The Lord wants to deliver people from what they deserve. That idea is central to the purpose of the gospel and embedded in the definition of grace. He wants to deliver people from deserved consequences. Who more than Paul is the prototype of one delivered from deserved consequences? He was not just a sinner. He sought the destruction of believers in Jesus and the very faith Jesus suffered and died to establish. The apostle Paul constantly proclaimed this marvelous grace. He wrote: "This is a faithful saying and worth of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life" (1 Tim. 1:15-16).
The salvation of Saul of Tarsus is a primary example of how far the mercy of God is willing to reach. His mercy still reaches at least that far for anyone today. Grace has many manifestations but is most simply defined as "undeserved favor". To qualify for it you cannot deserve it. Grace is the only basis of deliverance available to us. It only comes as a gift. We must trust God to experience the fullness of His grace. Jeremiah wrote about the significance of trusting God:
"Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strengtth, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes [KJV: see good when it comes], but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit." (Jer. 17;5-8)
Jeremiah concluded that to trust ourselves is to put ourselves under a curse. The result is that we won't recognize good even when it comes. I have met people who first encountered Jesus and believed the gospel to the saving of their souls, but they turned from the grace of God to rely on their ability to keep the law for their justification. How tragic! It is a great deception to rely on obeying the Old Testament law to remain in fellowship with God. Paul the apostle confronted this heresy head-on:
"You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace... This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you." (Gal. 5:3-4, 8)
We must not let anything frustrate the Lord's prescribed way to deliver us from what we deserve. God is the God of grace and wants to reconstruct our hope in Him and the power of the gospel to deliver us from deserved consequences. He is a good God!