The Tender Mercy of God

goodfridayMain scripture reading: Ephesians 2:1-7; Romans 2:4

He died the most humiliating, excruciating death. He hung there suffocating and in agony on the wooden cross with nails driven through His wrists and feet. He was forsaken by all and mocked, being appointed with the criminals. But none of that meant nothing to the innocent, sinless Lamb. It meant absolutely nothing compared to the real and utter loneliness He felt when the dirty filth of our sins were upon Him as He died for them. The loneliness that struck Him when the Father had to turn His eyes away from His only beloved Son for a moment because of them. How tender was this grace and mercy of God for us undeserving humans, how tender indeed!

He made evident of the love He has for us by sending His Son to die for our freedom from sin (John 3:16,17). He gave us all that He had—His Son—and promised us more things in abundance because He loves us so much and wants us to be with Him (Romans 8:32). God truly is love and rich in mercy (1 John 4:8).

And yet…

We use that as an excuse to continue to live in sin. We take God’s love for granted assuming He will always be there covering us with grace and mercy when we stop worshiping Him, when we fall away or just continue to do things contrary to His word. We say things like, “well God knows my heart and God is a loving God.” However, because grace and love abounds it does not mean that we should dwell in sin, thinking it’s going to continue to abound when it’s not (Romans 6:1, 2b). Grace means undeserved time extended to get ourselves together. So we need to use that tender mercy given to come to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For those of us who obeyed the gospel and have been added to Christ’s body but has strayed or went back to dwell in sin, let me remind you that while you were dead in that which you went back to, and walking after the course of this wicked world, God made you alive by the death of Jesus Christ. He placed you in unfathomable riches and hid you in Him (Ephesians 2:1-6). Confess those and return back to the One who has given you life, lest you obeyed the gospel in vain.

For those living in sin and outside of the body of Christ: though the Father decided and the Son voluntarily accepted to fulfill the reconciliation between Him and mankind, this act of kindness and mercy is intended to lead you (and even us Christian who fell astray) to turn away from your sins and stop doing them (Romans 2:4). Yes, God is an absolute loving God, but He is also the God of wrath to those who disobey Him. Those who continually disobey Him “trample under foot the Son of God and consider His [precious, cleansing] blood as unclean” as a result they “insult the Spirit of Grace” (Hebrews 10:29).

Let us not do that to our God. Let us stop despising the richness of God’s loving-kindness and tender mercy by excusing ourselves from and continuing in sin.

 

 

Hosanna in the Highest!

be8c377d5bdf6a7763c9224d3b154f3bMain background scripture reading: Luke 19:28-40

Cross references: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; John 12:12-15

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.’ But Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!'” (Luke 19:39, 40). I’ve read this passage many, many times and have never understood it until today. The Lord Jesus Christ made a rather magnificent, humble entry while going up to Jerusalem. The disciples glorified and praised Him, calling Him the promised King who will reign forever. Such an entry of the blessed Lord received remarks from the Pharisees. They commanded Jesus to stop His disciples from proclaiming such praise, and He simply said, “If they cease, the stones will cry out.” 

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Moving Past the Past

11538058_10153453308945536_5487032622042982573_oSometimes we truly do not understand what Christ did on the cross at Calvary; what He went through when He manifested Himself in the flesh. We are so intent on the things we have done in the past, feeling ashamed and guilty. We feel as though we won’t ever be forgiven, not even by God Himself. The truth of the matter is that when we begin to feel this way, we make void the sacrifice of Christ and minimize what His sufferings and death meant. The apostle Paul wrote that Christ’s shed blood was a free gift given by God in order for us to be set free from the guilt and shame of sin (Romans 3:24-26). When Christ said He came into this world to save us and forgive us of our sins, He absolutely meant it. He did not lie; it’s impossible for Him to do so (Hebrews 6:18).
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Victory in Christ

the-empty-tombTaking our last breath in this life not in Christ and still in bondage to sin results in eternal separation from God–separated from His glory, and separated from His presence. What places a barrier between us and God are our transgressions against His word. The prophet Isaiah stated, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you” (Isaiah 59:2). That’s how defiling sin is! Jehovah knew we would not master over our transgressions without His help, so He sent His only Son to be our atonement. Now it’s in Christ that we obtain victory; as the apostle Paul wrote, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

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