264898981_0514e29018I am so very grateful for community. God speaks there. Where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name (i.e., with His agenda), He is there with them; and He has something to say. I would like to share one rather large example.

I have known for some time now that many other Christians have a deeper appreciation than I for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, on Calvary’s Cross. It has been a wonder to me; sometimes a concern. I believe it affects my relationship with the Father and His Son. Consequently, I have been asking God to help me understand what I have been missing.

In a meeting this week, a friend asked to share a concern he had with the church. It was profound; and I hope to share it with you soon. There was one thing he said, in particular, that has been an epiphany for me. It is simply this:

The cross was God’s mercy.

The Cross was God’s mercy; not His grace. What is the difference? For me, the difference is love versus favor. I was taught that grace is God’s favor, or His unmerited gift to mankind. It is something He wants to do. Yes, the Cross is an unmerited gift; but, it is so much more.

From BlueLetterBible.org, mercy is “kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them”. Mercy is doing something you are not required to do. God did not want to crucify His Son. It was a sacrifice. It was mercy.

And that has been an incredible epiphany for me. It has touched the depths of my heart and soul. I will not be able to explain the impact; and I am rejoicing in the love of my Father.

You may wonder how it could be that I have not learned this until now. I do. My educated guess is that it has something to do with the denomination I grew up in. Everything was grace. I don’t remember much teaching on mercy. In fact, it seems to me that mercy and grace was the same thing to my teachers.

I think I was the victim of their failure to search out the matter diligently. Perhaps they did not understand that God chooses His words carefully; and they have very specific meaning. I am sure they did not understand the impact this understanding might have on someone’s life.

It is not in my heart to criticize anyone. My hope in sharing this is your encouragement to forcefully search out the elementary principles of the kingdom, in the fellowship of other followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:42). Please do not settle for something less than all that God has to offer – the mysteries of His kingdom; His very thoughts and ways.

If you are a leader – if God has given you one or more spheres of influence – then you have a great privilege and responsibility in this. Search out the matter. Teach others to do the same. Be a faithful steward of the mysteries of God (1Corinthians 4:1-2).

Humbly yours and forever His,