God has a goal. This is not his response to man’s fall and to sin and death. Rather, it is His eternal heart’s desire, what He wants to do and what He will accomplish. Sin and death merely show His wisdom in accomplishing His desire, which consummates in New Jerusalem.
Because of sin and death, our fallen being is disqualified from what God wants to do and we could have no part in His plan. However, God had mercy on us. Because of His great mercy, He saved us, He regenerated us, and His is bringing us onward to New Jerusalem.
Here is a summary of our recent series on God’s mercy, with a verse and a link to each post.
❖ John the Baptist came “to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the merciful compassions of our God.” Out of the introduction by John, according to God’s merciful compassions, “the rising sun [Jesus] will visit us from on high” (Luke 1:76-78).
❖ Jesus Christ became “a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). This propitiation opens the door for us to receive the eternal life which brings us to New Jerusalem.
❖ Romans 9:15-16 say, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” It is not by our determination (him who wills) nor by our effort (him who runs). But we can cry out to God for mercy.
❖ We need mercy because of the negative effect of sin and death. We also need mercy because in ourselves we do not have the glory of God (Romans 3:23), an essential quality of New Jerusalem.
❖ Ephesians 2:1-3 describe our fallen condition. Verses 4-6 describe what God did with us in Christ due to “being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” Verse 7 continues, “That He might display in the ages to come [including New Jerusalem] the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
❖ Like Ephesians 2, Titus 3 presents our fallen condition then presents God’s salvation through His washing and renewing, “not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy.”
❖ First Peter 1:3-4 say that God, “according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading.” New Jerusalem is the consummation of this inheritance.
❖ Jude 21 encourages us “keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” We have eternal life already; here “unto eternal life” indicates we still need mercy to be brought into the fuller enjoyment of this life in the coming age and the fullest enjoyment of it in New Jerusalem.
❖ While we are on the journey of our Christian life, “Let us come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”
❖ The new creation is spiritual and hidden within us today but eventually the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center, will become visible to all (Revelation 21:1-2). We should care for this today; per Galatians 6:15-16, “a new creation is what matters. And as many as walk by this rule, peace be upon them and mercy.”
❖ God has temporarily turned from the Jews to show mercy to non-Jews (Gentiles). God’s mercy is shown to us according to His infinite wisdom. Our response should match Romans 15:9, “the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy.”
❖ This series on mercy concluded with a hymn,
God, we praise Thee for Thy mercy, ’Tis so great and so profound!
In our weakness and our failures; With its greatness it abounds.
We adore Thee! we adore Thee! With such mercy we’ve been crowned!
God is merciful to bring us into His salvation and His salvation brings us to New Jerusalem.
Photo by Christine Painter, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.