24 February 2011

His Mercies Are New Every Day...

Have you ever been in a situation where you really messed up to the point where you thought you’d blown it forever?

Perhaps you betrayed a close friend, made a harsh comment publicly, or failed morally in private? However, what did it feel like to get another chance? When you are forgiven and the slate became clean?

This is the character and heart of God’s mercy - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Every moment we breathe His mercies are new with every day (Lam 3:23). The tender mercies or compassions of God fail not; they are ever new, always fresh, constant and perpetual, which are daily renewed.

Psalms 86:5; 15 For You, LORD, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You … [Certainly] you are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.

Definition of Mercy

Mercy is defined as ‘the kind, compassionate treatment of an offender, adversary, prisoner in one’s power; compassion where severity is expected, or deserved’. Among its synonyms are leniency, forgiveness, kindness and tolerance.

The primary idea behind mercy is rendering a kindness when harshness or condemnation is expected or even deserved. A merciful person looks beyond the present state of affairs to the potential good that may result from his compassionate handling of the matter. He is willing to forget the other’s punishment or his own desire for revenge in an attempt to produce good fruit from a bad situation.

Jesus Christ, coming down from Heaven and dying on a Cross for a sinful humanity, is the personification and complete representation of the Mercy of God...

The Nature of God is to be Merciful

Matthew 9:12-13 Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.

Jesus shared the mercy of God and was great at giving mercy. In saying that He desires mercy and not sacrifice, Jesus is teaching that He prefers it when people practice mercy and not blindly follow ritual.

He is not condemning the laws of sacrifice He set up for Israel to practice until He fulfilled them, but explaining that He is more pleased with acts of forgiveness and kindness than strict external compliance to the law.

Romans 3:23-25 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance (mercy) God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.

The honest truth is we don’t deserve His mercy. We can do nothing to earn it - in fact we are guilty of separation and condemnation forever when we knowingly disobey His ways which are good and perfect. It is only His mercy which is new everyday day that we do not receive what we should get. If it wasn’t for God’s Mercy, no one could be saved…

Mercy Conquers All

James 2:12-13 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Just as Jesus was merciful to us, we are to follow in His steps and show mercy in our everyday judgements (1 Peter 2:21).

When we show pity, compassion, and kindness to those in difficult straits, we are practicing the merciful attitude that God expects each of His children to exhibit at all times. Although He does not want us to be so soft-hearted that we become an easy mark for those who would take advantage of us, but He does want us to develop a keen sense of discernment that realises when mercy is a better option than the strict application of rules.

Of course each of us would lend a helping hand to another who was in physical need, but what about providing the need of mercy in a heated moment in time?

Psalms 37:21 The righteous shows mercy and gives mercy…

His mercies never come to an end: He doesn’t ration His mercy, as though it were in short supply. He doesn’t say "I can only forgive you for 10,000 sins…once you reach 10,001 you’re out of luck!" His mercy is unlimited; it never comes to an end. For where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more (Rom 5:20).

Don’t ever think that you’ve crossed the line and can’t be forgiven anymore. Don’t ever think that you’ve reached a point where God can’t use you anymore. Don’t ever think that you’ve gone too far and separated yourself from God’s mercy.

Because as long as you have breath in your lungs, you are forgivable and redeemable. Our physical death is the only dividing line between God’s eternal mercy and His eternal condemnation. Who can you show mercy to today?

Ephesians 2:4-6 But God is so rich in mercy, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favour that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with Him in the Heavenly realms – all because we are one with Christ Jesus.

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