Originally scheduled for March 18
Sometimes we have a strange way of looking at
the mercy of God.
Consider Jonah. By the time he's done with
Nineveh his lament to God is quite clear:
First, he has worked extremely hard
in preaching repentance to the city. He told him that doom and
disaster were in the works and they had better repent.
God forgave them, and did not bring
upon them the disaster the Jonah had promised.
Jonah said, "I knew God was going to
do that. Now I look like an idiot."
Sometimes we think that way. We're like the old
philosopher who was sure God would forgive him because, after all,
it's his hobby. We forget that God's mercy and forgiveness are not
cheap; they were bought with a price.
Another common mistake is to assume that God
forgets about our sins like we do. We like to think, "we've moved
on." If we stall long enough, God will forget the problem.
We've forgotten: God's mercy is not cheap. It's
price was the cross of Christ. The price of the justice of God is
high; Jesus paid that price. God is eternal; he does not forget. But
the fact that he is eternal cuts both ways; it also means he foresaw
the cross as the price of loving his creation, mankind.
They must therefore not take God's mercy for
granted, as a trivial thing. Nor can we take his forgiveness to be
an automatic thing if we just wait long enough. He reminds us of the
price each time we partake of communion. As we do, we remember that
the perfect man, the sinless one, was sacrificed for our sins. He
died that we might live. That sacrifice is effective no matter how
old the sin. God knows we don't want to bring up old sins; we'd
rather just forget about it. That's why he gave us something to jog
our memory — not so much about our sins, but about his salvation.