When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
The Meaning of Mercy
In the early 1800s, Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as emperor of France. His word was final. A woman appeared before him one day. She was seeking a pardon for her son.
Napoleon explained to her why this was not possible: Her son was guilty of committing a serious crime not once but twice. Under the law of the land, he had been sentenced to death.
But the mother persevered. “I plead for mercy for my son,” she said.
“But your son does not deserve mercy,” pronounced the emperor. It was then that this mother got to the heart of the matter. “You are correct,” she said. “My son does not deserve mercy. But if he did, it would not be mercy. And mercy is all I ask for.”
“Then I will have mercy,” Napoleon said. He spared her son’s life.
This woman understood the meaning of mercy. The apostle Paul did too. Paul said that, with the arrival of Jesus Christ, “God saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” The Son of God invaded our time and space to conduct a rescue mission. He rescued us from the curse of our own sin. He did this through the perfect life and innocent death he lived and died on our behalf.
But why? Here is where Paul gets to the heart of the matter. God did this not because we deserved it; not because he saw us as diamonds in the rough; not because we’ve done something that made us sparkle in his eyes. He did it because of his mercy.
It’s his mercy through Jesus Christ that makes your relationship with God so secure. It doesn’t depend upon what you have done for God. It depends on what the Savior, in mercy, has done for you.
Lord Jesus, in my moments of anxiety and doubt, fill me with your Holy Spirit. Through your Word, remind me that my relationship with you rests not on what I do for you, but upon your mercy. Amen.