Monday, March 5, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 13 ~ Judgment and Mercy

Day 13 ~ Judgment and Mercy
James 2:12-13  Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,  because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
Mercy is everything for the Christian.  Mercy for the sake of Christ's death is the basis and the sustaining principle in God's relationship with His children.  Mercy is the language of repentance and prayer, "Lord, have mercy!"  Mercy not only characterizes God's love towards His children, it also forms the lives of His children in their relationships with one another.  We are a people of mercy.

But what if it is otherwise?  What if the children of God begin to take His mercy for granted and start to withhold mercy from one another?  In Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus tells a parable about a servant who was forgiven an enormous debt by a gracious king.  The debt was too large and so he begged the king for mercy.  The king graciously forgave the debt.  Later that day the servant went out and found someone who owed him a couple of bucks. He began choking the man, demanding his money.  The man with the small debt fell to his knees and begged the servant to have patience, he would pay him back.  The servant refused and threw the man in jail.  Hearing the news about the servant, the king, in his anger, threw the wicked servant back in jail to be tortured until he could pay back everything.

God is eternally and incredibly merciful.  He has cancelled the debt of your sin with the blood of Jesus.  He has forgiven you and set you free from condemnation under the law.  But too often we use His mercy as an excuse to sin.  "I don't need to forgive that person who has hurt me so much.  God will forgive me no matter what."   If there is one thing we must never say about God's mercy is that it is an excuse for us to withhold forgiveness and mercy towards those who have wronged us.  God's mercy triumphs over judgment, it doesn't excuse it.

Confess:  Heavenly Father, I fall on my knees before you and plead for your great mercy.  I beg you for the sake of your Son Jesus, whose death has removed my great debt of sin, to forgive me for my lack of mercy.  As I leave this time of confession today, do not let me be like the servant in Jesus' parable who used his freedom to condemn his brother.  Rather, teach me to forgive others trespasses, just as you have forgiven mine.  In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

Challenge:  Forgive someone who has wronged you.  If you cannot do this, repent again, and beg the Lord to give you a heart of mercy.

Pastor Bob

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