The Bible* calls the story of Jesus, the gospel.* The word gospel means ‘good news’. That story begins long before Jesus came to live among us.
God created* all things. He made our first parents, Adam* and Eve.* He made a garden where they could live. God gave then all they needed. They had good work to do. They had each other. They could walk and talk with God. They felt no fear or shame, or guilt.
God gave them all of the fruit from every tree in the garden to eat. But he told them not to eat from one tree. If they ate from that tree, they would die. But Adam and Eve did not obey God. They ate from the tree. When they did many bad things happened. They felt shame. They became afraid. They knew they had done wrong.
But God did not abandon Adam and Eve. He came back into the garden. God spoke with them. He made clothes for them to cover them. He had mercy on them.
Because they did not obey God, God put them out of the garden. Now they could not know God as they once did. And they and their children went further and further away from God. They did not honor* him as God. They did not thank him for all he had made. They began to worship* the things God had made and not the God who made them. They made idols* and worshipped the gods they created.
Because of this, all people became the enemies of God. They did not honor him. If nothing changed, they would be judged by God.They would die. God would pour out his wrath on them forever.
And they could not make themselves right with God again. Unless God did something for them that they could not do for themselves, they would die for their sins* against God. They deserved God’s wrath.*
So, all people, including you, have sinned against God. If God had chosen to do so, he could have done nothing. God did not need to save people. God could have let us go on doing evil* things. He could have let us die and be judged. He could have punished us all.
But God did something for us that we could not do for ourselves. He sent his son to rescue us. Why would God do this? He did this because he loved us. He is a God of mercy and grace.
Mercy is when someone does not punish us when we deserve it. We deserved to face God’s anger. We deserved to be punished because we did not honor God. God punished Jesus in our place. God showed us mercy.
But he is not only a God of mercy. He is also a God of grace. Grace is when I receive a good thing when I should get something bad. I deserved to be punished. But God forgave me. When I deserved to be cursed, I received a blessing* instead.
And how did God show his mercy to us? God chose to send his son to rescue us.
He did not have to do this. He would have been right to allow us to receive what we deserved. That would have been justice.* Justice is when I receive what I deserve. Because I am a sinner, what I deserve is God’s anger. I deserve to be punished.
But the scriptures* tell us that he did something else. God showed his love for us. Here is how. He sent his son into the world. He sent him so we could receive life through him. This is what love is. It is not that we loved God. It is that God loved us. And he sent his son to give his life to pay for our sins.
This is the good news. God chose to show mercy. God chose to give grace. Why would God choose to show mercy? Why would God choose grace instead of judgement*?
God made this choice because that is the kind of God he is. He is a God who loves those he has made. He is a God who shows mercy. He is a God of grace.
‘He saved us, not because of the good things we have done. But he saved us because he is a God of mercy.’