Tag Archives: mercy

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).

Christ Jesus Came into the World to Save Sinners #2116

15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. (1 Timothy 1:15–16, NKJV)

God’s forgiveness is deep and wide. Note what motivates, mandates, and maintains God’s forgiveness of our sins. 1) God’s love. Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” and he considered himself to be the prototype, the chief of sinners. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to save us by His death (Jno. 3:16). Without God’s love, we cannot be saved. 2) God’s mercy. Forgiveness is the compassion applied, and God is rich in mercy toward all who call on Him for forgiveness (Eph. 2:4; Rom. 10:12). 3) God’s longsuffering. His forgiveness hinges on His longsuffering toward sinners. He does not want anyone to be lost. He wants every sinner to come to repentance. That’s why He is longsuffering toward us (2 Pet. 3:9). He could punish us all for our sins without patiently giving us opportunities to repent. His “forbearance and longsuffering” ought to “lead us to repentance” (Rom. 2:4). Do not think God cannot save you. Paul’s forgiveness is an example for all believers. Like Paul, have faith to “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Do not take God’s love, mercy, and longsuffering for granted. The day of the Lord will come, and we must be ready (2 Pet. 3:10-13). His longsuffering is for our salvation (2 Pet. 3:14-15).

“My Times Are in Your Hands” #2102

13 For I hear the slander of many; Fear is on every side; While they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life. 14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me. 16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies’ sake. (Psalm 31:13–16, NKJV)

David’s adversaries intended to kill him. Like his descendant Jesus Christ, David’s enemies used slander and malicious schemes to slay him without cause. For instance, King Saul schemed to kill David repeatedly (1 Sam. 18-19). But David did not respond in kind. Instead, he put his trust in the Lord. Even when he could have killed Saul, David refused to lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed king (1 Sam. 24, 26). David relied on the Lord, and God saved him from his adversaries (2 Sam. 22:1-4). Like David, let us trust God’s overriding providence and protection. David said, “My times are in Your hand” (v. 15). May we take counsel from the Lord and walk by faith in Him each day. Our times are in God’s hand. He still delivers His faithful servants from evil for His mercies’ sake (Matt. 6:13; 2 Tim. 4:18).

God’s Goodness magnified in Our Redemption #2099

1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, 3 And gathered out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. (Psalm 107:1–3, NKJV)

Redemption by the Lord from the grip of the enemy arouses thanksgiving in the recipients of His mercy. Psalm 107 rehearses God’s merciful deliverance of Israel from their Babylonian exile back to Canaan. God took them from “the hand of the enemy,” gathering a remnant from every place they were scattered, redeeming them from captivity. Israel had “rebelled against the words of God” and suffered greatly because of it (Psa. 107:10-12). But, when “they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, He saved them out of their distresses” (Psa. 107:13). God is merciful and forgives when we turn from sin to Him. If God has redeemed you from sin’s bondage, give thanks for His goodness! If you are still in the clutches of sin, then call on the name of the Lord for mercy and forgiveness (Acts 2:21, 37-41; 22:16). As He did for Israel, even so now God is gathering redeemed souls from the four corners of the earth by the gospel of Christ (Isa. 11:11-16; Mk. 16:15-16; Rom. 1:16; 11:5). “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!”

God’s Mercy Reaches to the Heavens #2076

7 Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? 8 Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah (Psalm 77:7–9, NKJV)

In the moment of trial it may seem that God does not hear our cries, but He does (Psa. 22:1-2, 19-21). It may appear in a time of judgment that God is not merciful, but He is. In wrath, He remembers mercy (Hab. 3:2). God offers the “sure mercies of David” to all who will believe and obey God’s Son (Acts 13:34; Isa. 55:3-5). Isaiah’s call to Israel is now Christ’s gospel call to the nations: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7). God offers us mercy when we seek Him through the gospel of His Son. The gospel teaches us to forsake our ways and call on God for His gracious pardon from sin. For example, see God’s mercy to those who killed the Son of God (Acts 2:21, 36-41). Or see how the persecutor Saul obtained God’s mercy (Acts 22:10-16; 1 Tim. 1:13). He will be merciful to us, in the same way. Truly, His mercy “reaches unto the heavens” (Psa. 57:10).