We’re often eager to see God’s compassion extend to those who (we believe) deserve something good rather than to those who are undeserving. But we often forget we are all undeserving. “Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of God’s wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ. . .” (Ephesians 2.3b-5).
One thing gives us courage to admit we are lost, to step out of our hiding place, to realize our arrogance, and walk in faith: it’s an invitation to receive mercy. Mercy is not that we invite God into our life, but God invites us into his: “God made him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5.21). This is God’s extraordinary invitation!
Paul speaks of this invitation as he urges the Corinthians to embrace God’s desire for true reconciliation and not take God’s mercy for granted. “We urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain… [but to embrace] now [as] the time for God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6.1-2).