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Mercy not Sacrifice

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy (Matthew 5:7 NASB)
Oh how we need to hear this! After taking a big step up this stairway to heaven and stirring up a hunger and thirst for righteousness, what do you know, my spirit gets all, well, judgmental! I am a wreck. The more I see Jesus, the more I am amazed. Here is the one who never – ever – no never darkened a commandment with the slightest nod, but does he get all stirred up about sinners and their sin? Nope! He has lunch with harlots, and protects the virtue of adulteresses. He goes out to dinner with the drunkards, and hangs out with the worst vermin of all, tax collectors.

We have to get this. Have you ever used the line – I love the sinner but hate their sin? Are you aware that there is no chapter and verse for that? I have heard this used as an excuse for hate on more occasions that you can image.

If I am brutally honest with myself I wonder if I would have been the Pharisee in Jesus’ day. Is He talking to me when He says: “go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt 9:13)

Have you read in 2 Corinthians 5:19 where Paul tells us: “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” Do you read this the way I have for decades, “God is not counting Christian’s sins against them?” That’s not what it says. If it did we are all without hope. God is not counting anyone’s sins against them today! Today is the day of mercy and the day that grace is available! A quick comment about the difference; Mercy is the fact that God is not counting your sin against you. This is currently true for all men. You will have to give account in the last day, but today, there is nothing keeping you from approaching God. Grace on the other hand is the free offer of righteousness that is extended to everyman. It must be accepted or received.

So here is the deal, and it’s pretty straight up here. If you expect to receive mercy on any level, give it in the same measure you are expecting it. In this moment of grace, don’t impose condemnation where God is not doing it. [Tweet This] In the mean time we must keep up our pursuit of integrity, our submission to God’s voice, our honesty with God about our failings, and our humble spirit. WOW these beatitudes are not just kid stuff, are they!

Hey – thanks for reading this. Tell me what you think. Is this sloppy grace? What am I missing here? Together we can press into the mind of Christ.

0 thoughts on “Mercy not Sacrifice

  1. Stephen

    This one might actually get you in trouble. What about homosexuals!!! What about abortion providers??? What about evolutionists!!! That Jesus is a mad man!Love you Ben! Thanks for this radical message!

  2. Craig O

    Ben, thanks for raising the question. We need to think Biblically on this, rather than simply repeat what we hear spoken (however passionately) from a pulpit. There are a number of sins that God says he hates (Prov 6), but it is also true that he is grieved over our sin (Eph 4). Maybe a better mantra would be, Love the sinner, mourn the sin.

  3. Ben Nelson

    Well said - that is so good Craig! Honestly i was trying to stir it up a bit. Jesus was absolutely a sin hater (Heb 1:8-9) but sometimes I just feel like we link sinner to their sin, when God has broken that link, so that you and I can approach Him.Thanks for responding - you are right on target.

  4. Jody

    Another text with similar implications is Matthew 6:14,1514For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.Changed my life.

  5. Things Christians Should Apologize For

    I think Paul sums this up pretty well talking about judging the Christian harshly who won't respond to correction in 1 Cor 5. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?13 God judgest those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."He seems to call us to judge each other and to leave the non-believer to God.I also think this is an interesting roundabout as we are called to love the non-believer. When they throw this guy out of the church, they are called to treat him as a non-believer which means to love. So I am always on the side of erring with love and mercy for those outside of a relationship with God.This also brings up an interesting side dialog which for me asks the question if I really want my morality legislated? Sometimes we spend a lot of time fighting for our values to be legislated when we aren't even called to hold non-believers to a Godly standard.

  6. Ben Nelson

    I love your point about the turnabout. Treat them like an unbeliever, which means to love them. And as to legislated morality, what is the point? I sometimes feel like the "christians" who are trying to legislate morality break more than one commandment in the process.


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