Five Eternal Gifts from God - Grace 9
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7, ESV)
The result of fallen mans bondage to the world, the devil and the flesh is he/she is an object of God’s wrath and judgment. What hope is there for anyone in this fallen condition? What hope is there for you and me?
It is at this point the narrative decisively turns. This change is indicated by two words: “But God!” These are the two words a good friend of mine wants inscribed on his tombstone. These two words indicate the basis of the sinner’s hope of being delivered from the wrath of God into the everlasting, loving arms of God. It is all because of God and his grace.
What has the sinner become because of God’s grace? God loves sinners because of His grace. Verse 4 begins with phrase “But God!” The word “but” is a conjunction of contrast. The text pivots on these two words and this phrase. The text not only indicates a contrast is occurring but also tells us the source of this contrast. God is the source who will change man’s condition from one of sin, death and judgment unto everlasting life.
God is able to do this being rich in mercy. The phrase “being rich” means that God presently exists as one who is abounding in resources. God is rich. Rich in what? God abounds in resources. What are the resources in which God abounds?
God is rich in mercy. God maintains a fixed position in His merciful kindness. He does not wax nor wane in mercy. Mercy is God’s kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them. The mercy and clemency Paul speaks of is of God providing and offering to men salvation by Jesus Christ. Mercy is often defined as God not giving sinners what they do deserve; judgment.
God’s mercy is not predicated by the sinner’s great love for God, but rather it based upon God’s great love for the sinner. On account, or on the basis, of God’s great love which He possesses, He loved us. This is the Greek word ἀγαπάω / agapa. It is a self sacrificial love of the will.