Sunday, March 30, 2014
We Are Called to Show God’s Mercy to Others
Our God and Father, the God of our Master, Jesus, is a merciful and loving God, who calls us to show mercy to others, and has mercifully chosen Jesus as an example from whom we might learn and follow abundantly here on earth and into eternal life.
As James, the brother of Jesus, assures us, God’s mercy triumphs over judgment, meaning that we can count on God’s mercy when we repent, but cannot simply rest on our mere self-righteous professions of faith to save us, because, “judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." (James 2:13.)
When we fail to have mercy, and our faith is inactive, we face the judgment of God, and we shall not inherit eternal life, nor is our life here as abundant as God wants it to be for us.
Jesus, the man God chose, adopted and sent to the world to preach a Good and Beneficial message to us about God’s will for our lives, teaches us that “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt. 5:7) and we are called to, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36.)
Mercy, according to Jesus, is active service to others.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells of a lawyer who came to him and asked “Who may inherit eternal life?” He tells of the men who walked by an injured man on the road and didn't help him, but the Samaritan, whom he called “good,” showed him mercy. He said of that man, “Go and do the same.”
Just as God is merciful and shows mercy, we are commanded to actively do the same. And because we have the example of the man, Jesus, we know we are capable of doing what God asks us.
For James, as with Jesus, being merciful is more than a mental exercise, or mere mental consent to a set of doctrines or propositions – the acceptance of which somehow leads instantly to eternal life.
James reminds us that mercy and active service as an active part of our faith, a requirement of it, as inseparable as our heads are from our hearts.
“Religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (James 1:27.)
Jesus has called us to a higher religion – a religion of works and action.
By way of parable, Jesus teaches us that when we serve others, even the least prosperous among us, we serve him and serve God our Father.
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” (Matt 25:35.)
Clearly, Jesus teaches that God will judge both the righteous and the wicked based on their Works (Matt. 16:27; Ecclesiastes 3:17.)
But to those who showed no mercy and did not perform Good Works, but instead practiced lawlessness, God will say, “I never knew you.” and they shall not inherit eternal life, even if they cry Jesus’ name loudly (Matt. 7:21-23.)
The Psalmist says of God, “The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. With the merciful you show yourself merciful," (Psalm 18:20.)
We are called to go, and do the same.