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Why Did God Rescue Us?


Text: Ephesians 2:4-7  

Paul has given us a shocking assessment of the very nature of all humanity, in every age, in every location, people of all races and creeds, men and women… They are all polluted with sin, and we discovered in Ephesians 2:4, that Paul had inserted two very important and pivotal words: BUT GOD.  Someone once remarked that right here we have the biggest BUT – a contrast – in the Bible. Here’s why. Because it is an unexpected twist. There’s many’s a novel has a twist like that. But none of them can compare with this twist, this BUT.

  • It invokes wonder and praise in the Christian believer! The purpose of this BUT is that we should stand back in amazement at what the Lord has done for us. It is to make us think our own sinfulness, and to be filled with wonder that God could every love a sinner like me. Paul himself knew this experience. Romans 7:24-25  This BUT brings hope into our hopelessness, light into our darkness, brings life out of death.  
  • It demonstrates the sovereignty of God. It is God who saves us, and not us. Despite our rebellion, and despite the distress that it brings to our Creator, he has done something about it! He sent his own spotless Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for us. At Calvary, all my sinful pollution was placed upon Him, – yours too – and he bore it, and God poured out the wrath that was due to to me, upon his own sinless son. He took all my punishment, my hell, and so God’s wrath was satisfied, and I am set free! 2 Corinthians 5:21  

So why did God give so much, so great a sacrifice, to rescue us from our self-inflicted state of eternal loss? The answer is given here. It is because:

1 God’s Mercy is Very Rich. But God, who is rich in mercy,

The first reason that Paul gives us for why a holy God would want to rescue sinners is that his mercy is vast, and it was in that great act of mercy that he saved us. So, what is mercy? More specifically, what is God’s mercy? Let’s think about that for a minute:-

  • God’s mercy cannot be earned! Titus 3:5 Mercy is something that is granted to us with no merit on our part. We don’t deserve God’s intervention on our behalf.
  • God’s mercy is vast! Paul speaks here about its richness. It is abundant mercy. 1 Peter 1:3  
  • God’s mercy is unending. God’s mercies towards us never cease. Lamentations 3:23  Because God’s mercy is part of his character it is unchanging, for he is the unchangeable God. We call that God’s ‘IMMUTABILITY.’ Malachi 3:6

2 God’s Love is Very Great. for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Of course, God’s mercy is a product of his Love. God is love, 1 John 4:8 ἔλεος (eleos) – his pity for us, his compassion.  God’s mercy flows from his love, and that love is very great. When we speak of love, in this context, – God’s love, we’re not talking about the kind of mushy sentimental love that you see on TV or sing about in popular ballads. God love is love in action. It is love that works. How can we estimate the greatness, the vastness of the love of God?

  • It is love that is measured by how much it costs, John 3:16
  • It is love that is measured by how little we deserved it. Romans 5:5–8
  • It is loved that is measured by the fact that we did not want it! We have spurned his love! We take everything that he has created for us and given to us for granted. 1 John 4:19 
  • It is love that is measured by the amazing benefits that are bestowed upon us as a result of it! We are rescued from eternal condemnation and promised a place in heaven with God and fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore! ,What all-surpassing love! 1 John 3:1-2 
  • It is love that is measured by its willingness to give. God’s love for us is freely given.  Jesus said, John 10:18  

Paul again, Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us

3 God’s Kindness is Immeasurable. 7 that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Finally, God has rescued his people from their sin and condemnation because of his kindness. Paul links the kindness of God with his grace, – the unmerited favour he bestows upon us,  and in both cases he uses superlatives, he speaks of the exceedingly rich grace of God in his kindness. The thought of our divine rescue fills him with praise, and he is using up his vocabulary in this inspired attempt to describe God’s kindness toward him. It’s the second time he has used that phrase, ‘riches of his grace.’ Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace

Now we have been able to make some assessment, and get some appreciation of the greatness of God’s love, but Paul is struggling to measure God’s kindness, and he admits that we will only fully understand the fulness of that kindness when we arrive home in heaven, and we meet the Saviour, face to face, when God will show us just how great, just how amazing his grace and kindness are. 1 Corinthians 2:9 

So, it is in his mercy, his grace and his kindness, that God redeems and forgives sinners like us. Again, we ask, but why? Why his mercy and love and kindness? God didn’t have to have mercy upon us or love us or be kind to us. He could have destroyed us for our sin. But he didn’t. Lamentations 3:22-23   It is all for his pleasure and glory. Romans 9:15  

In our next study, we will see HOW the great rescue was accomplished.

© Bob McEvoy

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