God is Merciful (part 3)

Part 1 Mercy defined
Part 2 Mercy never runs out

Mercy may not remove consequences

One truth about God’s abundant mercy that should cause us to fear God is that mercy does not always remove consequences.

When we make bad choices (foolish or sinful) we are sometimes left with the scars to remind us.  Why doesn’t mercy remove them?

Would we really learn to depend on God?  Would we really learn to trust God?

So in His mercy He may leave the consequences.

A key principle, in the words of Andy Stanley:
“God is generous with His Grace and thorough with His Discipline.”

Therefore mercy leads to the fear of God.  Not a fear that makes us run from God, but run to God and away from sin to embrace the mercy He extends.

The book of Haggai is a great illustration of this principle.  God, through Haggai, calls on the returned remnant of Judah to make Him their priority.

Those who returned from exile quickly began the work of God–rebuilding the temple, so that God could dwell in their midst.  But as quickly as they started, they were distracted by life.  Not just the necessities of life but the luxuries of life.  They suspended the rebuilding for 14 years, with the constant refrain, “Is it time yet?”

God disciplines them to get their attend and when confronted they repent. They are called to renew their commitment and focus on God first.  They repent, respond and act.  But here is where mercy and our timetable collide. Though they had repented and were forgiven, they must wait for a number of months before they would see relief from the consequences of their misplaced priorities.

God forgave but did not immediately restore what they had lost.

God is merciful. God is gracious. 
There is nothing that can exhaust God’s mercy or grace.
But the consequences of our sin, which require God’s mercy and grace, may remain.  We may still have the physical, emotional or relational consequences.  But even with the presence of consequences–Mercy is abundant.  His mercy is sufficient.

Praise God for His mercy!

Author: Steve

Steve Kilgore joined the staff of Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA in the fall of 2002 as the Pastor of Discipleship to facilitate the equipping ministries, which include Adult Bible Fellowship and other adult discipleship ministries, and work with the rest of the education ministries. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministries with a focus on providing ministries that facility individuals taking intentional Next Steps for growing and participating in the leadership and administrative aspect at Calvary. He has also taught part-time at Lancaster Bible College in the area of Spiritual Formation and New Testament. Prior to coming to Calvary he served in two churches as well as taught part-time at Philadelphia Biblical University. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but spent the first 13 years of his life in Guatemala where his parents were missionaries. It was there at the age of four and a half that Steve placed his faith in Christ as his Savior. Steve received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Mary Anne, have their two boys, Andrew and Nathan (both in college), and live in East Lampeter Township. Steve lives and ministers by the personal motto, Know what you believe and why, live it, be able to defend it. His hobbies, other than playing with his family, include tinkering with computers, reading, drinking coffee with his wife, playing and watching basketball. Steve and Mary Anne are looking forward to exploring new hobbies as they transition to life as empty-nesters.

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