The Church has been singing John Newton’s Amazing Grace for many years.
God’s grace isn’t just interesting or intriguing; It’s amazing!
But I find the patience of God equally amazing. Reflect on these great words from the NT,
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
Scripture warns us not to “show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:4).
- What is the first quality of true love described in I Corinthians 13:8? “Love is patient.”
- Since God is love (I John 4:8), patience flows from Him.
- Jesus showed great patience when He prayed: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
- The Old Testament repeats a cluster of descriptive attributes of God, reminding us that He is: “gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love—and He relents from sending calamity” (see: Exodus 34:6-7; Joel 2:13, 18; Jonah 4:2).
Deeply interwoven with the grace and patience of God, is another attribute that amazes me – God’s mercy.
“For the Lord your God is a merciful God” (Deuteronomy 4:31).
- Scripture speaks of “the tender mercy of our God” (Luke 1:78).
- We confess that, “The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made”(Psalm 145:9), for “He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25).
- Yet we stand in awe before God’s prerogative to declare, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy (Romans 9:15).
- Those who have experienced God’s salvation know clearly that, “when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:4-5).
- With the apostle Paul, I confess, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners —of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life” (I Timothy 1:15-16).
Mercy is a willingness to “take into account” certain things about the object of mercy — in a way that restrains the judgment that is deserved.
What does it mean that God, “does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities”? (Psalm 103:10).
A few verses later the Psalmist testified that, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:13-14).
God mercifully takes our dust like constitution into account.
I have a lot to learn from God’s mercy.
Someone once said that we would like for God to operate His world on a principle of immediate justice unless we’re the ones in the wrong. We plead for mercy when we are in the wrong.
I find the words of Scripture sobering, “judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).
Our Lord blessed “the merciful” declaring that “they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
Any tendency I have to be unmerciful should cause me to tremble before these words. When I observe how unmerciful some people behave (while claiming to have experienced God’s mercy), I fear for them.
Are you grateful that mercy found you?
The apostle Paul testified that, “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy” (I Timothy 1:13). I am amazed to think that I have a place in God’s narrative of mercy! Worship our merciful God with the words of this song.