Mercy is a wonderful theme throughout the entire Bible. God has dealt with mankind in leniency and compassion since the beginning, but his expression of mercy was in the person of Jesus Christ. This is because Jesus brought into reality the forgiveness of sins so we could be reconciled to God once for all.
Once we were disobedient and rebellious toward God. But in spite of that defiance He showed us his mercy, "at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" ( Romans 5:6 ). This was a complete act of mercy on God's part. We were helpless and condemned because sin had ruined us. God did what we could not do by sending Jesus in our stead; he did this out of love. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" ( Romans 5:10 ). This mercy is offered to us even though we were disobedient to God and his precepts.
Understanding God's mercy toward us is what brings us to Christ to be justified by him. Romans 2 says, it is God's kindness that leads us to repentance ( Romans 2:4 ). In other words, it is the goodness of God, his love, his mercy and his compassion that brings us to him. Repentance simply means to turn around and go the other way. So when we experience the mercy and goodness of God we abandon the rebellious direction in which we are walking and turn 180 degrees toward God to follow after Him. When we turn to God and accept his message of grace we receive his mercy that also brings us into right relationship with Him. This is the good news of the gospel, that we are reconciled to God based on his mercy and grace.
The Jews at present are disobedient to God's message of the cross. At one time they were inside of his covenants but became outsiders to the promise when they rejected Jesus as their Messiah. They looked at the cross as foolishness and walked away from it. "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" ( I Corinthians 1:18 ). In their disobedience they walked away from the long awaited promise of God and his saving power through faith in Christ. The cross is so simple yet so profound, but the message of the cross is a stumbling block to the Jews. They are steeped in tradition and law and looking to Jesus as their savior seems too simple. But its simplicity is what holds such incredible power. "We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength" ( I Corinthians 1:23-25 ).
The Jews have experienced this hardening toward God on our account so that we can come to him in faith ( Romans 11:25 ). But they too in the end will return to God and find mercy through Christ. The purpose in this is that God's mercy will be displayed on all mankind alike, both to the Jews and the Gentles. We all know what it is like to be an outsider because of our sin nature and then we too will all know what it is like to find reconciliation with him based solely on his grace toward us. This is experiencing God's mercy first hand. We all must come to him in the very same way, through faith in Christ Jesus, and then He personally opens the door and welcomes us into his family.
Today, I rejoice in His brilliant plan for mankind. I am thankful that God sent Jesus to bring us into relationship with him. His mercy is incredible and his grace is abundant. My prayer today is that you experience this life changing mercy that is freely offered to you in the person of Jesus. I pray that His grace brings fullness of joy into your life, amen.