I once had a friend greet me with the commonly heard phrase, “How are you doing.” I responded, “Much better than I deserve.” My friend gave me a rather odd look and said, “Well, that may be; only you know what you’ve been doing.” It seemed that he took my words, “Much better than I deserve,” as an admission of some sort of wrong-doing. Not at all! When a Christian considers how he is doing, he realizes that he really is doing much better than he deserves.
First, who among us deserves God’s love? Yet, God loves us anyway! Men often persist in sin in spite of God’s clear warning against its consequences. Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Men often continue in their rebellion despite God giving them ample opportunity to repent. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
Even when we turn our backs on God and stubbornly ignore His will, God still loves us. When we persist in a life of rebellion against Him, God still loves us. God loves us with a love that cannot be measured, a love that has no borders (Ephesians 3:18-19). Most of us are familiar with the parable of the prodigal son, found in Luke 15:11-32. The younger son went to a far country and wasted what his father had given him. He wasted his substance with riotous living, no doubt a reference to a lack of self restraint and involvement in those practices which went against what his father had taught him. Later, the son repented and returned to his father. But how did the father, who represents God in the parable, react? He was filled with compassion, ran, fell on his neck, and kissed him. He lovingly welcomed him home! When we stray from God and live in rebellion, God is still full of compassion toward us. He is still longing for the time when he can welcome us home.
Why then, if man is often so rebellious, does God continue to love? Because anything else would be contrary to His nature! John wrote, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (I John 4:8). God’s love for us was manifested, or made known, when He sent His only begotten Son into the world. It is through his Son that we have the hope of eternal life. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (I John 4:9).
Second, who among us deserves our salvation? Yet, God saves us anyway! Can we do anything that would make God indebted to us? Not at all! Can we do anything to save ourselves without God’s gift of His son? Not at all! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We are saved by God’s grace; most simply defined as God’s unmerited favor toward man. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Could we possibly save ourselves apart from the blood of Christ? Not at all! “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8). God sacrificed his son for a sinful people who lacked the strength, the power or ability, to save themselves.
Third, who among us deserves heaven? Yet, God has promised it to us anyway. The Bible describes heaven as a place where God will wipe away all tears, where there will be no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, and no more pain. All these things will have passed away (Revelation 21:4). Yet what we deserve is the exact opposite of all this. That’s why death is referred to as the wages of sin, but eternal life is referred to as a gift (Romans 6:23).
God has truly been good to us. How are you doing?