Aloha Friday Message – December 6, 2013 – Mercy: Part 2

1349AFC120613 – Mercy: Part 2

Read it online here, please.

Proverbs 10:16The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.

Romans 6:23 Sin pays its servants: the wage is death. But God gives to those who serve him: his free gift is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Isaiah 3:10-11 Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.  Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done.

Last week we looked at how God’s Omnipotence means he alone possesses Perfect Justice, Perfect Love, Perfect Righteousness, Perfect Kindness, and all these perfections empower him to be grant us Perfect Mercy. These traits of God are also in us because we are created in His image, but in us these traits are corrupted, imperfect, and incomplete. God’s Mercy fills up those imperfections and by doing that He makes us whole; he justifies us – He makes us just and righteous – by truly and completely removing our sins. Through Christ the atonement – the compensation for our sin (death) – is cancelled. That’s right, cancelled. It is as if it were never there. How can this be? How can God say, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25)?  What we owe because of sin is paid off by Him on our behalf; we are redeemed, bought back, forgiven the price for our sin – death.

David also testifies to the magnitude of God’s Mercy and Grace in Psalm 130:7: Isra’el, put your hope in Adonai! For grace is found with Adonai, and with him is unlimited redemption. We are “bought back” because of God’s Grace. Now, in this passage the phrase “For grace is found with Adonai” gives us some extra insight into how and why God does this. The phrase literally means “In God is found Covenant Loyalty.” God is loyal (faithful, true, trustworthy, constant) to his promise; he will never break his word (see the discussion of intrinsic strength in last week’s message).  And then look at how that verse from Psalm 130 ends – “with him is unlimited redemption.”  It doesn’t matter what the price is for your salvation, God – through Christ has got it covered!

 

Repent and Believe ...

Repent and Believe …

He is there with his unlimited mercy before we sin. He is there with his unlimited redemption after we sin. He is overflowing with tender, loving compassion and sympathy for each of us. He knows every living soul. He knows the “good, the bad, and the ugly” about everyone. Even though we don’t deserve mercy, he makes it readily available in such abundance that we can never use it up. Although we are completely lacking in personal merits, he overlooks that and always tips the scales of justice in our favor. He forgives thousands of generations of sin because it pleases him to do so. Even people who are blatantly evil will be forgiven when they repent of their evil. Whether we sin willfully or unknowingly, in malicious rebellion or carelessness, he is immediately prepared to redeem us and make us righteous. No matter how many times we repent and then fail again, he forgives everything of which we repent, but never remembers how often that happens. Only he can do this because only he is Omniscient. He knows everything about me and yet he still loves me; sometime even I don’t love me, but his love never fails. HIS LOVE NEVER FAILS. That is because God knows every living soul more intimately than we know ourselves. That’s what David tells us in Psalm 139. I won’t reproduce the entire text here, but I will ask you to read all of it. I’ll get you started with the first 6 verses:

 O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.  Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

David often talks about meditating on God’s Law. In other words, he finds it more worthwhile to contemplate God’s words, works, and worth than to be troubled over worldly worries and woes. He knew what it meant to be dedicated – betrothed – to God. The result of that was that God saw in David a man whose heart was like His own heart. David understood how God could have intimate knowledge of him because he had intimate knowledge of God.

But wait a minute! Isn’t God’s knowledge and glory so far beyond us that we can’t possibly comprehend the magnitude of his might, power, and magnificence?  How can any earthling have an intimate knowledge of God? You and I know plenty of people – often in our own families – who firmly believe that God is so far away, so detached, so irrelevant and uncaring that there’s no point in getting to know him. After all, he is unknowable if indeed he’s so powerful. I have heard people say, “What’s the point of knowing God? If he knows everything about me, how come he hasn’t fixed all the things that are rotten in my life? Why does everything have to be on His terms?”

Because, silly rabbit, HE is GOD and you are not! You don’t even know how to save your own life, much less the life of every living soul in all of history.  Remember our four “omni” words? God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnibenevolent. There is only one way for God to be irrelevant and that is through active exclusion of God from our lives. When we deliberately turn our backs on God, when we declare him irrelevant instead of Omnipotent, pointless instead of Omniscient, “somewhere out there” instead of Omnipresent, and uncaring instead of Omnibenevolent, we are actively excluding God and refusing to accept the majesty and glory so near to us that we have to work really hard not to see it. God is Good, and he wants us to be Good in, with, and for him. He gives us a bazillion-gazillion chances to get it right, but we can never get it right if we actively resist and exclude him from our lives. God becomes interior to us, as he did to David and so many other millions and millions of saintly people through the ages, only when we obediently include him in our lives. Once we know him, we know where he is (everywhere in everything and everybody). Once we know where he is we know who he is (The Almighty Ever-living God – El-Shaddai-Olam). Once we know who he is, we know what he does – he loves us and redeems us with such generosity that it cannot even be described even in language that is so high that I cannot attain it.

There’s just no way that God can be extraneous or irrelevant unless we actively exclude him from our lives. You know, people who exclude God aren’t necessarily evil, but they are cooperating with evil. Here’s the thing though: God, and only God, can bring good out of disaster, righteousness out of evil, joy out of sorrow, and peace out of strife and distress. There areevil people, and there are evil acts, but when God is brought into the picture, good comes from that evil; that good will not come if we keep God out either through denying him or failing to repent of our part in the evil that persists. That is the way of Redemption. God reaches out to help us reunite with him and we let him do that. Redemption is a supreme act of Mercy because it restores us to our rightful place in the presence of God – eternal life with him.

Do you know someone who is actively excluding God from life, even perhaps people in authority who exclude God on your behalf but against your wishes? Pray for them – intercede on their behalf and offer prayers of repentance they refuse to offer. Know someone who is upset about or injured by a so-called “Act of God?” God is not the cause of those events. The Acts of God are what happens after disasters like that which happened in the Philippines, or the Aurora Movie Theater, or Hurricane Sandy. Acts of God are what happen whenever we obediently include him in everything we do. That is how God’s Mercy reaches those who need it most, through our Spiritual and Corporal Acts of Mercy. (For more information on the Acts of Mercy, see the Aloha Friday Messages from February 19 through April 4, 2010.)

How do we know God is, was, and always will be merciful? Because he is Omnipotent. How do we know we are eligible for and can obtain God’s mercy? Because he is Omniscient, and knows how to reach us if only we let him in.

HIS_MercyBe good to one another this coming week, and keep an eye out for God’s Mercy in your life! Who is merciful to you and to whom are you merciful? Which ones should have been merciful and were not, and who should have received mercy but did not? Who will you Bless with God’s Merciful Love? Remember, Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.”

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

chick

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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