Tag Archives: mercy

Our High Priest Sympathizes #2209

1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. (Hebrews 5:1–2, NKJV)

God appointed high priests for Israel to offer “gifts and sacrifices” for the people as well as himself (Heb. 5:1, 3). A shadow of our High Priest, Jesus Christ, he was able to have compassion (be moderate in passion, gentle) on sinners going astray in their ignorance because he too was subject to fleshly frailty. Our High Priest can “sympathize with our weaknesses” because He was thoroughly tempted like us (Heb. 4:15). He experienced the trials of being tempted to sin. His sympathy for us in temptation is strong. He did not overcome every temptation to condemn us but to sacrifice Himself for our sins and salvation (Heb. 5:8-10). Therefore, Christians may “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Our great High Priest in heaven. So, when temptations come and we sin, let us hold fast our confession and boldly come to God’s throne of grace for mercy and gracious help (Heb. 4:14, 16; 1 Jno. 1:9).

When Renewal becomes Impossible #2206

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4–6, NKJV)

Verse 6 gives the reason for the impossibility of renewal to repentance if Christians fall away. When fallen Christians continue to practice their sins, they forfeit the power to renew their faith. It is impossible to be renewed spiritually while continuing to sin. They are crucifying the Son of God by their willful transgressions, openly shaming Him by their return to and continuance in sin (Heb. 10:26-31). Indulging in sin instead of resisting it hardens hearts that were once enlightened, enlivened, and edified by God’s word and its promised hope. Therefore, we are warned not to let sin have a place in our hearts and lives (Heb. 3:12-13). Yes, Christians can fall away and be lost (2 Pet. 2:20-22; Gal. 5:4). And yes, fallen saints can be restored to Christ, but only by strictly putting away the sins that have prevented their repentant return to the Lord. Willful sin must cease for divine mercy to take its place (Lk. 15:17-24).

“Help Me, O Lord my God!” #2197

26 Help me, O Lord my God! Oh, save me according to Your mercy, 27 That they may know that this is Your hand— That You, Lord, have done it! (Psalm 109:26–27, NKJV)

David had enemies who terrorized him and wanted him dead. King Saul was chief among this number (1 Sam. 18:25, 28; 19:1; 20:30-33). Psalm 109 is David’s plea to the Lord to hold his enemies accountable for their sins against him. They had spoken deceit and lies against David (109:2). Hatred consumed them, driving them to fight against him unjustly (109:3). They had rewarded his love and prayers with hateful accusations and threats (109:4-5). David’s prayer calls for divine retribution against these evildoers (109:6-20). Without context, it sounds harsh. In truth, it is his earnest supplication for God to bring judgment upon them for their evil works. God’s judgments are according to truth. They are righteous and applied impartially according to our conduct (Rom. 2:1-11). David did not repay their evil with revenge. He left the matter in God’s hands, who saved him from trouble (2 Sam. 24:6-7, 9-12). David was confident God in mercy would save him (Psa. 138:7). David was sure his enemies would be able to see God’s power at work in the deliverance he would receive from God’s hand. God worked to deliver David in answer to his prayers. God still works in our lives to answer prayers when we depend on His presence, power, mercy, and deliverance (1 Jno. 3:21-22; 5:14-15).

The riches of God #2191

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4, NKJV)

The world defines wealth by material possessions – money, land, businesses, precious metals, etc. Those who own the most things are named the wealthiest people on earth. Of course, we know that material wealth will never measure up to the storehouse of spiritual riches in Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). The “unsearchable riches of Christ” are inseparably linked to God’s “goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering” (Eph. 3:8; Rom. 2:4). God is rich in mercy and grace, without which we would not be saved (Eph. 2:4-7). In today’s verse, God’s goodness is His kindness that appeared to show us mercy in Christ (Tit. 3:4-5). God’s forbearance is the restraint He used to hold back His severity while extending His compassion to sinners (Rom. 3:25; cf. Psa. 78:37-39). God’s longsuffering does not hastily retaliate when we sin against Him (Acts 17:30). These riches of God do not minimize, discount, or overlook sin (cf. Rom. 2:5-6). They are the resources from which God draws to offer salvation to every sinner in His Son. Instead of despising (“to think against,” disregard) the spiritual riches extended to us by God in His Son Jesus Christ, let us repent toward God and obey the truth (Rom. 2:1-4). Judgment is coming when God will judge sinners (Rom. 2:3, 5).

Learning To Be Merciful #2178

25 Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ 28 But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. (Luke 15:25–28, NKJV)

The parable of the prodigal son teaches how people choose to respond to God’s mercy. The younger son’s sinful waste, repentance, and his father’s forgiveness typify our sins, repentance, and God’s forgiveness. We must not overlook the elder son’s reaction to his father’s merciful acceptance of his brother. He complained when his father welcomed his brother like the Pharisees and scribes complained against Jesus when He received sinners (Lk. 15:1-2). The older son had been obedient and loyal to his father, but his ingratitude for his constant blessings in his father’s house led him to anger instead of mercy (Lk. 15:29-31). We become thankful sons of God who are ready to forgive others when we plumb the depths of God’s mercy toward us. The elder son’s lack of thoughtful thankfulness kept him from appreciating his blessings and having joyful mercy toward his brother. That is truly a sad place to be in one’s life. Let us respond to God’s mercy by being merciful and forgiving toward others (Lk. 15:32). Then, we will receive mercy (Lk. 6:36-38).

Joyful Mercy When A Sinner Repents #2177

21 “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:21–24, NKJV)

Just as the father readily forgave his wasteful son upon his repentant return, God is anxious to receive fallen Christians with full forgiveness and joyfulness. The way back to God may seem impossible to one who has “tasted the heavenly gift” yet wasted it with shameful, “prodigal living” (Heb. 6:4; Lk. 15:13). But God is rich in mercy, ready to forgive. David’s plea for mercy embodies the blessed assurance of every soul who turns to God for relief from sin’s burdens: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord—how long? Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake” (Psa. 6:2-4)! The decision to go to God for merciful forgiveness does not rest on whether God will forgive, but whether we have the courage and humble faith to put away sin and repentantly return to Him (Lk. 15:17-21). Oh, what joy over one sinner who repents (Lk. 15:7, 10)!

Give Thanks to the Lord for His Goodness #2169

8 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. (Psalm 107:8–9, NKJV)

In the movie, Shenandoah, the father character played by Jimmy Stewart, prayed, “Lord, we cleared this land, we plowed it, sowed it and harvested it. We cooked the harvest, it wouldn’t be here, we wouldn’t be eatin’ it, if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog-boned hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you. Just the same anyway, Lord, for this food we’re about to eat. Amen.” Self-reliance without gratitude toward God is self-defeating foolishness (Rom. 1:21-22). Who gave us the land the clear? Who gave us our bodies with the strength to plow, sow, and harvest the land? Who gave us air to breathe that sustains our lives? It is God who abounds in goodness, who gives us “rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). Truly, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven” (Jno. 3:27). Beyond these material things, God fills the hungry soul with bread from heaven (Jno. 6:35, 51). His enduring mercy redeems us from our spiritual enemies and gathers us safely unto His rest (Psa. 107:1-3; Matt. 11:28-30; Eph. 2:4-7). “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).

The Israel of God #2150

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. (Galatians 6:16–17, NKJV)

The nation of Israel was chosen by God, fulfilling a promise He made to Abraham to make his seed a great nation (Gen. 12:2; Deut. 10:22). God told Israel through Moses, “‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel” (Exo. 19:5-6). Sadly, Israel often rebelled against God. Their crowning rebellion was rejecting the promised Messiah. As a result, the kingdom was taken from Israel and given to Christ’s kingdom, His church (Matt. 21:42-45; Heb. 12:28; 1 Pet. 2:4-10). Because His kingdom is “not of this world,” physical descend and possessing land do not define “the Israel of God” in this gospel age. Faith, not flesh, identifies the children of God (Israel) now (Rom. 2:25-29; 9:6-8). No longer does physical lineage and circumcision of the flesh by the Law of Moses. Now, the gospel of the cross of Christ produces and identifies God’s chosen people (Gal. 3:26-29). Paul experienced great physical suffering for Christ and the gospel. Yet, God’s peace and mercy rested on him and on all who walk according to the standard of truth, the gospel, that God’s Spirit revealed through the apostles and prophets of Christ (Gal. 3:1-3; 5:7, 16-26).

Abundant Mercy, Living Hope, and Divine Assurance #2119

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3–5, NKJV)

Christians have a living hope because Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. His life beyond the grave is God’s proof that we will be raised to receive a heavenly inheritance. When we lived in sin, we had “no hope” and were “without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). Now, through faith, God keeps (guards) Christians, and we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (v. 5; Rom. 5:2). Even though living by faith brings tribulations, we do not lose hope. Our confident, lively hope is anchored in God’s mercy, love, and promise of a heavenly inheritance (v, 3; Rom. 5:3-5). We believe God. Our faith assures our hope (Heb. 11:1, 6). Conversely, secularism breeds despair (Rom. 1:18-32). Its atheistic skepticism and reliance on human wisdom fail to nourish the soul with hope beyond death. Faithlessness gives no enduring reason to deny ourselves and follow the Lord’s will with perseverance (Rom. 5:3; Lk. 9:23). Faith overcomes the world’s sin, skepticism, and selfishness (1 Jno. 5:4). Eternal salvation is prepared and will be revealed. Choose to live by faith and live in hope.

Forgive Without Limits #2117

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21–22, NKJV)

Repeatedly forgiving one who has sinned against us is not easy. It requires faith to do as Jesus said (limitless forgiveness). He went on to describe God’s forgiveness is driven by compassion, not withheld due to wearisome repetition. Such unceasing forgiveness means our hearts must be filled with the love, mercy, and longsuffering of God (see Sword Tips #2116 on 1 Timothy 1:15-16). It requires a generous, sympathetic heart toward the sinner and the struggles against sin to repeatedly forgive when wronged. Oh, the magnitude of God’s repeated forgiveness of us and our sins against Him! As God forgives us, we are to forgive others (Matt. 6:12, 14-15; 18:32-35). The numbers Peter proposed were literal. He thought seven was a perfectly generous amount of times to forgive repeat offenders. Jesus used numbers figuratively (“seventy times seven” does not make the four hundred ninety-first sin beyond our need to forgive). In another place Jesus said, “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Lk. 17:4). Ready, willing, abundant forgiveness is our task of faith when sinned against. We want and need God’s unending compassion and forgiveness (Matt. 18:23-27). Let us not withhold the same from those who sin against us (Matt. 18:28-35).