Tag: mercy triumphs over judgment
Scripture reading for November 3rd: James 2
James warned earlier of the self-deception of hearing the word of God, but not obeying it. (James 1:22) He now brings further emphasis to this area of danger to believers.
Believers and church leaders in the Jerusalem church had a tendency to show favoritism. They were discriminating against the poor and showing favor to the rich. James pointed them to Scripture: “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love you neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:8-10) James pointed out that showing partiality is judging someone without mercy. When we believe we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we choose not to be partial!
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and will fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17) If we truly believe something, we act on it. Mere lip-service is not saving faith! Many are self-deceived concerning their actual relationship with Christ. They know what He has asked of them, but refuse to do it. May the Lord deliver us from self deception!
Scripture reading for January 10th: Matthew 9:1-17, Psalm 7:10-17, Proverbs 2:16-19
Have you ever been audited by the IRS? Did your IRS agent invite you over to his or her house? Jesus came by Matthew’s tax collection booth and called him to follow. Matthew responded by leaving and following Him. He invited Jesus to come over to his house and Jesus came and ate and laughed with Matthew’s “sinner” friends, causing quite a stir among the religious community!
“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:11-13) Jesus loves all men, but He can only bring health to those who realize that they are sick. Those who have no knowledge or cannot admit that they need a doctor will not find healing. Those who cannot admit to sin cannot find repentance because they think that they don’t need it.
This is the danger of religion. Religion reduces our righteousness or spiritual health to some man-made rules that we try to keep. We are told that if we just do this or confess to that, all will be well with our soul. These Pharisees meticulously tried to keep God’s law and judged those who did not do all that they had commanded as hopeless sinners. They failed to realize that behind God’s law was a merciful Father who would show mercy to those who came humbly and asked. (1st John 1:9)
Our Father sent Jesus to walk and live among His people, demonstrating His love and desire that all would repent and be made righteous. Our righteousness is a gift of God by grace through faith in Jesus, not the result of our keeping His laws or man’s religious rules. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Jesus loves all sinners, even tax collectors like Matthew. Responding to Jesus by repentance and faith leads to following Jesus and eternal life! Praise the Lord for His mercy! That’s what He desires rather than sacrifice of keeping some rules. Thank God Jesus loves sinners such as I!