“The grace of our Lord was poured on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14).
I mentioned the other Sunday that together with the apostle Paul, disciples of Jesus can say these words. (Stop right now and read the verse aloud, pretending that you wrote it!) God is abundant in the grace giving department. Consider also the mercy He extends to us, as Paul notes one verse earlier.
Grace and mercy are two words that we often use interchangeably. I sometimes mix up which one means what exactly. Singer Wayne Watson has cleared it up for me a great deal in his song simply entitled “Grace” (from his CD Living Room):
“Grace keeps giving me things I don’t deserve.
Mercy keeps withholding things I do.”
I quoted that when we were talking about 1 Timothy 1 the other week. What I didn’t quote were a few lines from another Wayne Watson song that especially makes me appreciate God’s mercy.
First a little context: People sometimes use the expression that they want what’s coming to them, that they want what they deserve. Who hasn’t said, “I deserve better than this?” However, texts like Ephesians 2 remind us that what we really deserve is God’s wrath. Our holy God doesn’t have the time of day for the slightest trace of sin, but we have soiled ourselves in it.
In his song “Merciful Heaven” (from his self-titled CD), Wayne Watson sings:
“Some people want what they deserve,
but not me, no, I know my heart too well.
And I’ve just barely got the nerve
to make this one request,
and I know that You will hear me…”
Even when we were dead in our transgressions, God not only hears and sees us, He makes us alive in Christ, pure and whiter than snow! Amazing mercy!
“…You’ve got the power and I have the need:
Merciful Heaven, have mercy on me.”