There is nothing we can ever do to deserve Heaven or the love of Jesus. We are too flawed, too broken, and too selfish to ever be able to overcome all of that and present ourselves worthy to God. It is only by His incredible and inexplicable love that we can obtain the privilege of coming into His presence. I have often heard sermons preached about the rewards we will receive in Heaven based on our service on earth. I think it’s important to recognize that except for the mercy of Christ, we could achieve nothing for Him. As notable Puritan Thomas Hooker prepared to die, those gathered at his bedside said, “Brother Hooker, you are going to receive your reward.” His reply was, “No, no! I go to receive mercy!”
We live and breathe because we have a merciful God. If justice were to be meted out without mercy, each one of us would be sentenced to a life of horror, forever banished from the presence of our holy God and Creator. He designed us to worship Him, and we have instead taken the life given to us and squandered it on selfish and materialistic desires. We are deserving only of death, but thanks to the blood of Christ, we are redeemed and pardoned. As Aaron Pelsue sings in his moving song, “Mercy”:
I deserve all the worst
But you offer mercy
We receive what we do not deserve because God loves us too much to leave us resigned to our own pitiful fate.
God has given all of us work to do for His Kingdom (Ephesians 2:10), but no amount of work and obedience will ever be enough on its own. Too many think they can earn God’s favor by being obedient and doing all the right things, but if Jesus had not been merciful enough to die on our behalf, God would not even be able to look at us. Our sin is too great, but thanks to the blood of Jesus we have been cleansed. God’s mercy provided a way so that our relationship with Him could be restored.
When was the last time you thanked God for His incredible mercy? Without it we would be hopeless, aimlessly drifting through life with no hope of a future. He could have left us to die. He could have started over, but He loved us too much to abandon us. Instead, He mercifully washed us clean and wrapped His arms around our hurt, our struggles, and our pain.
I don’t understand why God would be so merciful to people as messed up as me. It’s incomprehensible, but I am eternally grateful that He loves us the way He does. I don’t deserve it and neither do you. The least we can do is to live our life in a way that honors Him, to walk in obedience and humility, and acknowledge that without His mercy we would be dead in our sin. Our God is so good, so loving, and so unbelievably merciful. Spend some time thanking and praising Him for His mercy today.