Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"His Delight, Our Delight"

    One of the great contrasts between God and ourselves involves His natural inclination to forgive.

   "He delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18).

  Not only does our Heavenly Father desire to pardon and restore.  He rather delights in it.  God loves to forgive, even as the father of the prodigal ran to greet his wayward son when he returned home in shame and brokenness (Luke 15:20).  Or as the Psalmist confirms, "For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee" (Psalm 86:5).  The New Testament even more reveals the degree to which our Father delights to forgive - "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

   Contrast such wondrous truth against the innate fleshly proclivity of humanity.  Vengeance comes natural to us rather than mercy, despite the fact of our own sins against others.  We often build crosses on which to hang our offenders, as it were, rather than die upon them for our offenders.  "Jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore, he will not spare in the day of vengeance" (Proverbs 6:34).  

   Left to ourselves, the tooth and the claw would more characterize human relationships than even the bloody nature of the animal kingdom.  Thankfully, our Lord does not leave us to ourselves.  His pervading influence presently provides a limited restraint upon our natural tendency toward destruction.  Moreover, in those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God imparts His indwelling character and nature into our spirits.  "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).  Thereby believers possess the capacity, through Christ, to overcome our natural proclivity by walking in accordance with our Father's supernatural disposition to mercy - "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22).

   We must believe such blessed truth about our Lord, and about ourselves as spiritually birthed and constituted in Him.  The Apostle Paul referred to believers as "vessels of mercy" (Romans 9:23).  The Spirit of Christ inhabits us in order that we may "walk even as He walked" (I John 2:6).  Few traits of the Lord Jesus more honor God than our determination to forgive as we have been forgiven.  His delight in mercy is now our delight in mercy, regardless of our fleshly tendencies to the contrary.  This we affirm, first because it is true, and then in order to experience God's winsome mercy not only in our personal reception, but also in bestowal upon others.

"Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

(Ephesians 4:32)

Weekly Memory Verse

   Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.

(II Thessalonians 3:16)

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