But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) —Ephesians 2:4-5 (NLT)
I was poor, but God, being rich in mercy, loved me. Even though I was dead in sin, Jesus gave me a new life when He rose from the dead. When I believed in Him, I rose in a new life with Him. He buried my sinful life so I might rise in His righteous one—free of guilt and shame and fear.
The grace of Jesus is why I am saved. I do not have to prove anything to gain anything. He proved Himself for me. I have nothing to win because Jesus has won me. I am free because Jesus chose not to be. He paid the price I had no way to pay. Because of His abundant mercy and His marvelous grace, I stand forgiven. I am free.
Many believers view a relationship with Jesus as one where they have to win His love. Believing that the Old Covenant's merit system grades them, they become convinced they have to prove they are good enough for Jesus to love them. They see a relationship with Him as very restricting, when, in fact, the exact opposite is true. A relationship with Jesus is liberating and fulfilling. When I die to self, I live in Him. What was once poor in my life becomes rich because of His mercy and grace at Calvary.
“This is how love is made complete among us,” John wrote, “so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world, we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:17-18.NIV).
On the Cross, Jesus opened the door to God’s perfect love. I was made righteous by His grace. Because of this truth, I have confidence that He has saved me! I belong to Jesus. I am judged innocent because of His perfect sacrifice for my sinful nature. In this world, I am as Jesus is—perfected in His love. There is NO fear in His perfect love because fear involves punishment. There is no judgment and no penalty in grace. God judged Jesus and punished Him for me. When I believe what Jesus has accomplished, I have no fear of punishment. I know my identity in Him. He accepts me and approves of me. Once, my judge, God is now my Abba Father. He loves me without question. Just as Jesus, I am also His child.
The perfect love of Jesus declares me innocent. His grace purchased the riches of heaven for me. His Spirit molds me. What do I have to lose? Only myself in whom He has made me! When I lose myself in Jesus, I find my identity. I receive all the riches of His mercy.
© 2020 Lynn Lacher