Summary: This is the sixteenth in a series on the attributes of God focusing on God's mercy and forgiveness
Knowing God Series #16
¡§Our Merciful Forgiving God¡¨
I. The nature of God
II. The Attributes of God
A. God is infinitely GREAT in His ability / capacity
B. God is infinitely and perfectly PURE in His morality and judgments
C. God is infinitely GOOD in His relationships
When Moses requested to see God¡¦s glory, God told him He would hide him in the protection of a rock and would allow Moses to view the back side of His goodness as it passed over.
Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." Exodus 34:6-7
God included many of the aspect of His goodness that we include. Compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, faithful, forgiving.
All of these characteristics are essential elements involved in building meaningful community.
Because God built us to love and be loved we need to receive and give love.
Because of our frequent failures we need give and receive continual grace.
Because of our transgressions and guilt we need to give and receive mercy.
Because of our frailty gentleness needs to guard our interactions with people.
Because of our cantankerousness and inadequacies we need to receive and practice longsuffering and forbearance.
Because of our hurtful offenses we need to give and receive forgiveness.
Because of our insecurity and fear of rejection we crave faithfulness.
All of us carry the community buster bugs.
We fail each other.
We transgress against others.
We are frail and sometimes oversensitive.
We are not always easy to live with or deal with.
We easily offend and are offended by others.
We fear and protect ourselves against rejection.
James clearly reminds us that no one is exempt from ravaging our relationships.
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. James 3:2
You many avoid stumbling in our external behavior, but avoiding stumbling in our words takes a perfect person.
The tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. James 3:5-6
These deficiencies (stumbles) tend to generate anger, lying, abusive speech, malice, bitterness, vengeance, strife, angry words, dissension and broken relationships. Only the presence and power of the Holy Spirit can prevent relational forest fires.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Galatians 5:22
Paul instructed the Colossians on how to develop and maintain meaningful relationships.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion(mercy), kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15
God naturally relates to us this way. He instructs us to relate to one another in the same way He relates to us.
Love one another as I have loved you. Show loving kindness.
Extend grace to each other.
Show mercy to one another.
Show longsuffering and forbearance.
Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.
Be faithful to one another.
Let¡¦s take a little closer look at these essential elements of community.
1. God¡¦s infinite LOVE
2. God¡¦s infinite GRACE
3. God¡¦s infinite MERCY
Mercy partners with grace. We draw near to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace.
Grace addresses the failures of the creature with unconditional favor.
He blesses us with blessing we did not and do not deserve.
Mercy addresses the transgression and misery of the creature with compassionate mercy.
He withholds the punishment that we did deserve.
Grace gives us blessing we didn¡¦t deserve.
Mercy withholds the punishment we did deserve.
Mercy is an attribute of God, an infinite and inexhaustible energy within the divine nature that disposes God to actively show compassion towards undeserving creatures. It is that aspect of His goodness that confronts human misery and guilt.
TWO ASPECTS TO MERCY
1 ¡V Mercy restrains the just actions due to the guilty.