A Ministry of Mercy and Grace
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. (2Co_4:1)
In addition to heavenly liberty, God desires to mark our lives with other spiritual characteristics. One of these is the godly encouragement that comes from living and serving under a ministry of mercy and grace.
The service we now render to the Lord is based upon mercy: “since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy.” We deserved condemnation by God and separation from Him for eternity. Instead, God had mercy upon us, forgiving us our sins. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Tit_3:5). Furthermore, by His mercy He enlists us in His service. “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy” (1Ti_1:12-13). Our ministry is also about grace. “I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me” (Eph_3:7).
In light of having this type of ministry (one related to mercy and grace), “we do not lose heart.” If we were called to serve God based on our merit and our resources, we would lose heart. We can periodically be tempted to discouragement, as we serve our God. Paul’s testimony of service is similar to many of God’s servants down through the ages. “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears” (2Co_7:5). At times, we too are surrounded by impossibilities and threatened by apprehensions. What are we to do in such unsettling trials? “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Heb_12:3). No one faced more battles and betrayals than the Lord Jesus. Yet, no one served more faithfully. In battle after battle, the Father brought Jesus through victoriously. We can count on the Lord to have mercy upon us. He will pour out His grace upon us and bring us through victoriously as well.
Remember, our service of the Lord is based upon mercy and grace. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb_4:16).
O God of mercy and grace, You know how often discouragement rolls over me like crashing waves. Please remind me that my service unto You depends on Your mercy and grace, not on my capabilities or performance. Thank You, Lord!