But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Notice the first word in Ephesians 2:4: But. In Greek, it is the tiny two-letter word de. It was used to introduce contrast. When we use the word in English, it makes the first statement virtually null and void. For example, if someone says, “Of course I like you, but…” all you hear is the but. We were in bondage to sin…But God! We were sick in our bodies and our souls…But God! In Ephesians 2:4, Paul was contrasting the changes available to humanity because of God's abundant mercy.
Mercy is extraordinarily important. Mercy is not justice. Justice happens when a guilty person is punished. Mercy happens when the guilty are entirely forgiven. The word mercy is eleos in Greek. It was used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) to translate the Hebrew word hesed. Hesed was used to describe God’s unending and unfailing love and tenderness.
God isn’t stingy with mercy; He is rich in mercy! Rich means plentifully supplied, overabounding, without measure, very rich and wealthy.
We were sinners, worthy to receive wrath. Still, instead of giving us what we deserved, God demonstrated His tremendous love for us by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Practical Application – Two of the most powerful words ever are But God. You may have recently gotten a bad diagnosis from a doctor…But God! Financial problems might be multiplying…But God! Your children may be acting crazy…But God! Never forget the power of those two words. We were once sinners headed for hell, But God, who is rich in mercy, sent Jesus to die on the cross and rise from the dead!
Romans 15:9; Romans 11:32