All through the Old Testament, we have scenes showing the exceeding mercy
of God. Adam and Eve could rightly have expected
to be killed for their sin when they first met God after they had disobeyed
Him. But instead, He saw their embarassment at being caught having sinned
and made them coats of skins to replace their scratchy fig
leaves. And even as God pronounced a curse on Satan and mankind, He
also promised a Savior who, though being
bruised by the serpent would be victorious over him.
It would seem that Cain really expected
worse punishment when he had killed his own brother, Abel, but again,
God was merciful and gave Cain a mark that would indicate to any who saw
him that they were not to kill him.
David, the man after God's own heart,
was a mighty warrior who killed many of the enemy in battle himself, the
most famous being Goliath. But he also stayed home from one battle he should
have commanded and while at home, he committed multiple sins, some of which
were sins for which the penalty was supposed to be death. He lusted for
another man's wife, used his royal power to commit adultery with her, tried
to cover it up by contriving to have her husband come home and sleep with
her, but when the husband refused, hatched a plan for his murder so he
could marry her himself.
But God was not blind nor deaf and
He knew what David had done and had a prophet go to him and tell him of
his sin. Being a man who really did love God, David repented sincerely
and in sackcloth and ashes instead of adding to his sin by having
the prophet killed, as many other kings would have done.
Out of that experience and realizing
the great mercy of God, we have many Psalms which speak to the mercy and
lovingkindness of God. Numerous places in the Psalms, and especially in
Psalm 118, he declares of the Lord, "...His mercy endureth forever."
I fear that many times we in this
present age forget that we are in a different relationship with God than
the Old Testament saints. In the Old Testament, Jesus had not yet
been born to be the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world that
I believe Abraham promised Isaac He would provide in Genesis 22:8. It was
ONLY God's Grace that brought Jesus Christ to the cross of calvary and
the tomb of resurrection. Let us never forget that extension of His Grace
In the New Testament, following
Jesus sacrificial death, burial, resurrection and ascension as the Lamb
of God (See John 1:29
the promised Holy Spirit came to baptize and fill believers, empowering
us to become new creatures in Christ Jesus with new natures and desires.
What we tend to overlook is that
while God is still merciful, loving and gracious just as He was in the
Old Testament, often "winking at" or overlooking sin, we under the New
Covenant have the advantage over our Old Testament counterparts because
we have "Christ in you, the hope of glory," and "If any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature..." We have the Holy spirit to be our Comforter
as well as giving us power, "Dunamis" to overcome all Satan's temptations
and wiles as well as new desires to love, serve and please our Lord.
The thought I want to be sure and
carry through is that often we hear preaching about the mercy of God on
the one hand and how willing and ready God is to forgive us of sins
much as the Apostle Paul feared the readers of Romans chapter 5 would feel.
Fearing that they would get the thought in mind, "Why not sin more so that
God's grace and mercy can abound even more toward us?" the Apostle begins
Chapter 6 with "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin,
that grace may abound?
"God forbid. How shall we, that
are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
"Know ye not, that so many of us
as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore
we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised
up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk
in newness of life.
"For if we have been planted together
in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of
sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Romans
Especially in certain denominational
circles, most sermons seem to focus almost exclusively on this mercy and
grace of God and could be seen as condoning believers continuing in sin
because of the exceeding mercy, grace and love of God. And nobody
can dispute that God is exceedingly loving, caring, merciful and full of
grace. But while it is very true that God is gracious and merciful, He
is hurt when we do things we know displease Him and are against His will
for our lives. And He has already warned us that certain things bring His
anger and judgment upon us very quickly.
All down through the Biblical history
of mankind, God has repeatedly shown His love, His mercy and His Grace.
Look at the ram in the bushes when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac
and Abraham's prophecy.
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