2Chronicles 15:2: and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. (ESV).
The dead spirit within man, made remote, the possibility of man seeking God in any effective way, since God is spirit (John 4:24). But the coming of Jesus changed that, brought a new possibility.
Jesus was God the word which became flesh (John 1:12-17). In the flesh he was the son of God, and enjoyed intimate relationship with the father, but when he died, having put the sin of the whole world on himself, he left a “gap” in the divine heart.
There was an emptiness, a vacancy so to speak in the divine heart and that was revealed in the tearing of the veil of the temple at his death (Matthew 27:50-51). It does not just symbolise God getting out of the box in the temple, but also a tear in the heart of God.
It was like a tree which had three branches but now with a one branch torn off. It means there is space for another to be grafted.
The church is not called the body of Christ for the fun of it (Ephesians 1:22-23).
We are the body of Christ because when Christ died, his “branch” of divinity was “taken away” from the tree, and those who believe in Jesus have him come into them and they “become Jesus” in a limited sense but enough to qualify them to be the body of Christ, with access to the presence of God and the very life of God, able to connect with God personally and intimately.
When Jesus rose from the dead we rose in him and became engrafted with him through faith back into divinity (Romans 6), regaining the divinity that we lost in Adam. Peter wrote that we can become partakers of divine nature (2Peter 1:4), just like a grafted branched partakes of the essence of the tree.
Mercy and Grace
We read that we come to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. That shows that when people come to God it is to receive help in the form of grace and to find mercy (Hebrews 4:16).
While mercy pulls you from the past, grace moves you to the future; while mercy covers what you have done in the negative so that they do not influence you now, grace causes you to do things in the positive to facilitate your great future. Mercy helps you to sidestep what the enemy is throwing at you. While mercy keeps you protected, grace gets you to be on the offensive, pushing back at the hordes of the enemy.
Grace is about the activation and manifestation of spiritual gifts. Peter said that as we have received grace we should minister the same as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1Peter 4:10-11). When we go to God in the place of prayer we are aided to release more grace when we minister, because his throne is the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). People can minster gift but they do so to the limit of the grace that flows, it is the limit that we are a blessing.
Remember that Jesus was referred to as being full of grace and truth, and it is of his fullness that we received. And when it comes to being a blessing to others it is not our eloquence but how close we are to Jesus, intimacy with him, the one who is full of grace, which matters.
Paul talked about the grace of the Lord Jesus praying that it should be with the Corinthian church (2Corinthians 13:14). All grace is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. In mercy we seek help, in grace we seek to be the help.
We all stand in the need for mercy. The mad man of Gadara met his Jesus and received mercy (Matthew 5:1-21). His story changed, his dwelling changed and his state of mind changed. He had his dwelling in the grave, to say he was mentally unstable is to understate his condition, and he cuts himself with sharp stones.
But he received mercy. In one meeting with Jesus he came to his right mind, he sent him forth to tell others how God had mercy on him.
He was going in the wrong direction and God met him.
So also all of us, we were heading for hell but we met the mercy of God. We were not in our right mind, we had our dwelling with the dead because we were spiritually dead.
The spirit which worked in the children of disobedience worked in us (Ephesians 2:1-9). We were self-destructive in our habits, just as that man cut himself. For Jesus to come to heal the man he had to cross a river. In the same vein, to come and save us, Jesus crossed the divide between time and eternity, heaven and earth, immortality and mortality. He rescued us in his mercy, by his initiative. Mercy is from the initiative of the one showing it.
After the man was rescued by the mercy of God, he was asked to do about and share his story, becoming God’s messenger; he was on an assignment from God. He became useful, he had a mission a reason for living and that is grace. While he did not have much choice when it comes to Jesus directing mercy at him, he had a choice when it comes to operating by his grace to reach others. In his right mind, the ball is in his court.
So also, we are not just cleansed up, we are also made into spiritual equipment, able to render spiritual service, whereby we get to contribute to the kingdom for spiritual rewards. We are not useless, we are servants of God and what we serve with is grace, through which we benefit others. And God does not forget our labour of love (Hebrews 6:10). There is the reward of hearing the words: well-done good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21).
But we must never forget that we were objects of the mercy of God and are forever objects of his mercy. We should not fall into the condemnation of the devil (1Timothy 3:6) thinking that we are anything apart from the mercy of God. That keeps us humble. We should constantly say like Jeremiah: it is by the mercy of God that we are not consumed because his compassion fails not (Lamentation 3:22).
- Waiting for an Answer (fggam.org)
- The Elders’ Rest (jonathanshradar.com)
- “Build only on a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the Spirit He gives.” ~~Oswald Chambers (quotesthoughtsrandom.wordpress.com)