October 18, 2015
Today’s reading: Hebrews 4:14-16
God is merciful, and we can always go to Him with confidence to seek mercy. This is because God loves us (and proved that by sacrificing His Son for us). This is because God wants us to be saved and to walk in holiness. This is because Jesus in his humanity knows our trials and troubles, as he himself experienced these. He knows the severe temptations and attacks of the enemy to bring us down, as Satan tried to bring him down with the temptations in the desert. Thus Jesus is “one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.” (v.15b). But for us, we do sin. And so we need God’s mercy. The good news is that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses” (v.15a). Jesus knows our flesh is weak, and sin is just around the corner.
“So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (v.16). Satan can do all he wants to bring us down, and many times he might succeed, but God has given us the way out. God’s help is always timely. We must be confident in who God is and what God has done for us and what God wants to accomplish in our lives. We must seek God’s mercy, and be confident that God will extend His mercy to us.
There is one more thing. What is the difference between mercy and grace? Mercy is not receiving the condemnation and punishment we richly deserve for sin. Grace is receiving from God what we do not deserve or are not worthy of. In going to the throne of God we seek both mercy and grace. We ask God to withhold the judgment we deserve and instead grant us the forgiveness we in no way have earned. Grace is unmerited favor.
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