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September 27, 2023

God’s Mercy, Not Our Merit

By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.

–1 Corinthians 1:30

Why has God chosen not to save the wise, the wealthy, and the powerful, but instead the weak, the humble, and the poor? The reason for God’s choice is found in 1 Corinthians 1:29: “So that no man may boast before God.” The reason He saves people who have nothing is so no one will have anything to boast about. Salvation is completely of grace. Verse 30 says, “By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” Salvation is by God’s doing.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:4-5, 7, “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ . . . so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” God saved you not for your glory but for His glory. God enjoys saving people who are weak and poor and uneducated. He enjoys saving sinners because the more we have sinned, the more God is glorified when we come to faith in Christ. That is the glory of the gospel. And you will never understand the concept of grace until you understand that your salvation has nothing to do with you and everything to do with God.

Years ago, my sister and I took our families to Disneyland in California. One night as we were walking down Main Street USA, my sister said, “I want you to think about something, Robert. Just imagine Walt Disney died without ever trusting in Christ as his Savior. If he died without Christ, then the man who brought laughter to millions of children would be in hell right now. And let’s say in the last minute of his life, Adolf Hitler trusted in Christ as his Savior. That would mean Adolf Hitler is in heaven.”

I assure you most people at Disneyland that evening were not having those kinds of discussions! But when you think about it, it is hard to believe that somebody like Walt Disney could be in hell and somebody like Adolf Hitler could be in heaven. To us, such a thought is ludicrous.

That is because we all believe deep down that we have something to do with our salvation. But salvation has nothing to do with our merit and everything to do with God’s mercy. In fact, the greater the sinner, the more God is glorified. The greater the sin, the greater the Savior. That is the reason God saved us–not for our glory but for the glory of God.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Person God Uses” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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