Tender mercies. Kindness. Humility. Meekness. Long-suffering. Forgiveness. Love.
If we take just a few seconds to think about what these words truly mean, we see that God emulates these qualities. As believers, we know that striving to live and be more like Christ is our duty. But how can we genuinely put on this new man?
Let’s look a little closer at one aspect of this new man.
Scripture is full of God’s mercy towards us. Psalm 136 proclaims that “His mercy endures forever.”
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” Ephesians 2:4-5
Mercy can be defined as not getting what you deserve. It’s as if a judge were to find you guilty of a crime, but then withhold the punishment. Grace is getting something you could never have imagined – an inexplicable gift or unmerited favor. It’s as if the same judge who found you guilty rewards you $1,000,000!
God showed us His great mercy by withholding the punishment of eternal damnation and instead, BY GRACE, gave us the FREE gift of eternal life.
God continuously shows us His mercy and draws us into obedience. So knowing this Truth, how do we effectively put on tender mercies in order to be a light in this world?
“Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Jude 1:21-23
Jude reminds us of the incredible gift of mercy, which is only available through Jesus. Because God viewed Jesus’ perfect life and sacrificial death as payment for our sins, He had mercy on us and gave us eternal life. What Christ did for us was enough. It will always be enough.
Jude encourages us to remain in God’s love and gives us three instructions about mercy. He tells us to:
- Wait for mercy
- Be merciful to those who doubt
- Show mercy mixed with fear
Wait for mercy – Although we’ve been saved through Jesus Christ, we don’t experience the fullness of our salvation until we die or Christ returns. Here on earth, life brings trouble, sorrow and pain. Look forward to the day when God will wipe away your tears and welcome you into eternal life with Him. It’ll be Paradise.
Be merciful to those who doubt – Some people find it difficult to trust – being confident and steadfast in their faith is a struggle. Abandonment, abuse, rejection or betrayal, all provide enough reason for doubting. Be compassionate and gracious with everyone who doubts, just as Jesus shows mercy to you.
Show mercy mixed with fear – Continue to demonstrate God’s patience to anyone who is trapped in sin and weighed down by Satan’s lies, without condoning their behavior. Remember, we’ve been there too. Real fear reminds us how easily we also can be deceived – humility is key here. Put on tender mercies and show love to others – know that God will do the rest.
As we follow these guidelines Scripture gives us about mercy and as we continue to discipline ourselves, we will find ourselves moving closer and closer to the likeness of Christ.
Maybe there’s someone in your life right now who you know is hurting, lost, or making the wrong decisions. Are you showing this person the compassion they need? Showing compassion is what we are called to do – meeting others where they are at their need and loving them.
We should strive to do exactly what the Lord did/does for us. He shows us compassion and favor especially when we don’t deserve it and when it doesn’t make sense. The hymn, ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ puts it best – morning by morning new mercies I see. Oh, how true it is! Each day we wake up to, is a new gift.
Today, put on the new man. Show others the love Jesus Christ so graciously shows us. Be intentional in your conversations and actions, and remember, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7.