The Mercy of God (A few thoughts on Ephesians 2:4)
- God is rich in mercy and he lavishes it on his children. God is more merciful than we are sinful. We cannot out-sin the mercy of God.
- His mercy is a transformational force. It is powerful and capable of transforming the worst sinner into a saint and a struggling believer into a victorious one.
- God’s mercy is pardoning. It is forgiveness. It is restoration.
- He walks in the midst of men and splurges his mercy on them till he leaves them in awe and in reverential fear of him. For human beings are very much aware of how enormous their sins are. We know how much we have fallen short of the glory of God and its righteousness. We know the standard (JESUS) and we know how distant we are from him, in terms of conduct and character. Therefore, anytime we receive pardon, forgiveness and restoration after we have missed the mark, it is as if we are rendered paralyzed in shock. We know what our sins deserve. Although we don’t like the repercussions of our deeds, yet we know we deserve them. Hence to be pardoned, forgiven and restored after the grave sins that we commit is a plot twist that no literary giant could ever develop in a storyline. No wonder the Psalmist said this about God concerning his forgiveness: “With you there is forgiveness, so that you may be feared”. Psalm 130:4. His mercy invokes fear in us.
- His mercy is a heavy weight that forces us to our knees and causes us to worship. God is hallowed because of his mercy. Sin and its resultant effect, guilt, tend to create a gaping chasm between man and God. His mercy can only be found in his presence (Hebrews 4:16). And where can we hide from the omnipresent God? (Psalm 139:7). Anytime we sin, the guilt keeps us away from God, or it causes us to think we can actually hide ourselves in a place where the omnipresent God cannot find us. A good understanding and revelation of God’s mercy will cause us to run to him so we can find mercy in his presence. This should be our reaction to the guilt we feel after committing any sin at all. We must come to ourselves, pack our belongings and run into the merciful, widely opened-arms of our father who was already waiting for us.
- His mercy is not a postponement of punishment. It is not a ‘divine sulking:’ where although God isn’t punishing us for our sins, he isn’t being himself towards us either. It is a complete pardon we receive when our sins require their wages, death. The very moment we repent and ask for forgiveness, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). God’s mercy is that which snatches people from the grip of the enemy. Guilt keeps us away from God. Guilt is the hiding away from the presence of God once our sins make us realize our nakedness. Guilt is clothes made of fig leaves to cover our sins and shame. But the mercy of God is the voice walking in the garden in the cool of the day. It is clothes made from animal skin to cover our shame and nakedness.
- In God’s mercy, there is a deliberate forgetfulness of the sins of his children. Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more”. It is important for us to note that this forgetfulness cannot be likened to amnesia. The latter refers to loss of memory which is definitely not deliberate. But God’s decision to forget our sins is deliberate. The irony here is that the Omniscient God is saying he will intentionally forget something – in this case our sins. To be all-knowing is to be more knowledgeable than all reasoning beings and possess infinite ability to apply or make use of this knowledge. To be all-knowing is to be the repository of all knowledge and information. This is what God means when he said in Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”. Therefore, for the all-knowing God to choose to forget our sins, implies that his mercy is so powerful it can cause him to deliberately let go of information. For God to be omniscient, he must of a necessity possess the ability to retain information in bulk quantities. He must have a database of information that would make the most sophisticated servers of this world look like diskettes in comparison to. Therefore, it is shocking for God to choose to intentionally let go of some files: to forget some of our deeds and misdeeds. All this is because his mercy is a powerful and transformational force. It is one thing to realize that God is merciful or has some mercy in him. But when Paul states that God is rich in mercy, we come to the understanding that he has it in immeasurable quantities.
- God is merciful because he loves us. His mercy is a function of his enormous love for us. Even human beings tend to be more merciful towards people we love so we can never fathom how merciful God (who is love) is.
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