Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Part of why we need mercy in the first place is that we cannot change—God Himself must change us. We are changed by the message of reconciliation, which is to say, though our relationship with God has been broken by sin, we can be reconciled to Him through Jesus. Reconciliation comes to us through the gift of mercy.
Once we are reconciled to God through Jesus, we are unleashed as ministers who then go out and share the message of reconciliation. We make appeals on God’s behalf, asking people to turn from sin and be reconciled to God. Receiving God’s mercy compels us to go forward and proclaim that mercy to others.
In the church we often think about mercy as helping people when they are down and out, and it is right to think that way. However, the most desperate need we have is to be reconciled to God in Christ. We need the primary mercy of God’s forgiveness. And so do other people.
Extending mercy does mean meeting physical needs, but it also means helping people see their need for the gospel. Through the gospel, the mercy of God washes over us. Through the gospel, the mercies of God become new to us each morning. Sharing the mercy of God means sharing the gospel of God.
- Do you primarily think of mercy as being need-based or gospel-based? How is it both?
- Think about God’s mercy toward you. How has He met your needs? Pray that you would take your role as a minister of reconciliation seriously.