Last week we looked at how the seeming “delay” of Christ’s return is a manifestation of God’s patience. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) In this patience we also see mercy. In His justice, God could send Jesus back to earth, condemning unbelievers for eternity. And He has every right and opportunity to do so…
Therefore, every day that we get, every sunrise, every conversation, literally every breath we breathe is an act of mercy from God.
“The steadfast love of the Lᴏʀᴅ never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
In the church, we love the phrase, “His mercies are new every morning.” It gives us hope and comfort and nice wall hangings for our home or office. But we miss the much bigger picture. It is not like God is in heaven, an alarm goes off and He says, “Sunrise just happened. Dole out the mercies.” The prophet Jeremiah precedes “new mercies” with the fact that God’s mercies “never come to an end.” How can something that never ends also be new every morning?
Every moment we experience is a new creation from God. Every moment is His to decide. Every moment is an active creation by the Word of God. Because of this, the “unending mercy” of God continues in his unending nature, yet at the same time, each moment of creation is a brand new act of mercy that allows God to finish His work so “that all should reach repentance.”
So each of us, even those who do not believe (or outright reject) the Gospel, are recipients of the mercy of God. But His mercy does not stop by giving us each new day (or moment). It is the merciful nature of God that sent Jesus to die on the cross. We have read about the pursuing, perfecting, and powerful love of God. Ephesians 2 tells us, “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…”
Quick English lesson:
Take out the subordinate clauses and you get: “God…made us alive together with Christ.”
Why did he do that: “because of the great love with which he loved us”
What prompted it: “being rich in mercy”
God could have, “being rich in justice, because of the great love with which he loved us,” (acting perfectly just, motivated by love as a father disciplines a son) punished our sin. And he would have been and remained righteous. But “being rich in mercy,” and motivated by love, he knew and invoked an equally just solution to our sin, thereby revealing His love, justice, and mercy through one act.
We have seen the mercy of God in creation.
We have seen the mercy of God in redemption.
We can also see the mercy of God displayed through His people:
“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
In light of the cross, this verse makes even more sense to believers. He has shown us, through the Cross of Christ, what is good:
- To do justly – that is, do what is right, honest, and in line with His Word (just as he did when He punished our sin, through Jesus).
- To love mercy – that is, to rejoice when an opportunity for mercy is made (just as he did when Jesus paid for our sins, fulfilling the law while also freeing us from our debts).
And what does the Lord require of us: Once we clothe ourselves with Jesus Christ, our task is to model acts of mercy-justice-love while “walking humbly” with the understanding that it is God’s mercy that has given us this moment, our salvation, and the example by which to live.