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Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

Mercy is a gift. It is undeserved. (1)

With common compassion we redefine words and concepts, using them to please the longings of our hearts.  Mercy, along with grace and justice, are three words which we commonly misuse.

Justice is giving people what they deserve.

Mercy is not giving people what they deserve.

Grace is giving people what they do not deserve.

Consider this scenario:

If a young boy steals a pound of hamburger meat and 5 pounds of potatoes from the grocer, justice is served if the boy is fined and required to pay the grocer for the food.

However, if the grocer learns the boy stole the food to feed his penniless family, then mercy is served if the grocer refuses to press charges against the boy.

If the grocer goes a step further and provides the penniless family with $500 of free groceries, then grace has been served.

Justice is always deserved, mercy and grace are always undeserved.  Mercy and grace are gifts, justice is a consequence.

With this being so, how can we say that God is a God of justice, mercy, and grace?

God is just because all sin is justly punished.

God is merciful because He chose not to inflict the punishment upon the sinner, but upon Jesus.

God is gracious because He forgives us and offers us eternal life, even when we sin.

Christians worship a God who serves justice, mercy, and grace this way:

God is ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He does not forsake the sinner.  God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for our sins.  (2)

This is the Good News of the Gospel.

This is news we do not deserve!

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  1. Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01). Experiencing God Day By Day (Kindle Locations 3084-3085). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  2. Nehemiah 9:17 and Romans 5:8.
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The NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament is not a good place for the faint-hearted or over-confidant.

If you dare, ask a Duke or Missouri fan this morning how they are feeling.  Both lost in big upsets to teams everyone was looking past.  No one really expected Norfolk State and Lehigh to win.

Everyone presumed Missouri and Duke would win.  I did!

Presumptuousness is risky business.

The prophet Obadiah wrote:

“Your presumptuous heart has deceived you. You think to yourself, ‘No one can bring me down to the ground!’”  (1)

Presumptuousness leads to carelessness born out of arrogance and a sense of invulnerability.  Even in the best of times, we are all vulnerable:  “There is a temptation in every mercy; there is a snare in every joy!” (2)

The temptation in mercy is to underestimate your culpability, taking God’s grace for granted.    The snare in joy is its fleeting nature, forgetting it too is a gift from God.

Perhaps this is why David prayed:  “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins.”  (3)

David was experienced with presumptuousness, pride, and arrogance.  He once thought he was above it all.  His sin of adultery and murder were born in his sense of imperiousness.

David was praised for having a heart for God.  It is was his badge of honor, until one warm spring day when he went out onto his balcony.   Bathsheba was the temptation and the cover-up the snare.

Guard your heart!

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  1. Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006; 2006), Obadiah 1:3.
  2. Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening : Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).
  3. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 19:13.

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