I had the chicken pox when I was about six years old and I can still recall the horrible, Jobian itching that resulted. In my memory as well, however, is the soothing sensation of that lotion which was applied by my mother to the sores on my back and chest, which eased the misery until the illness was gone.
Most everyone realizes our souls often contract a disease just as painful to the conscience, the disease of sin. What will soothe our misery then? The answer is nothing but the unparalleled mercy of God, wrought through the death and resurrection of our savior and his son, Jesus Christ (Romans 7:24-25). Continue reading » Obtaining Mercy
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
With the current condition of the world (a reflection of what has always been so from the sin of Adam), it is amazing that God continues to allow this old world to stand. When we think about all that goes on around us (and we see but a fraction of the world’s evil), we are led to marvel that God does not say, "Enough! I will tolerate no more."
For a few thousand years now the history of man has been a history rejecting God. Beginning with Adam and continuing through every age of our history, each period of time is a story of dismal failure. True, there have been a few Abrahams and Noahs along the way, but the vast majority of mankind has "refused to have God in their knowledge" (Romans 1:28). As Paul looked at this same thought, he concluded (with the prophet) in Romans 3:10ff: "There is none righteous, no not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable." If this be so (and it is), why does God allow the world to continue? This is a question worth our consideration. And yet the very condition of wickedness that abounds on every hand but magnifies and declares the answer: it is the longsuffering and mercy of God that continues to grant lost men and women time to repent and turn to Him before Judgment.
Continue reading » Longsuffering and Merciful
Editor’s note: You may or may not agree with the conclusions of this article. In either case, please respond to it, if you are of such a mind. Respond to the author by postal mail at Ralph E. Price; P. O. Box 3174; Beckley, WV 25801. For the record, I believe that it is not a congregation’s expectation that matters, but, rather, it is God who demands of all of His children that we serve Him to the very best of our ability, and that ability includes choices that each one has the capacity to make.
Larry H. Fain
Consider the following text in Matthew 9:9-13, “And as Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he rose, and followed Him. And it happened that as He was reclining at the table in the house, behold many tax-gatherers and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, ‘Why is your Teacher eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners?’ But when He heard this, He said, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means, “I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,” for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” (NASB)
These five verses reveal for us an important truth about what God expects from men and women, and it is clear that Jesus wanted all to understand this truth. He commanded the Pharisees, “But go and learn what this means…” (Matthew 9:13). Then He quoted a passage from Hosea 6:6, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Continue reading » The Simple Gospel: God Desires Mercy Rather Than Sacrifice