The Doctrine of Mercy - Part 2

February 6, 2022

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

Last week we learned that every believer has a relationship with God based on His Mercy. We receive His Mercy for our past mistakes. We receive His Grace for our spiritual strength and integrity when under pressure. Mercy is also the divine prescription that removes guilt from our lives. God’s mercy extends far beyond His kindness in providing for the basic needs of His creatures. It is also the means by which we are redeemed and forgiven for our sins, with their eternal consequences removed. And through God’s Mercy, we are blessed with adoption into His family. Mercy is the compassion and kindness which God shows us and is an inherent attribute of His. It’s also the expression of His Grace Policy toward all of us. Because of God’s Mercy, we can now approach God thus creating a relationship with Him.

DAN 9:9 (English Standard Version) tells us that: To The Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness…The apostle James wrote about what will happen if believers don’t have this same attitude toward one another: Those who have not shown mercy will not receive mercy when they are judged. To show mercy is better than to judge. JAM 2:13 (New International Reader’s Version) Our Heavenly Father wants us to be aware of His Example of how He treats us and be like Him in our dealings with others.

Having mercy toward other people in our daily lives becomes necessary in our relationships at home, at school and at work. When your siblings or friends treat you badly, if you show them mercy, the bad feelings will go away and the hurt will heal. Showing mercy will also create peace in your life.

Mercy is one of the main reasons why Our Lord is Patient and Compassionate toward us. HEB 8:12 (New American Standard Bible) quotes Him as saying: “For I will be merciful toward their wrongdoings, And their sins I will no longer remember.” This verse describes how we should act toward those who have done us wrong. The key is to forgive and forget about the wrongdoings that are done to you. Forgiveness involves the overcoming of anger and resentment. Mercy involves the withholding of harsh treatment that one has a right to inflict. Both allow for healing.

As we learned, mercy is also the basis and the grounds for the believer’s relationship with God. Mercy is related to our sins and failures, whereas grace is related to God’s provisions. So, because of God’s Mercy, we can now approach Him to have a relationship with Him: So let us boldly approach God’s throne of grace. Then we will receive mercy. We will find grace to help us when we need it. (HEB 4:16 New International Reader’s Version) Notice we are told to approach Him. And we’re told to do it boldly! This is an important part of our relationship with Our Heavenly Father. The point is for us to make the effort to go to Him and to do it with confidence!

Throughout the Word of God, His people were constantly being offered Mercy from Him so that they would repent and come back into fellowship. Remember the Mercy Seat from last week? God mentions it in the following verse: I will meet you there at set times and speak with you from above the Atonement-Cover and from between the angel-figures that are on it, speaking the commands that I have for the Israelites. (EXO 25:22 The Message Bible) God’s Integrity is the point of reference and the place of contact between God and man.

So, in the Old Testament, the Mercy Seat was the physical location where the blood of the atoning sacrifice was offered. In the New Testament, it is The Cross that was the physical location where Jesus Christ, Our Atoning Sacrifice, was offered up and His Blood poured out on our behalf. The Old Testament Mercy Seat looked ahead to The Atoning Work of Jesus Christ, while The Cross looks back at The Atoning Work of Our Lord. In this way, The Cross has become a useful symbol to represent Our Savior as both the Mercy Seat and the Atoning Sacrifice that was offered there.

The New Testament also confirms the importance of the Mercy Seat as a shadow of propitiation. The Greek word for mercy is “hilaskomai” which is the word propitiation – the basis for God being merciful and gracious to us. Propitiation is the Godward side of The Work of Christ in Salvation while reconciliation is the manward side of that work. Propitiation means satisfaction. God The Father is satisfied with the Sacrificial Ministry of Our Lord Jesus Christ on The Cross. Propitiation is The Work of Christ on The Cross that deals with God’s Integrity. Propitiation means that Our Savior Jesus Christ satisfied God The Father. In propitiation, God’s Justice judges our sins and His Integrity is satisfied with that judgment. It is the down payment on our salvation.

Last week, we also studied The Day of Atonement and learned it was a solemn, holy day accompanied by elaborate ritual. The high priest who officiated on that day sanctified himself by taking a ceremonial bath and putting on white garments. Then he had to make atonement for himself and other priests by sacrificing a bull. The Day of Atonement portrayed the whole picture of Salvation from the standpoint of propitiation. The sprinkling of animal blood represented the Spiritual Death of Christ bearing our sins and the acceptance by the Integrity of God of that Work. The resultant principle is that at the moment of Salvation, God’s Justice is satisfied, freeing His Love to motivate His Justice to bless the believer. Because of Jesus Christ’s Work on The Cross, God is now free to love and bless us.

Christ is the Mercy Seat. Sin is inside the ark underneath the Mercy Seat. The Righteousness and Justice of God see the blood on the Mercy Seat, which represents The Work of Christ on The Cross, and is satisfied. This was just symbolic of God’s Mercy in the Old Testament because judgment was delayed on all sins until The Cross. This was true for all sins, past, present, and future. That is why mercy is part our salvation. He saved us. It wasn’t because of the good things we had done. It was because of his mercy. (TIT 3:5 New International Reader’s Version)

Jesus shares a parable of mercy which is found inLUK 18:9-14 (The Message Bible): He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’” Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” This parable reveals how a merciful oriented believer thinks.

Note what kind of people He spoke this parable to: those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous. That’s self-justification which is the first stage of the arrogant skills. There are people like this that you’re going to meet in your life – born-again believers among them – who are convinced that they’re always right. If somebody says something and proves that they’re wrong, they go crazy and that puts them into the second stage of the arrogant skills which is self-deception. This leads to self-absorption where they take their very own flaws and super-impose them on others. It’s crazy!!

Arrogance is a major contradiction to the Pre-Designed Plan of God and therefore the primary reason for the believer’s failure to execute God’s Plan, Will, and Purpose. Arrogance is the basic mental attitude sin. Notice the tax man’s humility which is the complete opposite of arrogance and notice how Jesus called him “made right with God.”

{to be continued}

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