March 1, 2024

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WHEN MERCY AND GRACE SUPERSEDE LAW AND JUDGEMENT

IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.

TOPIC:- WHEN MERCY AND GRACE SUPERSEDE LAW AND JUDGEMENT

COMPILED/EDITED BY:-
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalm 145:8-9)

Mercy is the act of withholding deserved punishment, while grace is the act of endowing unmerited favor. In His mercy, God does not give us punishment we deserve, namely hell; while in His grace, God gives us the gift we do not deserve, namely heaven.
Philip Wijaya

Mercy and grace are the utmost attributes of love. The essence of the Bible is loving God and loving people through the lens of Jesus Christ. Two grand works of God have displayed His all-powerful, gracious, and merciful nature: creation and redemption.

While God’s work of creation demonstrated His mighty power, God’s work of redemption revealed His marvelous love, shown through His mercy and grace. This very love of God is indispensable for the existence of life and the salvation of humanity.
The Greek word used for mercy is most often eleos (pity, compassion) and for grace is charis(favor).

Mercy and grace are two sides of a coin – and the coin is love.
Mercy is a compassionate love to the weak, and grace is a generous love to the unworthy. Humans are weak and unworthy – we all need God’s mercy and grace. Mercy takes us to the path of forgiveness, while grace leads us to reconciliation.

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”—Romans 5:20

There is no point upon which men make greater mistakes than upon the relation which exists between the law and the gospel. Some men put the law instead of the gospel: others put the gospel instead of the law; some modify the law and the gospel, and preach neither law nor gospel: and others entirely abrogate the law, by bringing in the gospel. Many there are who think that the law is the gospel, and who teach that men by good works of benevolence, honesty, righteousness, and sobriety, may be saved. Such men do err. On the other hand, many teach that the gospel is a law; that it has certain commands in it, by obedience to which, men are meritoriously saved; such men err from the truth, and understand it not. A certain class maintain that the law and the gospel are mixed, and that partly by observance of the law, and partly by God’s grace, men are saved. These men understand not the truth, and are false teachers. This morning I shall attempt—God helping me to show you what is the design of the law, and then what is the end of the gospel. The coming of the law is explained in regard to its objects: “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.” Then comes the mission of the gospel: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

Mercy and grace are often mistakenly thought to be a New Testament concept. But in fact, they are manifested throughout the entire Scripture.

The Bible is filled with the story of God using imperfect people to accomplish His purpose. There are many examples of God’s mercy and grace in the Old Testament. David is perhaps the most prominent example: he was called “a man after God’s own heart” despite his great sins. David lusted, killed, and fornicated. Abraham feared and lied, Sara was impatient, Jacob was a cheater, Moses was stubborn and doubtful, Rahab was a prostitute, and the Israelites rebelled many times against God – yet God still used all of them to accomplish His purposes.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:4-9

Saul was a persecutor, yet God converted him to become Paul, the apostle of Christ, the author of nearly half of the New Testament.

  • Peter was temperament and denied Jesus, yet God used him to preach and about 3,000 were saved.
  • Thomas was a doubter, yet God used him to preach the Gospel in India and possibly Indonesia (according to traditions),
    Mary Magdalene was demon-possessed, yet God graciously gave her a wonderful chance of being the first witness of the risen Christ.
  • Martha was restless, yet God also allowed her to be among the first witnesses of the resurrection of Christ (and of Lazarus, her brother).

Barabbas was a criminal, yet God allowed him to be set free in exchange for Jesus.

  • The penitent thief was forgiven on the cross and promised to be in Paradise with Jesus.

Clearly, the Bible is the record of a God who repeatedly forgives sinful humans – and even more, a perfect God who works in and through them, the broken vessels, for their own good and ultimately for His glory. The mercy and grace of God alone can save and sustain mankind.

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”
Titus 2:11

The object of God in sending the law into the world was “that the offence might abound.” But then comes the gospel, for “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” First, then, in reference to the entire world, God sent the law into the world “that the offence might abound.” There was sin in the world long before God sent the law. God gave his law that the offence might seem to be an offence.

Methinks I hear some say, “How unwise it must have been that a law should come to make these things abound!” Does it not, at first sight, seem very harsh that the great author of the world should give us a law which will not justify, but indirectly cause our condemnation to be greater? Does it not seem to be a thing which a gracious God would not reveal, but would have withheld? But, know ye, “that the foolishness of God is wiser than men;” and understand ye that there is a gracious purpose even here. Natural men dream that by a strict performance of duty they shall obtain favor, but God saith thus: “I will show them their folly by proclaiming a law so high that they will despair of attaining unto it. They think that works will be sufficient to save them. They think falsely, and they will be ruined by their mistake. I will send them a law so terrible in its censures, so unflinching in its demands, that they cannot possibly obey it, and they will be driven even to desperation, and come and accept my mercy through Jesus Christ. They cannot be saved by the law—not by the law of nature. As it is, they have sinned against it. But yet, I know, they have foolishly hoped to keep my law, and think by works of the law they may be justified; whereas I have said, ‘By the works of the law no flesh living can be justified;’ therefore I will write a law—it shall be a black and heavy one—a burden which they cannot carry; and then they will turn away and say, ‘I will not attempt to perform it; I will ask my Saviour to bear it for me.'”

The insults fell on her like blows. “Shame on you, Whore!”
Imagine it. She was married, but not to the man whose arms she’d been in. Suddenly the door burst open. Angry men dragged her—and her secret sin—out into the street.
“Adulteress! Adulteress!” The words pierced her like arrows. A gathering crowd gawked at her with scorn. Her life was undone in a moment by her own doing.
And it was about to be crushed. They were talking about stoning! “O my God, they’re going to stone me! God have mercy!” But God’s verdict on her case seemed clear:
If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:22)
“Both shall die!” She was going to die! But where was he? No time to think. She was half pushed and half dragged through Jerusalem. She was despised and rejected; as one from whom men hide their faces.
“Why are we entering the temple?” Suddenly she was thrust in the face of a young man.
Someone behind her said, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”
The teacher looked at her, then at her accusers, and bent down. Why was he writing in the dirt? Impatient prosecutors demanded a ruling. He stood back up. She held her breath, eyes on her feet.
“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The crowd hushed. Confused, she glanced at him. He was writing in the dirt again. She heard mumbling and disgusted grunts from behind. Then shuffling. People were leaving! No one grabbed her. It took some courage to look around. Her accusers were gone! She turned to the teacher. He was standing, staring at her.
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more.”
Forget for the moment the self-righteousness of the accusers and the apparent injustice of the adulterous man’s absence. Did you hear what Jesus said? This woman’s guilt was real. She committed the crime of adultery. God, through Moses, commanded her death.
But God the Son simply said, “Neither do I condemn you.”
How could he possibly say that? If God violates his own commandment, we have a huge problem. Is God unjust?
Absolutely not. God fully intended for this sin of adultery to be punished to the full extent of his law. But she would not bear her punishment. She would go free. This young teacher would be punished for her.
Might he have written these words from Isaiah in the dirt?

“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
(Isaiah 53:6-5).

Here, in this story (John 8:1-11), God clearly speaks to us the “good news” that he wants us to hear. Every single one of us is that woman.
Our sins—the dark lusts, destructive tongues, murderous hatred, corrupting greed, treachery—stand exposed before God as clearly as the woman’s sins in that temple courtyard. Our shameful guilt is obvious and our condemnation is justified.
And yet from the Son of God come these stunning words: “Neither do I condemn you.” Why? Because he has been condemned in our place!
Jesus was the only one in the crowd that day who could, in perfect righteousness, require the woman’s death. And he was the only one who could, in perfect righteousness, pardon her. Mercy triumphed over judgment. And the same is true for all of us.

SHALOM!

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