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Communion Meditations (2016)

God's Mercies

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 tomorrow.

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?

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