Grace For The Journey
Yesterday and today we are looking at the words, “grace” and “mercy.” The Bible has much to say about both of these wonderful words. They are two of the sweetest and most powerful words that the human heart can grasp. They take us to the realm of the “unsearchable riches of God.”
I gladly admit that I am just like you – I need the grace of God, as well as the mercy of God. It was these two virtues of God which provided for those who believe, which produces what we know as salvation. I would hope that you too realize that each of these is greatly needed in your life as well.
As in the case of the word “grace” so also with the word “mercy,” the Bible has many references regarding it. I think the following story allow catapult us into what the Bible reveal to us about the mercy of God. A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. “But I don’t ask for justice,” the mother explained. “I plead for mercy.” “But your son does not deserve mercy,” Napoleon replied. “Sir,” the woman cried, “it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.” “Well, then,” the emperor said, “I will have mercy.” and he spared the woman’s son.
1. Mercy Defined
Have you noticed that in general conversation that we often use the words “grace” and “mercy” together? We also sometimes use the words “grace” and “mercy” as if they are the same thing, but that just isn’t so.
Grace is God giving to sinful man
What He desperately needs
– The unmerited favor of God
Which He delivers to us through Jesus Christ
Mercy however is something altogether different.
Mercy is God not giving to sinful mankind
What they rightly deserve.
The Bible says in Lamentations 3:22-24, “Through the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul; ‘therefore will I hope in Him.’”
God’s mercy and grace
Give me hope – for myself,
And for our world.
Yes, we too are in a constant state of needing the mercy of God and we can only cry out – MERCY, MERCY, MERCY! God is faithful to NOT give us what we rightly deserve!
2. Mercy Demonstrated
One of the pleas which has been used throughout the history of mankind has been the cry for the mercy of God. Do you know why sinful man cries out for the mercy of God? I believe it is found in some of the final words of John Newton, the writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace.” Newton declared toward the end of his life, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.”
Notice these examples of those who were the recipients of the mercy of God:
JOSEPH – Genesis 39:21, “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”
MOSES – Exodus 15:13, “You in Your mercy has led forth the people whom You have redeemed: You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.”
DAVID – 1 Chronicles 16:34, “Oh give thanks to the LORD; for He is good; For His mercy endures forever.”
PAUL – 1Timothy 1:13, “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”
We can’t imagine a church
Failing to exalt the cross.
We also ought to be living our lives
In such a way that they exalt the cross.
Alexander Whyte speaking about the cross – “It is the picture of violence, yet the key to peace. It is a picture of suffering, yet the key to healing. It is a picture of utter weakness, yet the key to power. It is a picture of capital punishment, yet the key to mercy and forgiveness. It is a picture of supreme shame, yet the Christian’s supreme boast. It is a picture of death, yet the key to life. It is a picture of vicious hatred, yet the key to love.” What irresistible love!
Thank God for the Cross where the MERCY of God is put onto full display!
The song, “Great Is thy Faithfulness” was not the result of some tragic event in Thomas Chisholm’s life, but a powerful witness to his daily walk with Jesus as he experienced “morning by morning” new mercies from His Everlasting Father. Pastor Chisholm always trusted his Everlasting Father to take care of him, sustain him, and provide for his daily needs.
Just before his death in 1960 he wrote this power, personal witness: “My income has never been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now. But I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing mercy, grace, and care which have filled me with astonishing gratefulness.” That is our testimony too!
3. Mercy Declared
The Bible is replete with declaration of God’s wonderful mercy . . .
Deuteronomy 4:31, “(For the LORD your God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore unto them.”
Job 11:6, “And that He would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacts of you less than you iniquity deserves.”
Psalms 37:25-26, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and His seed is blessed.”
Psalms 136:1, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures forever.”
Psalms 145:8-9, “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirt.”
A young employee secretly misappropriated several hundred dollars of his business firm’s money. When this action was discovered, the young man was told to report to the office of the senior partner of the firm. As he walked up the stairs toward the administrative office, the young employee was heavy-hearted. He knew without a doubt he would lose his position with the firm. He also feared the possibility of legal action taken against him. Seemingly his whole world had collapsed. Upon his arrival in the office of the senior executive the young man was questioned about the whole affair. He was asked if the allegations were true, and he answered in the affirmative. Then the executive surprisingly asked this question: “If I keep you in your present capacity, can I trust you in the future?” The young worker brightened up and said, “Yes, sir, you surely can. I’ve learned my lesson.” The executive responded, “I’m not going to press charges, and you can continue in your present responsibility.” The employer concluded the conversation with his younger employee by saying, “I think you ought to know, however, that you are the second man in this firm who succumbed to temptation and was shown leniency. I was the first. What you have done, I did. The mercy you are receiving, I received. It is only the mercy and grace of God that can keep us both.”
Amen, and, Amen!
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”