Reflections – 2023.01

All Things for Good: The Mercies of God

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

God’s judgments make us fear Him – but His mercies make us love Him

– Thomas Watson

Mercy is at the center of the character of God.  “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Exodus 34:6)  The Lord always acts out of His mercy, out of a deep compassion and love for those who have no right to receive any blessings from God.  And yet we receive blessings – every spiritual blessing (things that come with being a Christian) as well as the regular provision of those things we need to survive, e.g., food, clothing, etc… 

Paul writes about the mercy of God in his letter to the church in Ephesus: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved …”  Paul is proclaiming that without the mercy of God, there is no salvation.  Without the mercy of God, there is no hope, no forgiveness, no eternal life, no help.   

But God is rich in mercy.  He has so much to share, and He does.  His mercies include sending His Son to die that we might have live, forgiving us our sin, providing for our every need, sending the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, promising to be with us always and to raise us from the dead even as He raised His Son.  Of course there is more, but you get the idea … His mercies never end and are comprehensive, abundant, etc…

So how do we see the mercies of God acting on the Christian?  Thomas Watson, in his book All Things for Good, provides several ways:

  1. The mercies of God have a melting influence on the soul … it is God’s mercy that leads us to love Him more deeply as we meditate on the many ways He has shown that mercy.
  2. The mercies of God make the heart fruitful.
  3. The mercies of God make the heart thankful.
  4. The mercies of God quicken us for God’s service.
  5. The mercies of God work compassion to others (i.e., they make us merciful!).

Is your own heart thankful?  fruitful?  Do you find yourself growing in your love for God and your love for others as you mature as a Christian?  Do you think about God’s mercies and find yourself marveling that He has shown mercy to you?  Does thinking about God’s mercy increase your desire to serve Him well in the world?

Thomas Watson notes one other thing about God’s mercies that I think is worth mentioning.  He says, “A godly Christian is not a grave to bury God’s mercies, but a temple to sing His praises.”  May we not be graves, but temples.  May we be those who rejoice in the mercies of God and sing His praises, even as we show mercy to others.