The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Marvel of Mercy, Glory of Grace"
"God gave to Christ what we deserve on the cross. He gives to us what Christ deserves in salvation."
Many have suggested through the ages that grace can be defined as God giving us what we do not deserve, while mercy means that He does not give us what we do deserve.
We might also say that grace involves God giving to us what Christ deserves, while mercy directs us to the cross of Calvary, where our Heavenly Father gave the Lord Jesus the suffering, forsakenness, and death we deserve.
"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities" (Isaiah 53:10-11).
Whichever perspective we choose, an inverse relationship presents its grace and mercy to us. Our Heavenly Father calls us to see Christ and ourselves in a completely counterintuitive perspective. At Calvary, God the Father saw His perfectly righteous Son through the lens of sin and of sinners, judging Him in the solemn light of having "made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin" (II Corinthians 5:21). In a manner beyond our comprehension, the Son became sin in the eyes of God and suffered His wrath against sinners. God gave to Christ what we deserve, that the marvel of mercy might be freely bestowed on us. "He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities" (Psalm 103:10). In fact, the Lord Jesus so suffered God's wrath as the bearer and be-er of our sin that He "will not impute sin" to those in Christ (Romans 4:8). "Marvel of mercy" indeed!
Accompanying the marvel, the glory of God's grace in Christ imputes His righteousness to believers as a freely given gift- "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." God sees us through the lens of Christ, that is, our Savior's person and redeeming work on our behalf. He accounts us as "accepted in the Beloved" when we believe, based on Christ's alienation from the Father and the Holy Spirit on the cross: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Ephesians 1:6; Matthew 27:46). To the degree our Lord was forsaken at Calvary, we will never be forsaken throughout all eternity (Hebrews 13:5). We deserve no such thing, either in the inception of salvation or its continuance. However, grace imparts to us what Christ deserves, namely, the loving favor of God forevermore. "Glory of grace" does not begin to describe the wonder of such redemption!
Let us again affirm the marvel and the glory: God gave to Christ what we deserve on the cross. He gives to us what Christ deserves in salvation. We do well to frequently and prayerfully ponder that which seems strangely inverse to us, but which forever and perfectly correlates in the mind of God according to His love, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. How good that He knows the mystery so perfectly, and how good that the marvel and the grace will forever remain beyond our capacity to fully comprehend. Never, however, will it be beyond our capacity to believe and to respond by seeking to more and more love the One who so perfectly and wondrously loves us.
"The love of Christ… passeth knowledge."
"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich" (II Corinthians 9:8).
Weekly Memory Verse
We love Him because He first loved us.
(I John 4:19)