Originally scheduled for May 15
It is instructive to compare the mercy of God with that of
man. We sometimes feel that because we are merciful to others that
God somehow owes us something for it. But consider:
The mercy of God is pure — there are no strings attached. By his
mercy God does not intend to squeeze something out of you, rather to
put something into you.
The mercy of God is boundless. God is eternal and therefore is
eternally patient, for time is in his hands. It is also boundless
because it is the mercy of the omnipotent God; there is no sin so
great that it cannot be covered at the cross.
The mercy of God is full of wisdom. The goal of his mercy is a
sinner coming home, not just cleaning up a little bit. By achieving
the high goal of a returning sinner, the lesser goals are achieved
pretty much automatically.
Man’s mercy, on the other hand, springs from man’s nature.
We are made in the imitation of God and are therefore capable of
soaringly great mercies. We are also sinners, and therefore our
mercies often fall short.
Man’s mercy is not pure; often enough we are merciful only to those
from whom we see some possibility of benefit. Even if we see no
possibility of benefit, we prefer to show mercy to those who are
appealing, not those who are appalling.
Our mercy is limited by our power to deliver. Often enough we have
the desire but are unable to deliver. We are mortal; have you ever
wished that you could have been merciful to, and reconciled with,
someone who is now dead?
Often enough our goal in showing mercy is simply to clean up the
sinner a little bit; smooth some of the rough edges of his
character. We do not look to his salvation; we do not look to our
relationship with him. We see only today and take no thought for
The comparison is best shown in communion. Before you were
born Christ gave his life for you. You cannot match this. His motive
in doing this was pure love; you cannot match this either. Christ
offers his salvation to “whosoever will.” We tend to be a little bit
more picky than that.
The great mercy of God is indeed worthy of being remembered
regularly. That’s one of the reasons we have communion. So as you
partake this morning remember that his blood flowed out of pure
love; his body was broken so that anyone may come home to him.
Before you partake, though, give some examination to this: are the
mercies you deliver to your fellow men a good imitation of Christ’s
mercies which are open to one and all?