Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mercy Rejoices

“And mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” James 2:13

This verse puzzled me, so I took my devotional time this morning to figure it out. brought me to Barne's Notes on the Bible, where I found some helpful insights.

The context of James 2 is about not having respect to persons - impartiality. I noticed that James' emphasis is on the do not rather than the do. So I wondered, what would it it look like if I were to turn it around and emphasize the do? Instead of saying, "Don't have respect of persons," perhaps it might read, "Treat the poor just as you would the rich. Treat the undeserving as if they were deserving." A light bulb turns on. This is mercy! Justice (or judgment) dictates that people should be treated no better than they deserve. This is why mercy appears to triumph over (or "rejoice against") judgment. This is a foundational principle of the plan of salvation - "Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves." (DA 25.2) At the final judgment, Satan will argue against us, "They are guilty! They deserve to die and share my punishment with me! They have broken your Law, and your Law condemns them to death." That's when Mercy will come forth to triumph over Judgment. "Yes, you are right - they don't deserve eternal life. They have broken my Law," Christ responds. "But I took their punishment for them. I was treated as they deserve, so that they can be treated as I deserve."

How can I not be merciful, when Christ has shown so much mercy to me? Wow....

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