I do not have to tell you that the theme of gifts is profuse around the holiday season. If you are anything like me you have list of people you need to find, purchase and wrap gifts for. There’s family members, immediate and extended, perhaps a few friends. Maybe you have gifts for teachers and bosses. Gifts for kids involved in activities you lead. You may be purchasing gifts for people who are in need this holiday season.
There is the gift of Christ Himself, which we celebrate this blessed time of year, the first coming of Immanuel, God with us. We look forward to the gift of His second coming when all Christ’s followers are united into one with Him. There is the gift of love. Love from the heart of God which is so perfect and so pure.
With so many gifts before us, I choose today to open one dear to me and cherish it in my heart. The gift of abundant mercy.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 (NKJV)
Oh my dear friend, savor these words with me, “His abundant mercy”. Abundant. Webster’s 1828 dictionary describes abundant as being plentiful, in great quantity, fully sufficient, abounding and overflowing with. Dictionary.com adds another meaning of richly supplied.
Can you taste the sweetness of God’s words and their meaning? Abundant mercy. Mercy that is plentiful and in great quantity. Mercy that is overflowing. Mercy that is abounding. Mercy that is richly supplied.
How amazing is God! What an awesome gift this is!
Through Christ we have been brought into a living hope by God’s abundant mercy. What does this mean for us? It means that God’s mercy can not be exhausted. There is no end.
Abundant mercy means we are covered. There is no sin so great that would make us ineligible for mercy. Think of the worst sin that you have committed in your life. Think of the shame, the guilt and the punishment that you may believe that you deserve for it. The blood of Christ was shed for us. It’s like He looked upon the tab of sin, of shame, of guilt and of punishment and said, “I’ve got this”. What we receive is the receipt that says PAID IN FULL.
Think of the repeated sin. That yucky stuff that we keep willfully doing when we know it is wrong. The rebellious spirit that runs a muck in our lives. The doubt we feel that Christ could possibly forgive us again for doing the same thing over and over and over. We wonder if we are wearing His patience thin and causing His disappointment in us to rise. God says because His mercy is overflowing we can come to Him in repentance every moment of every day and He will still wrap His arms around us with a reception of love.
Abundant mercy is not a limited time, get it now, guaranteed for one hour human kind of deal. Look at the promise God gives us, “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” The NIV version states it this way, “pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” Incorruptible. Undefiled. Pure. Beyond the reach of change and decay.
We live in world all too accustomed to change and decay. Things rot, wear out and break so quickly. The years seem to pass by faster and faster. As we reflect, we see how many things have come to pass and have faded into the storage of memories in our lives. Even things that we were looking forward to for such a long time.
I remember the anticipation of high school graduation. It was the center of my life for what seemed like a long time waiting for it to happen. Then it passes. So did college graduation and the master’s degree. Now those glorious pieces of paper declaring the treasure that I was seeking are stored away collecting dust.
I think of the inheritance of our house. Yet any one who has or has had kids will understand there’s not an inch of this house that goes undefiled in someway. Cheesy fingerprints on walls. Nose prints on windows. Footprints everywhere.
God’s mercy and love for you is different. It is perfect. ALL THE TIME! It never fades. It never shrinks. God never runs out. He gives abundantly to you. He gives abundantly to me. He has enough for all of His children to experience His overflowing goodness and sweetness.
1 Peter is not the only place in the Bible that mentions God’s abundance. See 1 Timothy 1:14, “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
Grace that is exceedingly abundant. Grace that would cover not only our worst sins, or our repetitive sins, but grace that would cover the sum total of all of our sins. Every mistake in the past. Every mistake in the present. Every mistake in the future.
I do not know about you, but I sin so much. I live a life filled with it. Walk with me down my thought path for a moment. The average life span is 78 years. There are 365 days a year. That’s 28,470 days of sin in a lifetime. There are 24 hours in a day. That is 683,280 hours of sin. There are 60 minutes in an hour. That is 40,996,800 minutes of sin. That’s just an estimated average.
Now will I have some good minutes in my life? I sure hope I have and I hope I have increasingly more moving forward. On earth we like to compare. I mean there are people who have sinned a lot worse than I have right? But in Heaven, in God’s eyes, sin is sin. Every person falls short and no one can earn forgiveness for their sins.
God gives us the gift of abundant mercy, not because we deserve it, but because He wants to out of His love for us. He wants us to receive it. He want’s us to accept it. God does not want us to open this gift and find a place on a shelf for it. He wants us to accept it into our hearts, to take it out and share it with others. He wants us to carry it with us always.
Have you received God’s gift? Have you experienced His mercy and love in abundance? If you have received the gift, have you opened it or is it still sitting wrapped on the shelf? If you have opened it do you still rejoice in it? Do you spend time admiring it, being grateful for it and praise God because of it?
Today I pray that we all savor it. That we remember and sit in awe of what God’s exceedingly great abundance of mercy and grace has done for us.
Beloved and Gracious Lord,
Thank You for Your goodness, for Your grace and Your mercy. May we just be amazed by how Your love overflows from Heaven covering all of our sins of the past, present and future.
No matter what our circumstances today, Lord, may we have hope. Hope that You have set forth a great treasure for us that will not change but that will remain pure; the gift of eternal life in Your presence.
As we go forth, may we accept Your gifts, may we receive them and may we share them with others so they, too, make experience abundance.
In Jesus’ name, amen.