Wednesday, April 23, 2008
“Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life…”
The religious leaders in Christ’s day on earth, falsely assumed that because they were blessed with riches, religious esteem, and were prospering in this life, that they were therefore objects of God’s grace.
Our Lord in Matthew 23 used very condemning language to show them that anything outward is purely temporal and is NO indication of being God’s children. One might well be rich and condemned, just as one may well be poor and saved, Luke 16:18-20.
The distinction between "grace" and "mercy" is necessary to make.
In grace there is always mercy...particular and distinct, based on the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Lot’s own confession is that of all who are taught by the Lord’s Spirit.
There is mercy to be had, and they cry for it, but only on the basis of God’s saving sovereign grace toward them because of the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus.
On the other hand, there are many mercies of God manifest toward even the non-elect (breath, food, comfort, health and prosperity) that are not necessarily evidences of grace.
In truth, anything this side of hell is a mercy, but just because God has not yet cast a soul into hell, in no way means that they are objects of His saving grace. Mercy may be described as God withholding what we deserve as elect ones (Lamentations 3:22), even as it may be described as God withholding hell for a time from reprobates (Nehemiah 9:27).
However, mercy alone is not salvation. God causes the sun to shine on the just and the unjust without distinction, Matthew 5:45.
God may withhold eternal judgment from many for awhile, all the while prospering their temporal lives. Because of this many are puffed up in pride by such mercies, assuming themselves to be ‘blessed,’ when in reality, it is just God hardening them further against the day of wrath - Romans 2:25
Nonetheless, mercy given with grace is unique, particular, and determinate on behalf of sinners that God has chosen, redeemed and justified in Christ - Ephesians 2:8,9. In due time, God does reveal Christ in them, and they do therefore rejoice in the grace of God, more so even than the temporal mercies.
Do you know the gift of Christ and grace AND mercy in Him because of His righteousness imputed, and thankful for them, as much as the daily gifts of life He gives to sustain you in your earthly pilgrimage?
By Ken Wimer