God’s Abundant Mercy
February 28, 2021
“O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” - Book of Common Prayer, The Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent
The Lenten call to self-examination, self-denial, confession, and repentance can be challenging. However, this collect reminds us of what truly leads us to these practices: God’s mercy. The Lord understands our frailty. He understands why we fall and when we fall into temptation and sin. With every fall, the Lord stands ready to catch us and to restore us. Paul wrote about this incredible mercy in his letter to the Romans: “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance”
(Romans 2:4). God’s law doesn’t motivate us to do right; God’s kindness, mercy, grace, and steadfast love are the things that underlie our devotion and good works.
Many of us have grown to believe that God is angry or disappointed with us. The cross speaks another message. God loves us and would do anything to save us from sin, death, and the work of the enemy. Through the cross of Christ, the love of God and the justice of God were perfectly demonstrated. God provided a perfect payment for sin through his beloved Son and God’s justice was perfectly satisfied through the shed blood of Jesus.
God longs to embrace you in your place of fallenness and sin. He longs to draw you near, to cover you in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and to restore you to the fullness of who he made you to be. Hearts become soft and broken when they are secure in love. As we enter this second week of Lent, how would the Lord ask you to experience his grace? How could you let go of the need to perform, the guilt, and the condemnation to embrace the invitation of the cross?
The cross summons you to come to God just as you are. As you experience the steadfast love of God and the abundant grace made available through Jesus Christ, you will honestly see the sin that holds you and acknowledge the temptations that seem to linger. Invite the Lord into those places. Ask him to give you his perspective on that sin and those temptations then allow his grace to pour over you so that you can be made clean, righteous, and healed.
Penitence comes not through self-abasement but through the steadfast love of the Savior. Transformation then happens through the power of the Holy Spirit working in you and through you not as a result of your own hard work or discipline. Lent is the holy invitation to truly look at the love of God demonstrated on the cross of Jesus Christ then to look within yourself. Does he have more for you? Does he want to set you free from habits, ways of thinking, or behaviors? God loves you with a perfect and steadfast love. In that love, he wants to set you free from all that hinders you from fully living as his beloved child.
When you live as that beloved child, he is truly glorified! Reflection:
How is the Lord calling you to experience his mercy today? Rest in that mercy, allow it to break your heart over sin, and then ask the Lord to cleanse, heal, and restore you. He is for you!
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