God’s Mercy

If not for God’s mercy we would all be consumed by His wrath because of our sin.  Israel abandoned God in the Promised Land, following the customs and gods of the people around them.  God brought the decreed judgment upon them because of their apostasy.  They suffered the wrath of God.  Yet in that suffering they remembered God’s merciful love and forgiveness.

13 He has caused the arrows of His quiver to pierce my loins.  14 I have become the ridicule of all my people—Their taunting song all the day.  15 He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drink wormwood.  16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel, And covered me with ashes.  17 You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity.  18 And I said, “My strength and my hope Have perished from the Lord.”  19 Remember my affliction and roaming, The wormwood and the gall.  20 My soul still remembers And sinks within me.  21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.  22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”  25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.  26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.  Lamentations 3:13-26

Even as God’s children redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ, we can struggle with sin.  We can then experience the judgment of God through the removal of His favor and not experience the privilege of His presence.  When we grieve the Holy Spirit, who works the graces of faith in our lives, then we struggle with those godly behaviors that at one time were second nature to our spirits.  Our hearts are cold towards our Savior, our minds wander as we read His Word, our prayers are weak and ineffective, and our love of others is measly.  Our only recourse in this fetid swamp of disease and digression is to turn to our merciful Lord and seek His forgiveness.

Although there are some who teach this verse only applies to our initial experience of salvation, teaching that we do not sin after we are saved, the verses surrounding the text teach otherwise.  Additionally there are the words of our Lord and Savior about His remedy for the cleansing of our sin after we are saved that bolsters the truth that this verse applies to God’s children, as well as those who come to Jesus for salvation.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.  1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.  And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  1 John 1:9-2:2

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and the He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.  5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.  6 Then He came to Simon Peter.  And Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”  Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”  9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”  10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”  11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”  12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.  16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.  17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.  18 I do not speak concerning all of you.  I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heal against Me.’”  John 13:3-18

Jesus washed the disciples’ feet to illustrate the need for cleansing from the sin that so easily besets us.  We know He was referring to sin, because He said they were all clean, belonging to Him because He had already washed them, except for Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him.  In our daily walk with the Lord we need to repent of and confess our sin to Jesus Christ so that He will forgive us and cleanse us from all of our sins so that we can then be restored to the experience of His fellowship and the graces of faith in our lives.  We must then extend this forgiveness received from the Lord to those around us when they sin against us, especially our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  God lets us know that failure to extend forgiveness to others blocks the reception of His forgiveness in our lives and so overthrows the experience of His grace in our hearts and minds.  However, this knowledge that Jesus Christ will forgive us from our stumbling with sin should never be an excuse for sin in our lives.

9 “In this manner, therefore, pray:  Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name.  10 Your kingdom come.  Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.  11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.  13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.  14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Matthew 6:9-15

31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:31-32

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.  Colossians 3:12-14

23 For all His judgments were before me; And as for His statues, I did not depart from them.  24 I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity.  2 Samuel 22:23-24

We are not only to confess our sins to Jesus Christ, we are commanded by God to confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed.  I confess that lately I have been struggling with the sin of complaining.  This is the opposite of God’s commandment that we are to give Him thanks in all things through Jesus Christ.   While this may seem meager in the eyes of some, it is a grievous sin in the sight of our God.  God brought judgment upon the Israelites because of their complaining, and many died from God’s wrath.

2 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.  3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full!  For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”… 8 Also Moses said, “This shall be seen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him.  And what are we?  Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”  Exodus 16:2-3 & 8

7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them.  As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”  8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.  11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.  12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.  1 Corinthians 10:7-13

15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.  James 5:15-18

Please pray for me and I will also pray for you.  May God richly bless us as we live for Him and love one another.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  19 Do not quench the Spirit.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  Colossians 3:17

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