(Edited and Reprinted from December 2012)
God’s Word tells us that He is a God of great mercy. He is plenteous in mercy, He is rich in mercy. His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting, and the immeasurable greatness of His mercy is compared to the vast limitlessness of the heavens.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear [love, respect] Him, and His righteousness [His just justice] is unto children's children. PSALM 103:8,11,17
What is mercy? Mercy is active compassion. In other words, it is compassion that takes the action that is needed to meet someone’s need. When God, by His mercy, acts to meet man’s need, His ‘ways’ of doing what’s needed to provide a solution or deliverance are much, much greater than man’s ways.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
God put man, Adam, in the garden of Eden. All that God had created and made was ‘very good’ and Adam was given dominion. When Adam chose to disobey God’s warning, the sin-nature entered and, because of the sin-nature, death also entered.
Wherefore, as by one man [Adam], sin [the sin=the sin-nature] entered into the world, and death by sin [the sin]. And so death passed upon all men. ROMANS 5:12A
Man now had a great need—an answer to death. It is written that then, at that initial time of man’s need, God promised—by His mercy—a redeemer, a promised ‘seed’. This seed of God would be born of a woman, and his sacrifice would redeem man from the grave.
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever [for ever=unto uninterrupted continuance] sat down on the right hand of God. HEBREWS 10:12
Centuries later, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to deliver a message to a young woman named Mary, who was ‘espoused’ to be married to Joseph.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
He shall be great, and shall be called the son of the Highest. LUKE 1:30-32A
God—by His mercy—took the action needed to meet man’s need. He created His ‘seed’ in the womb of Mary. She conceived God’s son, and nine months later:
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David); to be taxed [registered] with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. LUKE 2:4-7
Joseph was ‘of the house and lineage of David’. The lineage of David was of the lineage (or bloodline) of Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. God gave Jacob the name Israel. Israel’s sons, and the generations of their offspring, are ‘the children of Israel’. Because of man’s need for a redeemer, God—by His mercy—made a covenant with the children of Israel. When there came a time of tremendous need for deliverance, God spoke to Moses:
I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered My covenant.
Say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the
burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched-out arm, and with great judgments.
And I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord. EXODUS 6:5-8
What GREAT mercy! Would God do any less for us, His new-covenant sons of God? About 970 years after God delivered His covenant people out of the bondage in Egypt, they again were in great peril. The prophet Jeremiah was warning them that they were in imminent danger of being taken captive by the Babylonian nation. But wait… Had the Lord God forgotten His covenant agreement to be their God? No. God spoke to Jeremiah
and told him why He was unable to help them
They have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them. JEREMIAH 22:9B
God could not help them because they were worshipping and serving ‘other gods’. Jeremiah entreated them daily to turn back to God, but they ridiculed him. Eventually they were defeated and taken captive to Babylon as slaves, exactly as he had warned them.
The people had forsaken both their covenant agreement and their God. It was a time of tremendous need for deliverance, and God—by His mercy—acted in a most remarkable way. At that time, He revealed in detail that He would be making a new covenant! The unprecedented and primary principle of this new covenant would be forgiveness!
I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘know the Lord’, for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. JEREMIAH 31:33B-34
This new covenant would not be ratified by the blood of an animal as the former covenant. This one required the blood of a man, but not just any man. The blood of the new covenant is the precious blood of the only-begotten son of God, the promised seed, the man who is man’s redeemer. Unlike Adam who chose to disobey, this man chose to obey, and offered himself as the sacrificial offering of the new covenant. He gave his life, but God raised him from the dead and accomplished the victory over death that man desperately needs.
God—by His mercy and grace—made this covenant promise of forgiveness available to people of all nations (Gentiles), not just to only the one nation of the children of Israel. Both Judeans and all nations are now one body in Christ. By the work of God’s son we have forgiveness, we are justified. We have peace with God through our lord Jesus Christ.
Thank God for His boundless, immeasurable mercy!