The Mercy of GodPosted: July 29, 2009
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.
Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The believer can boast knowing he serves a merciful God, who has passed judgment upon His own Son so that He can have communion with the believer.
The mercy of God is God Himself passing by the judgment that man should receive. Though believers see this throughout life on earth, even more important is the mercy that God grants to the elect for eternity. God is mercy. God’s allowing man to come into a covenant with Him should bring zeal to the believer to boast in this mercy of God. God’s character, being merciful to all humans, should be boasted in. God passes judgment over all of humanity every day. But what is most encouraging to the believer is that there is particular mercy to His chosen children. There is no reason for the Lord to even allow man to breathe, let alone allow man to continue to serve Him in constant sin every day. When the believer sees that God allowed His Son – Christ – to take on all of the believer’s condemnation, they will be motivated to serve with all the love possible to the God of forgiveness, the God of passing judgment, the God of pity, the God of pardon, and the God who gives mercy to all. This is done so that God can give special mercy to His elect. It is great to see that because of Christ and His work at the cross, the believer can stand in mercy before God. This is just one of the many ways that God’s chosen people can actually come to Him and worship Him. Seeing that God is not only merciful to all of mankind, but to those who are clothed in Christ’s righteousness, the believer will receive God’s unending mercy that will carry him or her into eternity.
How does the believer boast in this mercy? By first bringing Him the praise and honor in which this merciful Lord calls for. Secondly, by availing from this merciful Lord who the believer serves. This means that because of Jesus Christ, the Savior of men who intercedes on the behalf of the believer, one can always go to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. A. W. Pink says this: “The merits of Christ make it possible for God to righteously bestow spiritual mercies on His elect, justice having been fully satisfied by the Surety! No, mercy arises solely from God’s imperial pleasure.”6 To be a child of mercy is to be a believer of mercy. One must see the mercy, which God has lavished upon him, and live that characteristic out in passing judgment on others, and allowing others to ask for forgiveness. When we represent the character of God, which the gospel gives to the believer, we should live out those characteristics that flow out of the gospel. Now, the facts to boast in this are twofold. First, man can boast in the fact that he can be forgiving to others that do him wrong. As Christ said in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” We are called to give mercy to others, but, moreover, the reason why we can be merciful to others is because God has first given the believer mercy. The believer must give mercy to those who cannot work, to those who are poor, hungry, needy, abandoned, divorced, widowed and orphaned. So often it is easy to judge groups of people or classes of individuals. The believer must not do this. The believer must take the gospel to all groups and all nations of peoples on this earth. Secondly, man can boast in the fact that God has passed on all mercy upon his soul through Christ. What allows the believer to be merciful to others is that the gospel is merciful to the believer. The believer may never fully grasp the realization of the importance of this truth. But God’s mercy is so enjoyable to the heart and soul of the believer, that the believer should – above all else – want to share this with others who know, and do not know, the gospel.
So, how does the believer boast in this? The believer boasts in his forgiveness which God grants in the gospel. And he may boast that the work of Christ is the only reason one can be forgiven (and is constantly forgiven) and is that which allows God to not pass judgment on His elect. For the mercy of God is forever. He will never change it, stop giving it, or decide one day to cut it off from His people. The mercy of God will endure forever, flowing from Him forever. This is so the believer can see gleams of the gospel and its mercifulness, which flows directly from the gospel to the believer. Once the believer comes to grips with seeing this area of the gospel, he can find enjoyment from it and rest in the all-merciful Savior of mercy. How great it is that the believer can boast in knowing that God’s desire to give mercy will never stop and that He will never think twice about passing judgment from the believer. This is where the believer can cling to the gospel. Only when God forgives man of his sin(s), can man come before God in correct relationship and communion. May the believer continue to always remember that his salvation was because of the mercy of God, which allows him to have the ability to come into communion with the all-holy and glorious God.