Can God love me any more than this?
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‘Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Christ our Lord’
1 Timothy: 1:2
These words which often form the opening greeting of Paul’s letters are the Gospel distilled. What comes flowing to us as an endless stream is grace, mercy and peace. Like the different faces of a diamond, grace, mercy and peace are different facets of the same Gospel. As someone has said, ‘Grace is a little New Testament shorthand word for the miracle of God’s mercy in Jesus Christ. Grace has a name, the name Jesus; he is grace, embodied and acted out….to say that we are under grace is to say that the final truth in our lives, the final authority by which we are made and judged, is Jesus Christ the mercy of God.’
I remember a number of years ago taking to a garden centre café my eldest granddaughter, Chloe, who was around 4 years old. It was one of those magical occasions I wished could have lasted forever. The time together was rather simple: eating ice cream and talking (which she mainly did!). As I looked into her beautiful face, her sapphire blue eyes sparkling with wonderment, the love I had for her was simply overwhelming. I thought to myself at the time, “Can God love me any less than this?” Then I realised he actually loves me more. Chloe is quite beautiful, lively and interesting - and she belongs to my family - and so of course it is not difficult to love her. But when God looks at me, what he sees, to be frank, is rather ugly, because I am deformed by my sin which makes me singularly unattractive to God. And yet in spite of that (and in one sense because of that) he loves me with a far greater intensity than I can ever love Chloe - because that is the kind of God he is - a God of grace. This is why we keep on receiving mercy although we keep on sinning. It is also why we have peace, the peace of knowing God is for me as a friend and not an enemy. The mercy which enters our hearts is that God in Christ remains the one constant whose face is always turned towards us in love.
God of all grace, you have given me a wonderful Saviour who is your grace, full, living and free. In him you extend to me your mercy which restores the prodigal. In him I find peace which will bring me home to you in glory. May I live out this day in the warm light of your grace. Amen.