: When we fail to act as we should; when we really mess up and think, “How could God still love me?”; we can come to this verse and ponder it. Because of Christ, God’s mercy simply flows over us, His love surrounds us, and His eternal salvation continues to adorn us. Let us pick ourselves back up, and proceed on with pursuing Christ – who already pursued us!
Lord God, Your mercy towards us in Christ Jesus is simply unimaginable. We were dead in our trespasses, and yet You stepped in and revealed to us Your great goodness in the giving of His life in exchange for ours. What kind of love has been lavished upon us! Now, O God, help us to pursue You just as You pursued us. Direct our steps according to Your will for us, and give us the wisdom to not stray from that marvelous path. To Your glory we pray. Amen.