The Ministry Of Mercy. 04/11/2014 (EVening thought)

Psalms 145:8 The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. 9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

This passage of scripture describes one of the great attributes of God which forms an integral part of His character. When the Bible speaks of the glory of God, it is mainly referencing His Character as manifested not only to us on planet earth, but also to the entire universe. In the days of the former sanctuary, the mercy seat was strategically placed above the law of God, not because is was more important, but because God delights in mercy.

This attribute was made very prominent in the ministration of Christ while here on earth, in all of His interactions with the members of the human family. Of particular interest is an incident which occurred after a woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. The scribes and pharisees had brought the woman to Christ in public, and exposed her sin in the light of day, hoping to put Christ in opposition to what Moses had written by the inspiration of God, as regarding the adjudication of such cases. Let's read:

John 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

Jesus then responded by writing out what appears to be some of the sins that many of the woman's accusers were guilty of. However, it is quite possible that Christ did not attach names or faces to the sins that were being written out. We deduce this by His interaction with Judas who betrayed Him. Up to the very last Christ deliberately protected the identity of His betrayer, hoping that a personal conviction of sin would lead him to repentance, which of course, it never did. Let's read:

Mark 14:18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me. 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? 20 And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.

And so it was that after all of the woman's accusers had departed, being convicted in their own hearts, Jesus then addressed the woman and spoke to her the words that are all so important for the human ear to hear when we are shackled with sin, and burdened with guilt. Let's read:

John 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

These words, spoken not only to the woman but also to everyone of us, are supposed to be the beginning of a new day in our hearts, as we realize that God does not treat us as we deserve. Because of His tender mercies that are renewed to us every morning, and His great kindness to all generations, He pleads and hopes that His grace and mercy will be appreciated by all who have fallen into sin.

The last five words of His conversation with the woman are also important. In these words we see a solemn appeal by Christ that His mercies manifested towards us would translate into a turning away from sin, on the part of those who have transgressed the law of God.

In our day the same appeals are being made by the same God, for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. God does not condemn the sinner, however He desires that we be cleansed from all unrighteousness, so that the relationship that was broken by sin, but restored by the death of Jesus, would have practical meaning in our daily experience. It is not the will of God that any should perish, that's why He is still calling the world to repentance.

We therefore end with a passage of scripture that should encourage us to go to God and seek restoration, even though our sins may be grievous, for God is merciful and takes pleasure in the person who seeks forgiveness and restoration. Let's read:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

May this passage of scripture bring hope and healing to all who accept God's gracious overtures to save to the uttermost, all who confess and forsake sin. "Good night" and God bless!