My merciful and gracious Father in Heaven, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, give me Your divine wisdom in writing this pastoral perspective to share with Your people about Your rich mercy and abundant grace. In Christ Jesus’s most precious, holy and powerful Name, I humbly ask. Amen.” I realised that I needed God’s divine guidance and help in order to write this pastoral perspective. So, I decided to share my simple prayer here.
Someone might be able to be merciful towards you but he/she might not be gracious. Perhaps, someone might be able to be gracious towards you but he/she might not be merciful. How about the Lord our God whom we believe and trust? In Psalm 103:8 ESV, God’s Word says: “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” God is merciful and gracious. Being merciful has the qualities of being kind and compassionate. Being gracious has the qualities of being forgiving and loving. When God is merciful towards us, He is being kind and compassionate towards us. In showing mercy, He withholds His punishment from us that which we are most deserving. So, to me, the word “mercy” is “not giving us what we deserve.” We, as sinners, deserve the punishment for our sins but God, in His rich mercy, saved us through His beloved Son Jesus on that cruel cross where He took the punishment in our place. When God is gracious towards us, God is being forgiving and loving. As in Ephesians 2:4-6, God’s Word says: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, …” So, to me, the word “grace” is “giving us what we do not deserve.” Basically, we cannot work for our salvation, that is, we cannot earn our salvation. We all do not deserve the goodness and the love God demonstrates to us through His beloved Son Jesus. God, in His great love for you and me, makes us alive together with Christ and seats us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ. All these are beyond our human understanding. That is exactly why the Apostle Paul put this phrase “by grace you have been saved” in the midst of the contents of Ephesians 2:4-6. He further explains why it is by grace in Ephesians 2:8-9, God’s Word says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Indeed, it is by the grace of God that when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour, we are saved from our sins and shame, saved from the wrath of God and saved from eternal punishment in the lake of fire. God is, indeed, merciful and gracious!
Being merciful and gracious, God shows that He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He withholds His anger because He is merciful. He abounds in steadfast love because He is gracious. What should our response to God be? In Romans 12:1-2, God’s Word says: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Knowing the mercies and the grace of God, let us consecrate our lives to God in total obedience and submission. Let us give God the worship which He desires. Let us not be sucked by the systems and ideologies of this world but submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ over our lives and ministries. Let us walk in wisdom and understanding, having the good, acceptable and perfect Will of God as our real pursuit in life, bringing glory, honour and praise to the holy Name of God. Amen.
God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. God is worthy to be bowed down to, worship and praise all the days of our lives. Praise the great and almighty God! Amen.
Preacher George Ang
June 10, 2018