Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mercy, The Grace Partner

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Heb 4:16 (NASB)
A Wall Street Journal article reports that doctors discovered there are subtle differences in a baby’s cry that helps medical staff understand how to treat the infant. More than just hunger or being tired, differences in cry characteristics can provide clues that something is wrong. A computer program was created to analyze the cries in 12.5 millisecond frames and measures factors like pitch, volume and “voicing” which is how clear the cry sound is. Doctors hope such analysis can provide clues so that treatment can begin earlier than standard test results might indicate. – adapted, Sumathi Reddy, "What Science Hopes to Learn from a Baby's Cry," The Wall Street Journal (8-27-13)
You will read them together in many passages. Grace and mercy are great partners. As someone once noted, grace is getting what you don’t deserve while mercy is not getting what you do deserve. That seems to be a fair summary of some important ideas contained in the words.

We need to also connect grace and mercy to our prayers. The passage is Hebrews 4:16 tell us about something available to Christians. Access to God’s throne of grace is one of the benefits given to us because Jesus serves as our Great High Priest. The very idea of confidently coming into God’s presence is startling, but to think that access is to present ourselves, in all our humanness, including our needs, our pains, our struggles, and especially our failures is more than words can convey.

Make no mistake about this throne. It’s a throne of grace. Not one of us deserves to be there. None of us, by our virtue or our accomplishments, have an earned place before the throne of God. We’re there because of grace. But it’s not just a throne of grace. It’s also a place of mercy where God withholds what we really deserve, and grants us help instead.

That’s quite a different picture than one held by many. They see God as a demanding tyrant eager to threaten and punish. The truth is God does warn, and he will punish, but those are things reserved for those who reject him and refuse to believe and obey him.

Christians are not better than other people. We have the same troubles, commit the same sins, struggle with the same difficulties. The difference? Access to a couple of partners, dispensed from the throne of God.