What Mercy Demands
In Luke 3:7-14 John warns the crowds not to rely on their Jewishness and says,
“God can raise up from these stones sons of Abraham,”
What John meant was that God’s mercy is so pure that he can make out of anybody a son of Abraham. Jewishness is no guarantee, and non-Jewishness is no hindrance. The way to forgiveness of sins is open to all, Jew and Gentile, by the same road—the road of repentance. Which means anybody who turns from trusting in human distinctives and hopes in the free mercy of God alone will be saved from the coming wrath.
Evidently John’s preaching gets through, and the people start repenting, turning afresh to God’s mercy rather than their own race or works. Now the question arises how will such people live. Is there a distinctive lifestyle that grows out of relying on mercy alone?
First, from verse 10 we learn that when a person turns to rely on God’s mercy, he can no longer hate his neighbor. It is psychologically impossible to cherish the mercy God has shown to us and at the same time refuse to show it to another.
Secondly, from verse 12 on we learn that mercy and not money is to be the currency of believers. We are to value mercy above money.
The repentant lifestyle is marked by a willingness to give to those who have need and by refusing to exploit anyone in order to get more of what we (used to) want.
If we really trust in God’s mercy to save us and help us at all times, then we value mercy, we cherish it. If you really “love mercy” (Micah 6:8), then you will live mercy. Just as surely as cats have kittens and dogs have puppies, the children of God will have mercy.
Lessons for little Saints…
1. What four things are God’s people to do to show they are sorry for sin?
2. What is meant by, “forgive us our debts”?
3. What is the Sabbath for?
4. What are money and possessions for?