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A God of Mercy - Un Dios de misricordia

October 18, 2020 Preacher: Luis A. Cardenas Series: Bilingual Sermons

Topic: Bilingual Passage: 1 Peter 2:10

The opening chapter of the Bible tells us that mankind, male and female, was made in the image of God. Humanity was placed on this earth as a visible representation of God. We were given dominion as a way of expression God’s dominion over all creation. Our purpose was to live as an expression of God’s glory. Mankind was God’s representative on the earth.

But it wasn’t long until Satan brought temptation, and the human race fell under the curse of sin. We were still made in God’s image, but that image was marred. So now, rather than live as an extension of and a pointer back to the glory of God, man lives for himself.

So, how would God make Himself known in this world? Who would represent Him? God chose to make Himself known through a nation, the nation of Israel.

God took Abraham’s descendant. He protected them. He provided for them. And He gave them His law. As a nation, they would represent God to the rest of the world. Israel was the way. Israel had the truth. Israel would bring salvation and eternal life to the world.

But history has proven that no man, and no nation, can represent God adequately enough. God’s prophets wrote down His law, but the kings and the people disregarded it. Because of their disobedience, God withdrew His blessing upon the nation. Israel’s corruption was so severe that it was torn into two kingdoms. The northern half kept the name Israel, and the southern portion was known as Judah.

Both Israel and Judah rebelled against God, but Judah showed some promise of returning. Judah’s kings were in the line of David.

Throughout this time of a divided kingdom, God continued sending prophets to warn Israel of coming judgment and to promise Judah a blessing when they returned.

One of those prophets was a man named Hosea. His book is one of the minor prophets in the Old Testament. Ordinarily, a man of God was to find himself a faithful, God-fearing wife. But the opening chapter of Hosea tells us that God had a different plan for the prophet. God told Hosea, “Go, take a wife of harlotry, a wife of whoredom.”

God told Hosea to marry a woman who would be unfaithful to her marriage covenant. Why? Because God was making a point. “You’re gonna marry an unfaithful woman because this land is unfaithful to Me.” Israel had become a spiritual adulteress.

Hosea’s family life was going to be a living picture of Israel’s relationship with God. In the course of time, Hosea’s wife became pregnant, and those children were given symbolic names.

His first child was a son, and God said to call him Yezr’el. That’s the Hebrew version, and the name means “God scatters.” That name pointed to a future judgment when God would scatter the northern portion of Israel for its unbelief.

Hosea’s wife’s second child was a daughter. And God said call this girl Lo-Ruhamah, which means “No Compassion” or “No Affection” or “No Mercy.” That probably doesn’t seem like an appropriate name for a baby girl, but again, it was a prophetic declaration. God will show no mercy when he brings judgment upon a rebellious Israel.

“But,” God said, “I will have mercy on Judah [the southern kingdom], and I will save them.”

So, God is going to scatter Israel in judgment. He will show them no mercy. But Judah will receive mercy.

When a third child came, it was another son. And God said, “Call him Lo-Ammi.” In English, that means “Not my people.” They were to give him that name because Israel was no longer God’s people, and He was no longer their God. This was God fulfilling His covenant to cut off His people if they rejected Him long enough.

But again, even with the promise of judgment, God would preserve a group. This is the promise of Hosea 1:10: “In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”

The final verse of Hosea 2 says this: “I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”

God was going to be faithful to His covenant for judgment, but He would also be faithful to His covenant to preserve. Israel—a people who deserving of God’s judgment—would one day be reconciled to God and would be restored to God’s purpose of being used for Him. The God of judgment is also a God of mercy and restoration.

I’m telling you this because this is what Peter has in mind as he describes the work God has done in our own lives.

We are not Israel. We are Gentiles. But the God of the nation of Israel is also the God of all nations. And in God’s perfectly wise plan, He has stopped using one nation for now and has created something new, something made up of people from every nation. That is the church. The church is now God’s visible representative and mediator on this planet, pointing people to His true Mediator Jesus Christ.

There are some major distinctions between Israel and the New Testament church, but there are also some similarities. Turn with me to First Peter chapter 2, verse 9, and we’ll be able to see some of the phrases Peter uses for the church today that were used by God in the Old Testament for Israel. First Peter 2:9-10.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

We looked a little more closely at verse 9 last week, and today we’re going to be focusing on verse 10. Hopefully, you were able to pick up on the language there that is connected to what I told you about in Hosea.

Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

You read that passage in English, and you see the word “you” is in there four times. But this passage isn’t really about us. This is a passage about God. It’s about who He is and what He’s done. God is the center and the end of everything. So, even when we’re learning about ourselves, ultimately, it should point us to God.

Looking at this one verse, let me share with you two meditations about the God we serve. And I call them meditations because these are simple, basic truths that we need to be telling ourselves over and over again. Tell yourself these truths over and over again.

The first truth is this: We serve a holy God who brings us reconciliation. We serve a holy God who brings us reconciliation.

Here’s why that statement is so significant. “Holy” means that something is set apart. God is something we are not, both in terms of His being and in terms of His morality.

1 John 1:5—This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

God is infinitely glorious and powerful and majestic, and He is morally perfect and pure. Where does that put us? It separates us from Him. It cuts us off. In the eyes of God, because of our sin, we are nothing. We are miserable. We are nobodies. We’re cut of from Him, and we’re cut off from each other because God is holy.

But this holy God has brought reconciliation. That’s the message in the first half of verse 10.

Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people;

We were nobodies, and God brought us to Himself. Ephesians 5:8 says it like this—at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

The holy God brought us reconciliation. By the perfect sacrifice of Christ, He has taken sinners and declared them righteous and made them His children. If you haven’t come to know and love Christ, come to Him today. Call out for forgiveness so you can be reconciled with God. If you’ve already done that, then never lose sight of this great truth. We serve a holy God who had brought us reconciliation.

We were children of wrath. We were headed to eternal, righteous judgment. But now we are children of God. Don’t ever lose sight of that.

It’s somewhat mysterious to me because, on the one hand, we are chosen eternally, we are secure in Christ. And yet still, before that salvation gets applied to us by the Spirit, and through faith and repentance, we were headed to hell.

Your understanding of a biblical doctrine should never erase another biblical truth, even if those truths can’t be reconciled in your mind. We can’t walk around saying, “I was chosen from the foundation of the world, so I was never on God’s bad side.” That’s not how it’s described.

Colossians 1:21 says we were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds. We were under the wrath of God.

The biblical description of my life is “I was headed to hell. I was dead in my sins, and God rescued me! And not only did He reunite me to Himself, He joined me to a new family. He brought me an eternal reconciliation.

Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people;

I was so encouraged a couple weeks ago when one of you here at the church said to me, “Luis, if it weren’t for Christ, how would we have ever met? Our lives are so different. I don’t think we would have ever crossed paths. We never would have been friends.” That statement wasn’t just highlighting our differences, it was highlighting the glorious work of Jesus Christ who has made us a people. We are the people of God.

We serve a holy God who brings us reconciliation. That’s the first meditation. The second meditation comes from the second half of verse 10. And here it is. Meditation number 2: We serve a righteous God who shows compassion. We serve a righteous God who shows us compassion.

In meditation number 1 we saw that holiness means separation, but reconciliation means we are brought together.

Now, with the second meditation, we’re reminded that righteousness brings judgment. But our God also shows compassion.

The second half of verse 10 says it like this: once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

God has absolutely no obligation to show mercy to sinners. In fact, His holiness demands justice. Listen, this culture gets so enraged by the idea of God sending someone to hell, but then they get just as enraged when someone doesn’t get convicted of a crime they believe he did. What is that?! That is someone elevating their own idea of justice above God’s justice. Don’t do that. You’re not God.

Listen, when this life is over, nobody is going to be in hell that doesn’t deserve to be there. And those in hell and those in heaven will know that perfect justice has been done. There is no obligation of mercy for sinner.

So, how does someone get to heaven? That’s grace. That’s mercy. That’s what Peter is pointing to when he says, “but now... but now.” Something changed.

God, by His own love, chooses to spare some. It’s not because of who they are; it’s because of who He is. He is merciful. Mercy is the withholding of a deserved punishment.

And in the case of Christians, it’s not that God ignored His righteousness. He didn’t just say, “That’s okay. No problem. Don’t worry about it.” No, He sent His Son into the world to die in our place, to satisfy God’s righteousness by sacrifice. And then, on the day of salvation, that sacrifice is applied to you. Justice is satisfied in your account.

Back in the late 1800s, a Welsh man by the name of William Rees wrote a Welsh which has been translated into English. The English title is “Here Is Love Vast as the Ocean.” And the second verse says this:

“On the mount of crucifixion, fountains opened deep and wide; through the floodgates of God’s mercy flowed a vast and gracious tide. Grace and love, like mighty rivers, poured incessant from above, and heaven’s peace and perfect justice kissed a guilty world in love.”

God doesn’t ignore justice for Christians. He satisfies it in Christ, and then, He shows us mercy. He shows us compassion.

Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Don’t ever lose sight of that truth. The eternally righteous God has shown us compassion in Jesus Christ. We received mercy.

And whenever you have trouble embracing that or remembering that, you can look to the way Paul described his own conversion in 1 Timothy 1.

Paul says, “I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

Like those blind men who called out to Jesus, “Have mercy on us, Son of David,” Jesus demonstrated compassion and mercy, and He opened our spiritual eyes.

And in First Timothy 1, when Paul finished describing God’s mercy and patience with Him and with all believers, how does He respond? Here’s what he says:

17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

To God be the glory through Jesus Christ. He has made us His people. He dwells within us. And one day, in the new heavens and the new earth, He will physically dwell with us, and we will be His people forever.

Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

We serve a holy God who brings us reconciliation. And we serve a righteous God who shows us compassion. We belong to Him.

As God’s people, we live for His glory, and we’ll look at a specific application of that next time.

Let’s close in prayer and a benediction.

 

 

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