Friday, October 9, 2009

His Great Mercy - 1 Peter 1:3-5 continued

One of the reasons that God is worthy of our worship is because of His great mercy. I just can’t keep away from looking up the Greek since some versions use the word abundant instead of great. While abundant is much more descriptive of God’s mercy, the Greek is polus (pol-oos') which means much or many or large so great is probably more accurate. Now I’m off on a rabbit trail because polus sounds a lot like Palouse which is a huge, abundant wheat producing area in eastern Washington that extending into Idaho and Oregon. If you’ve ever driven though the area in the spring, it is a beautiful green and turns to gold when the wheat ripens later in the year. The origin of the word Palouse is debated but thought to come from French and has nothing to do with abundance or greatness but it should. God’s abundant and great mercy is certainly shown by the provision that we receive from this part of our nation.

The love of God, his mercy and grace can be seen in the O.T. as well as the N.T. However, to understand His mercy and grace I also have to understand that without it, I would be suffering His wrath. The following verses express both His mercy and my guilt and the consequences if I did not receive His mercy. Ex 34:6-7 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." (NASB). My sin and rebellion against God will certainly have far-reaching consequences, not only on my eternal destiny but also upon my children and those of others. The people I vote for, the causes I embrace, my lack of respect for nature, if not guided by God are sin and affect many generations.

The greatness of His mercy can be seen in Eph 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. (NIV) God has taken me out of the realm of the dead and given me life. Of course, before this happened, I thought I was alive, not realizing that my spirit was dead because of my sins. That’s the biggest problem in presenting the Gospel to anyone, convincing a person that he or she is a sinner. My friend, Larry Kent, has written some tracts that help do this. They have been translated into many languages. Go to http://www.tracts.com/ShareJesus.html to see them.

Now back to the Bible. One last thing about God’s mercy and love, it isn’t like my concept of love. I generally love others because they are nice people and we get along with each other. These are people who are relatively decent toward others. However, can I say that I love my enemy or those that have insulted, maligned, or ignored me? Before becoming a Christian I was an enemy of God whether I knew it or not. Most of us would probably say we were not. Unfortunately the Bible says that when I love the stuff in the world that isn’t aligned with God’s plan and direction, I’m His enemy. James 4:4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (NIV ) So how great is God’s mercy? This is how great it is: Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB) How about that? Jesus died for me when I was His enemy.

Yes, God is worthy of worship – blessed – because of His great mercy.

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