Is God’s Mercy something that lasts forever and one can even pray for and receive? What can we learn from God’s Mercy and how well do we understand it? How does He show mercy to the millions on earth today that may not even know Him? Does He do that?
Not all of humanity are being called today, because the majority are steeped in false religions; but anyone who has and especially those who have fully responded to their calling, should have begun to know something about God’s mercy! (See the article “Seeing your Calling” for more on that particular subject.) God’s Mercy seems to be an ongoing thing, according to what His word reveals—not just a onetime deal for the newly baptized—as we all have to continue to be willing to recognize sin, repent and cry out for forgiveness as long as we are in this human body! God continues to show mercy by continually granting His forgiveness to those who seek it.
Psalms 136 is all about that mercy, when it is read in the KJV & NKJ, it is repeated over and over. Let us note the first three verses here, the KJV; V.1 “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. 3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.” So we see God’s Mercy recorded here as well as many other places in the Bible, depending on which translation you are reading from. It is interesting that the RSV translates this as; “His steadfast love” and when looking at the definition of “mercy” the word is “checed ^2617^, "loving-kindness; steadfast love; grace; mercy; faithfulness; goodness; devotion." (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words—Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Certainly God’s nature includes all of those character traits listed, which He applies in various ways and in many different circumstances for those who love and honor Him. We find this recorded in Ps 103:17-18; “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, 18 To such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them”. (It stands to reason that God can and does withhold His mercy from those who deliberately choose to act in disobedience. Within the 2nd Commandment, we find this; “For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exo.20:5-6-NKJ)
However, even those now called and converted are all still human and sometimes we can and do get caught up in the moment of some situation, lose our focus, temporarily forgetting that great mercy that has already been shown. Once this is done then realized, the true Christian is prompted or “led” by the Holy Spirit to repent of that sin or sins that may have now been committed, will desire to make it right, if possible with others but especially to be brought back in line or be “justified” once again with God. (Rom.5:9) Effort must be put forth to do this and God is merciful to forgive, as we see in Jer.3:12; "Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: 'Return, backsliding Israel,' says the LORD, 'I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,' says the LORD; 'I will not remain angry forever.” —but sometimes things go so far and too long in “off course mode” without our recognition, it requires being woke up to see we are off course. (This even happened to King David, concerning Bathsheba, as one sin led to another and they together broke several Commandments.)
Sometimes even this kind of rebuke does not work with some however, because one sin does add to another and can cause a person to become stubborn of heart and not willing to recognize their sins. Notice the next verse here in Jer.3:13 “Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God,--(NKJ) God requires this of those whom He has clearly shown mercy to, before extending more of that mercy. It is by God’s good grace & mercy, that anyone is granted repentance. (Rom.2:4)
The letter to Laodicea is one of those “wake up!” letters for the end time COG. (Rev.3:14-21) Some, according to this letter, have obviously lost their Spiritual sense of direction, but are not able to see it, being in a lukewarm and compromising state being blinded by Satan, the deceiver—(Rev.12:9 & 2Cor.4:3-4)— not able to see that Spiritual blindness has clouded their view! This is another place we see more of that mercy of God, shown through Christ and others inspired to try and help, to bring some back to their senses to even see they have a need for repentance; yes even in the COG. Rev 3:17 "Because you say, (Christ is saying to those lukewarm of this time frame of Laodicea) 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'-- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—(NKJ) And this is speaking spiritually, in the perspective of those who may be in a COG organization somewhere today who have convinced themselves they are in good standing with God when they actually are not. But Christ shows His love and willingness to extend mercy, upon zealous repentance (V.19) because He loves the called out ones as well as the human race.
(Many today claim the “Philadelphian” stature or position for themselves and their organizations. However they are very lacking in Godly love and mercy, having become Laodicea, as HWA once said he thought could happen.)
We see that Paul instructed Timothy to use humility when instructing some, in the hope that God (In His Mercy) would grant them repentance and they would be able to come to their senses; (2Tim.2:25-26) but there is also an example of the need to reach some today, who have already been enlightened, which is even more serious! These are in a different category, having already been called and given the Spirit—but it seems have not really grown Spiritually. In Heb 5: previous to V.11-14, the context is on Christ and what He endured for our sakes, becoming the “author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,”--(NKJ)—but note what the author of this book brings in next; V.11 “of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.”
This is written to those who should have grown to the point of helping others and in service to Christ as the head of the Church—V.12 “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food (Spiritual meat) belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
This Spiritual growth, granted through God’s mercy and by the Holy Spirit, is much needed to be able to recognize the subtle attempts of Satan at blinding the mind, to get at and even deceive by wrong influence, (Eph.2:2) some of the elect! (Matt.24:24-25) This does not have to be just from “false prophets”, as even mates or family members can catch us off guard and pull us into wrong thinking and actions, when we lose Spiritual focus and let down on Spiritual discernment of what is happening in the world and going on around us even in the COG. (The meaning of this term here is “a spurious prophet, i.e. pretended foreteller or religious impostor.” These will not strive to be right with Scripture, will even distort it and may deliberately falsely interpret it or change the wording; so it can apply to anyone subtly used as an agent of Satan out to deceive or manipulate even the elect of God.)
It is in those times (here today) that we desperately need the Holy Spirit in us to be active, so we can go to God in prayer and then search to find that right direction from His word, following the lead of His Spirit in belief. Yes we can pray for mercy, as Hebrews 4:16 indicates, and we should also be praying for more of His Spirit and the Gift of discernment, so we can more quickly recognize the subtleties of Satan at work, before we get caught up in something that takes us out from under God’s umbrella of mercy.
All of these passages we have seen show God’s great love for us, His pardon or mercy that cannot be earned by us, that is part of His divine nature. Now, as we do grow Spiritually, we will be moving forward into more and better understanding, as Hebrews 6:1-3 continues on from where Chapter 5:14 left off. (Go back and read all of those verses in context. They lead right up to the context of those who will not repent and cannot be given that mercy of forgiveness anymore, because they have completely fallen away.) A true convert should have some evidence of the Spirit of God working in their lives, prompting them in the way they should go in times trials. In turn, we can help others come through their trials, if they are inclined to listen. We need God’s Mercy working in our lives and should be learning to show mercy to others, if we are growing Spiritually. God also grants the wisdom to make right judgments, which we also need and comes through the Holy Spirit to guide us in those as well. (James 3:13 -18) God is no respecter of persons—shows no partiality—but is merciful even in judgment, to those who are willing to take correction and also show mercy to others.
God has even planned for a time of merciful judgement for those who never knew Him in this physical life. That is what the EIGHTH DAY is all about. (New booklet)
James 2:13 says; “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” So we need to learn how to show mercy in order to receive mercy, and this too, is granted from God and is His mercy to us. Everything about our Christian life is a product, one way or another, of God’s Mercy! Jude Vs:21-23 (NAS) “keep yourselves in the love of God, (this takes the application of Matt.6:33) waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; (Maybe stubbornly refusing to accept truth at the time) 23 save others, (as much as is in our power) snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” We find these comforting words in II Jn 1:3 “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”
This too, is evidence of God’s continuing Mercy and loving grace.
(Written by the editor for TCOGMSO)