Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, September 3, 2013 0 comments

When I looked at the word “undeserved” for today’s blog post, it occurred to me that this word can go two different ways. Either (1) we receive something great that we feel we’re not worthy of, or (2) we receive a punishment or negative consequence that we feel we’re too good for. Which did you think of when you read the word undeserved?

Interestingly, the actual word “undeserved” only appears in the NIV Bible once, in Proverbs 26:2: “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.” But while the word itself may only be used once, the concept is all over the Bible in the form of undeserved grace or undeserved mercy.

The Bible is full of examples of grace and mercy that are completely undeserved; not because we as humans are too good for it, but because we are totally and completely not worthy of it. One passage that explains this concept is Romans 3:21-25:

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.”

Do you see where the word “undeserved” relates to that passage? All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but all are justified freely by His grace! All of us are unworthy; all of us don’t deserve anything but death from God. We all committed sins that should be punished, but we weren’t punished for them yet. In spite of that, God gives us grace, which is favor that is completely undeserved!

We humans tend to be proud, so the whole concept of something being undeserved (whether in the positive or negative sense) is difficult for us. Especially in America, we say that you should get what you deserve. If a person commits a crime, they should get the punishment they deserve. If a person has an important achievement or great skills, they should get the reward they deserve. But that’s not how God’s Kingdom works. Instead, “the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16)

We’re all undeserving in God’s Kingdom, but God loves us and gives us the opportunity to receive His grace and mercy anyway!

For more on grace, see this blog post by Katie Erickson or this one by Logan Ames.