Was it a diamond engagement ring? A car for graduation? A gold watch for retirement? The forgiveness of a loved one? The mercy of a Holy God?
Now in the midst of Holy Week, my heart overflows with appreciation for God’s mercy. I know I need His grace as much as ever! Just the thought of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday refocuses my thinking, and I’m reminded that aside from Christ, I have nothing of worth to offer our Holy God. Apart from the greatest gift I ever received, the life-giving sacrifice of Jesus, my innate selfishness taints everything I think and do. Oh, how I need Jesus every hour of every day.
As I’ve been studying the Book of Revelation this year with Bible Study Fellowship, a recent lesson on “God’s Perfect Justice and Mercy” caught me unaware of how I tend to take God’s character for granted. Maybe you can relate?
Here’s a teaching point from our notes: “God's justice gives us what we deserve, God’s grace gives us what we do not deserve, and God’s mercy withholds what we do deserve.”
The apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son Titus the following: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:4-6
All humanity needs a Savior!
We all need mercy in the sight of our Holy God.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews proclaimed that because Jesus Christ is our sinless high priest, we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
What is your greatest need right now?
In our sin-soaked world we are often in need of physical healing, financial assistance, reconciliation with family or friends, and always - forgiveness. How wonderful that God’s mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness! “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:23, 25-26
Mercy is so important because sin separates us so completely. Our Holy God cannot look on sin, but the blood of Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, covers us and cleanses us. The apostle Jude encourages believers to: “keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life,” and be merciful to others. Jude 1:21-22.
You know, during the Christmas season the spirit of giving is often palpable. Loved ones and friends eagerly search for the right gifts to give each other, and even acquaintances and strangers act more charitably. So, why shouldn’t we all be more merciful at Easter time? Quick to forgive because we have been forgiven much!
Let’s esteem God’s great mercy and extend it to all around us. If we practice mercy to the max, our blessings will surely pile up!