Our world is filled with everything but mercy. The word mercy in the Bible comes from the word “Hesed” in the Old Testament and is translated as God’s “Lovingkindness” toward mankind. The Psalmist says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). Mercy and kindness is a necessary ingredient in worship. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). If you’re going to receive mercy, you must be ready to give it to others. Without mercy our world is continually at odds with itself. We need a healthy infusion of God’s “Hesed” these days.
What is God’s justice?
There is much confusion about that. God’s justice is defined and laid out in this verse from the Bible, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are all sinners and guilty of breaking God’s commands. Instead of our paying the penalty for sin, which is death, God loved us enough to pay our sin debt through Christ’s blood shed on the cross. Justice is God’s gracious and full acquittal. We are set free from the penalty of sin through faith in Jesus. That’s real justice.
God’s justice is not the same as man’s justice. Men are found guilty and sentenced to serve time as payment for their sins. Man’s justice sometimes is not fair. It is not always impartial. Sometimes it can be flawed. God’s justice is always perfect. It is never out of place or less than necessary. God’s justice makes us right with God.
I used to preach occasionally inside local and state prisons. I was always amazed by the way prisoners sang hymns during the services, especially “Amazing Grace.” Men who were paying the penalty for their wrongdoing could sing “Amazing Grace” with all their hearts. They were not bitter. They were not depressed or discouraged. It was liberating to them to know that they could be justified with God even while serving a prison sentence for some wrong they had committed here. Isn’t that something? These men would always carry the mark of their conviction with them, but not with God. With God justice means being completely set free.
Trophies are not awarded to people who come in last. There is a new Allstate Insurance Commercial I like. It pictures two dragster speed cars racing each other. One car goes as fast as possible. The other car follows the Allstate safe driving guidelines, not exceeding a certain speed and comes in behind the other. The driver of the second car crosses the finish line with his hands in the air celebrating as if he had won the race. That guy is humble. Humility is about doing what God says rather than what the world says, “...humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6). Humble people seek to please God more than anything.
Mercy, justice, and humility is what God is looking for today. Don’t get distracted by all the hype and noise saturating today’s world. It is better to be pleasing to God rather than the world’s standards.