Monday, April 18, 2016

The Mercy of the Lord

Psalm 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.”

The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines “mercy" as that benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.
I saw a devotional on mercy the other day that I expanded upon. The surprising fact to most is that not one of us deserves God’s mercy, for “we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:60), and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Because of our sin, what we deserve is death and eternal separation from Almighty God who made us. But God is merciful, so “it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22). “He hath not dealt with us after our sins . . . For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him” (Psalm 103:10-11). By God’s mercy (not desiring to give us what we truly deserve for our sin), He gives us what we do not deserve … (unmerited favor) grace. This is the message of the gospel … the bad news turned into good news because of the Lord and His mercy towards us.

It is by His mercy, not our merit, that we are saved. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5). It is “according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

In fact, one of the very titles of God is “the Father of mercies”, 2 Corinthians 1:3 says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” Over and over the psalmist assures us that “His mercy endureth forever”. His mercy is not only infinite, but eternal. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2). This is our reasonable service, our logical response to Creator Father God’s great mercy!

In Christ, Brian

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