The Roman church in Rome receives from Paul a final encouragement as he writes about the loving and magnificent mercy of God contained in the history of the Jewish people. From the mercy shown to the people in bondage in Egypt to the creation of the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant as it moved thru the desert with Moses to the permanent place in Jerusalem in the times of David and Solomon: Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (Rom 9:21-23).
The eternal and final act of God’s mercy toward man, however, has now appeared as Paul later explained to Titus: For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life, (Tit 3:3-7).
We are now equipped to be a merciful people, the Roman church is now equipped to be merciful—even in the face of pending persecution: For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that they also may obtain mercy, (Rom 11:30-31).
Chapter 12 is pivotal for the topic of mercy: Chapters 9-11 speak of God’s mercy for man. Chapters 12-15 speak of man’s mercy for man: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, (Rom 12:1). The following statements written from 12 on are full of “mercy”: Love must be genuine, love one another with brotherly affection, bless those who persecute you, live in harmony with one another, repay no one evil for evil, never avenge yourselves, if your enemy is hungry—feed him and if he is thirsty, give him drink. Accept one another in Christ—just as he has accepted you, do not pass judgement on one another, we who are strong should bear with the failings of the weak, let each of us please his neighbor for his good to build him up: For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make ate was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted, (Heb 2:17-18).
…….because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment, (Jas 2:13).
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Chrch of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]