Friday, August 17, 2007

The Gift of Mercy

Mercy has been described as “God withholding from us what we deserve.” In other words, God is so merciful He chooses to withhold things like judgment and punishment that we truly deserve because we sin against God.

Note: All sin is against God even if someone else gets caught up in our sin. When ancient King David committed adultery with Bathsheba he cried out to God, “Against You, and You alone, have I sinned.” (Psalm 51:4, NLT) Certainly David had sinned against Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, but David understood that ultimately sin is against God because “right and wrong” are based in the character of God. Adultery is wrong because we’re created in God’s image and God is faithful. To be unfaithful is to sin against the character of God that is within us.

Anyway…I was having lunch with a friend recently who shared a bit of his story and how he had been arrested for drugs in his early twenties. He stood trial on felony drug charges and was facing 15 years imprisonment when convicted. He commented, “For reasons I still don’t understand today, they found me guilty but suspended my 15 year sentence and gave me 5 years of probation.” He closed his story by saying, “I understand mercy.”

My friend does understand mercy. However, many of my friends don’t. Many of my friends play the comparison game and because their life is better than so-and-so, they conclude they are a “good person” and therefore lose the significance of the gift that mercy is.

Every one of us has sinned against God and every one of us deserves eternal judgment and punishment. But for the perfect life of Christ dying an atoning death on our behalf, we would all be judged and sentenced. But, because of Christ, God chooses to be merciful to those who are “in Christ”.

Anyone need mercy from God today? Then get “in Christ”. Confess (agree with God) your sin, repent (turn away from sin) and follow Christ and you too will be blessed with the gift of mercy.

Prayer: Father, I praise You that You are so great that You can bestow mercy though our sins are many and egregious.

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