Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mercy... From the Mountaintops!

(Thanks to my dear brother and friend Hugh for inspiration on this one.)

"He delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18).
I often return to the theme in personal terms, and I love to consider it with others. Mercy never has to be dragged from the heart of God, even as the Psalmist joyfully declared, "For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee" (Psalm 86:5).

The world, the devil, and the flesh arise to protest. "Such a notion is dangerous! People will take advantage of God and His truth if He is portrayed in such terms! They'll sin frivolously, and then go running back to the altar of easy grace to be forgiven and cleansed!"

The best way to counter this accusation is to agree with it. Yes, some people will make a mockery of mercy, and "wrest... the Scriptures unto their own destruction" (II Peter 3:16). Some will misunderstand, and view God in terms that neglect the fact that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (a fall that, interestingly, concerns not unbelievers, but rather "His people" - Hebrews 10:30-31). All truth can be misunderstood and misapplied. But this is no reason not to shout it from the mountaintops, especially when mercy is the blessed refrain we proclaim.

God loves to forgive. He loves to "not deal with us after our sins, nor reward us according to our iniquities" (Psalm 103:10). He delighteth in mercy! No repentant sinner or failing saint ever need look toward the cross, the empty tomb, and the heavenly throne of grace with the slightest bit of uncertainty about the inclination of the One who hung on that cross, exited that tomb, and sits on that throne. The Lord Jesus Christ gave every last drop of His blood so when we need its blessed cleansing, it will be there for us. And it is. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:19-22).

Do we believe this? Do we view our God in this most blessed way? Do we relate to Him in such terms? Do we exalt His mercy as does the Psalmist? Do we "give thanks unto the God of gods, for His mercy endureth forever?" (Psalm 136:3). Do we "sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning?" (Psalm 59:16). And is it formed deep in the core of our being that the misery of sin and all its sordid effects kneel before the mercy of God and its glorious power to redeem all who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ? It must be, because mercy viewed rightly, and appropriated as needed, changes our hearts and causes the indwelling love of God to become realized love for God. He delighteth in mercy, and if you or I need it in this moment, it will be joyfully provided as we come by the way of the Son.

"There is a place of forgiveness and grace, our God delighteth in mercy.
For all who will come by the way of the Son
will find His pardon so plenty.

He deligheth, our God delighteth in mercy.
He delighteth, our God delighteth in mercy.

Blood has been shed, Christ is risen from the dead, our God delighteth in mercy,
So fall to your knees, His forgiveness receive,
our God delighteth in mercy.

He deligheth, our God delighteth in mercy.
He delighteth, our God delighteth in mercy.
There is a place of forgiveness and grace, our God delighteth in mercy.

"Come, let us reason together, saith the Lord. Thou your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall as wool."
(Isaiah 1:18)

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