Tag Archives: grace

The Everlasting Mercy of God

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“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 136:1)

God’s mercy is a monumental theme in Scripture. The English word appears some 341 times in the Bible. The four Hebrew and three Greek words appear a total of 454 times and are also translated by “kindness,” “lovingkindness,” “goodness,” “favor,” “compassion,” and “pity.” Of the 66 books of the Bible, only 16 do not use one of the words for mercy.

Even though “mercy” is an important concept, it is somewhat difficult to prescribe a definition for it, especially since “grace” is occasionally coupled with it.

In the first reference where “mercy” is used, Lot has just been expelled from Sodom by the angels of judgment. In spite of the command by the angels that Lot and his daughters “escape to the mountain,” Lot begs: “Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life, . . . this city is near . . . Oh, let me escape thither” (Genesis 19:17-20). And later, the New Testament saints are told to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). In these and other such passages, the two terms appear to address similar subjects.

However similar they may appear to be, these words are not synonyms. “Grace” is most often associated with the sovereign dispensation of totally undeserved favor, and it is specifically connected to salvation. “Mercy” is more often connected to the withholding of judgment: “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:13).

Set aside some time today to read and meditate on this psalm. You will find the day less wearisome if you do. HMM III

Living in the Land of Mercy

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“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” (Psalm 145:8)

Not one of us deserves God’s mercy, for “we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6), and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). What we deserve is death and eternal separation from the God who made us. Nevertheless, “it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22). “He hath not dealt with us after our sins. . . . For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him” (Psalm 103:10-11).

It is by His mercy, not our merit, that we are saved. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5). It is “according to his abundant mercy” that He has “begotten us again unto a lively hope” (1 Peter 1:3).

In fact, one of the very titles of God is “the Father of mercies” (2 Corinthians 1:3). Over and over the psalmist assures us that “his mercy endureth for ever” (26 times in Psalm 136:1-26; also Psalm 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; etc.).

His mercy is not only infinite, but eternal.

How can one possibly reject His mercy? “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering?” (Romans 2:4). Sadly, most do. Instead, the divine challenge is:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2). T

his is our logical response to God’s great mercy! HMM

He Has Chosen Us

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“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4)

Although we cannot really understand how God could choose us (same Greek word as “elected”) before the creation of the world, we can rejoice in the fact and praise Him for “his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9). The preceding verse (Ephesians 1:3) testifies we have received “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” all “according to the good pleasure of his will” (v. 5), “according to the riches of his grace” (v. 7), and “according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself” (v. 9). It must thus all be “to the praise of the glory of his grace” (v. 6).

It is clear from this passage that God’s choice of us was not simply a matter of His foreseeing our choice of Him, but was a choice solely by His own will and grace: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16). This in no wise lessens our own responsibility to trust in Christ and to believe “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:12-13), even though in our finite minds we cannot understand how to correlate these two concepts. Both are true, because both are taught in His Word, and both are occasions for rejoicing because they reflect both His love and His omnipotence.

God told Jeremiah: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). Before the world began, God knew each of us and loved us, and prepared to die to save us from our sins and then to draw us to Himself. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (Psalm 139:6). We can only thank and praise Him, and then seek earnestly to live fully for Him all our days. HMM

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