The Knowledge of the Holy: The Mercy of God
[Editor’s Note: This is a 23-Day Series exploring different aspects of God’s nature and personality, using Tozer’s “The Knowledge of the Holy” as a discussion starter. You can read the introduction of the series here.]
Yesterday’s post ended talking about this crazy paradox that believers in Jesus are called to navigate: We serve a just God who shows justice and at the same time is completely full of mercy. This idea is so hard for us that Christians for centuries have tried to understand how God’s justice and His mercy mingle together. But make no mistake, the fact that we are not immediately consumed when we sin, the fact that there are more chances to repent and change, and the fact that Jesus died to save us from sin all point to a God unfathomably rich in mercy. Our job is to respond to that mercy appropriately.
Tozer tells us early that the mercy God has is a deep motivation from inside the Godhead to show compassion to those who do not deserve it. He spends time talking about how only mercy can take a man or woman who was once God’s enemy and show that man or woman goodness. We should live in the wonder of God’s mercy.
But because of our human nature we spend a large amount of time confused about God’s mercy. We sometimes feel like the God of Israel (or the Old Testament) was a the just judge whose judgment is only held back by the mercy of Jesus as demonstrated and taught in the New Testament. But Tozer reminds us of the ground we have already covered. God is one and not conflicted. He is eternal and not prone to divine mood swings. Mercy emanates from Him because He is eternally merciful, not because He had a change of heart.
The challenge for us, then, is to live as if mercy from God is real and constant. We cannot believe in mercy but exist as if it’s some kind of heavenly lotto we hope to win one day. We have to begin to live lives that reflect having tasted God’s mercy. This is harder than it sounds. It starts with believing that God is truly merciful. We have to renew our minds with the idea that mercy isn’t God’s temporary disposition. It’s who He is. As we renew our minds, we begin to walk in the experience of God’s mercy. The sins and regrets of the past slowly have less and less power over us.
This is the area where I need to grow significantly in. Over and over I’m struck by Tozer’s description of God as someone who isn’t merciful on a whim. My mercy is short-lived, but God’s mercy is constant and we can grow in our ability to live in freedom by believing God’s mercy is ever toward us.
Can we, by faith, walk in a greater experience of God’s mercy? I believe so. Let’s not (as Tozer says) “starve outside the banquet hall.” This was never God’s heart for His children. He desires that we know Him as the God of all mercy and comfort. Pray for me today, that I would know God’s mercy as a truth of who He is and not a divine mood swing.
That’s my takeaway today. What’s yours? Leave a comment so we can all grow together!
Day 18: The Mercy of God
Day 19: The Grace of God
Day 20: The Love of God
Day 21: The Holiness of God
Day 22: The Sovereignty of God
Day 23: The Open Secret