With all the anguish and guilt that has sprung forth as a result of sin and evil, the world is in desperate need of the divine, healing balm of God’s mercy. Mercy is the “goodness of God confronting human suffering.” God’s mercy is compassionate though undeserved. What right do people, who have instigated such pain and sorrow in the world as a result of their sinful behavior, have to make any demand for healing or for heaven? Sin alienated humanity from the “commonwealth of God” and rendered them hopeless (Ephesians 2:12). Nevertheless, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The mercy of God was personified in Christ, and through His blood sinners can be drawn close to God. There is no work of human benevolence that can warrant salvation because all of one’s righteousness are as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). The weight of one’s righteousness will never neutralize the stain of sin “for we were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:3-5). The mercy of God appeared in the Person of Jesus Christ, and one’s salvation is based solely on Him.
There has been a popular yet inaccurate depiction of God as being somehow different in the Old Testament than He is in the New. God is without change, and the assumption that He can be different from dispensation to the next is a fallacy. Some suppose that God was only wrathful in the Old Testament and only loves in the New. This false conception must be released. He is merciful and gracious in the New, but also in the Old. Many will point to the Mosaic Law as evidence of God’s high demands that receive judicious punishment without mercy. While it is true that the standards are high, one must recognize that the 10 Commandments, a summary of God’s law to Israel, were based on God’s mercy. The Commandments began with the reminder of God’s merciful deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 20:1-2). It was the “prologue” that established the view that the law was a covenant best viewed more like a marriage vow. The law is based on a loving relationship, not a dictatorial one. God chose Israel and demonstrated His love through deliverance; Israel chose to worship God alone and demonstrated this love by faithfulness to Him (Exodus 24:3).
This is not dissimilar to the deliverance experienced by Christians: God delivered sinners from the bondage of sin in a display of His love (John 3:16), and those who are born again recognize that Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 3:3; 14:6). As a result of this loving relationship between God and born-again believers, Christians commit themselves to glorifying God by displaying righteousness through their actions and attitudes (Matthew 5:16). Christians often forget that the demands of the Sermon on the Mount clarify and elevate the standards of morality and ethics that are found in the Mosaic Law. Would Christians state that the legalistic keeping of the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount are evidence that God is only judicious and unloving? Not at all! Rather, Christians would state that living in a godly way is their “reasonable service” to God for all that He has done for them. God’s mercy is a motivator for Christians today just as it was for the Hebrews of the Old Testament. God has not changed. Although He has revealed more of His redemptive plan through the New Testament, He was and is the God of all mercy (Proverbs 28:13; I John 1:9).
My Prayer for Today:
I thank You for having mercy on me when You saved me from my sins. Thank You for Your mercy that is available when I confess and forsake sin. You have done so much to help me. I am undeserving of the blessings that I have received from Your hand. I am thankful that we can have a loving relationship; that I have been reconciled through the precious blood of your Son. I gladly serve You today! I ask for your grace as I let my light shine. Above all, I pray that you will be glorified in all that I do today. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.