Atheist mocks God’s mercy claiming that Christians cannot give an example of same. Let’s discuss that…
Atheist, Mark D, stated: “Christians believe that God is merciful, but they can’t point to one real life example of God’s mercy. What does that tell you?”
Please allow me to point out just three-examples of God’s mercy…though the examples are innumerable in our personal lives and in the Scriptures…
1) God’s incredible mercy and compassion concerning mankind was initiated “before the creation of Time,” before the creation of visible matter e.g. the Universe, Earth, Life constrained by Time.
It is written concerning the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ who saved us from death in sin and Hell for everyone who believes in Him as Lord…
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” 2 Timothy 1:8-11 (NKJV) (Underlined emphasis is mine)
2) God’s incredible mercy toward mankind unfolded in Eternity when His anointed cherub angel introduced sin into the purity of the Kingdom and challenged God’s justice, mercy, holiness, righteousness, compassion. God’s mercy, love and cherished relationship with His faithful angels was put to the test and the most expedient remedy was to destroy Lucifer and the rebellious angels that followed Lucifer in his attempted coup d’état against God’s authority; but God, in His infinite wisdom and desiring to maintain volitional love with the faithful angels in the Kingdom, opted to implement a Plan of grace, mercy, self-sacrifice, as opposed to arbitrary punishment that would have undoubtedly destroyed volitional love between God and the faithful angels remaining in solidarity with God’s dominion and authority in the Heavenly Kingdom.
In order to deal with Lucifer’s sin and rebellion, God took elements from the Spiritual World and formed them into matter that is visible and interactive in a World subject to Time (Hebrews 11:3). Out of love, mercy and compassion, God took the matter He had formed from elements found in the unseen Spiritual World and formed the Universe with a special emphasis on the Earth and with the creation of mankind on the 6th-Day of Creation; it is only mankind which God created in His spiritual image and provided mankind with certain attributes relevant to God including an eternal spirit. God clothed that eternal spirit with flesh in order that mankind could function and interact within the constraints of Time. By His love, mercy and compassion, God chose to enter into a relationship with mankind as an ally to battle the Evil One through spiritual warfare.
God removed the destructive sin of Lucifer from the Kingdom and placed Lucifer, the demonic angels, their sin-nature, on the Earth and the greatest mystery of God’s creation was then initiated as Lucifer introduced sin into the realm of Time. Man/Adam found Lucifer’s sin more appealing than God’s Covenant of sustenance/provision; therefore, sin entered into the World and corrupted the perfection of the human genome resulting in death of the body as well as fracturing the relationship between God and man. God, in His mercy and compassion, did not leave mankind in his helpless state but immediately set-forth a Plan to reconcile Himself with mankind through selfless love and self-sacrifice.
Following, is the first prophecy in Scripture concerning God’s mercy toward fallen, sinful, mankind…
So the Lord God said to the serpent [Lucifer]:
“Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:14-15 (NKVJ)
Here, we see that God, in His mercy, intervened immediately subsequent to Adam’s rejection of God’s Covenant of Sustenance. God articulates His Plan to bring forth a Redeemer/a Mediator through the seed of the woman (a virgin) apart from Adam’s seed (Joseph’s seed) which carries the sin-nature. Then God articulates the victory of this Redeemer over Lucifer-Satan, v.15: “And I will put enmity Between you [Lucifer] and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed [Yeshua]; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
Next, we see the second prophecy in The Genesis concerning God’s mercy toward mankind…
“The LORD God fashioned garments from animal skins for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21 (ISV)
Often times, this obscure verse of Scripture is read without thought or concern relevant to its importance concerning God’s compassion, mercy and Plan for the redemption of mankind. The moment Adam conspired with his wife to disobey God’s edict (Genesis 3:6-7) they died spiritually and their relationship with God was fractured; therefore, Adam and Eve internalized the symptomatic ramifications of sin which are partially exemplified by shame, fear, deceit-lying, obfuscation concerning culpability. To cover their shame as they fearfully hid from God in the Garden, Adam and Eve sewed fig-leaves together to cover their nakedness.
Genesis 3:21 is the first prophecy in Scripture that articulates God’s self-sacrifice, mercy, LOVE, in order to reestablish and repair the broken relationship between mankind and Himself as the resultant of Adam’s sin. In v.21 we see God slay an innocent animal (or animals) and the blood of that animal flowing onto the ground as God took the skin of said animal and clothed Adam and Eve in place of the fig-leaves.
This most significant Prophecy shows God’s compassion and His future self-sacrifice as God demonstrates that by the work of man’s own hands (the fig leaves) to cover his sin and conceal said sin from God, that mankind’s attempts to earn his own righteousness (a right standing) with God is not possible but that God Himself, through the shedding of innocent blood, would cover (forgive) the sin of mankind by grace through faith, in other words, it would be God Himself that would forgive sin through His own selfless sacrifice (Ephesians 2:8-9).
It is the innocent blood of Messiah-Yeshua/Jesus flowing onto the ground beneath the Cross/Crucifixion outside of the gates of Jerusalem approximately 1,986-years ago that paid for the sins of mankind and anyone who trusts in the innocent blood of Messiah as payment for sin will be forgiven of all sin and the fractured relationship between mankind and God will be repaired/reconciled for Eternity (John 3:16).
Just as the innocent blood of that animal in the Garden flowed onto the ground and the skin of that animal covered the shame of Adam and Eve, God the Father looked at the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, flowing onto the ground at Golgotha and pointed to the innocent blood of His Son and declared said blood as the ONLY acceptable payment for the sins of mankind. Approximately 4000-years before the Crucifixion of Messiah-Yeshua, God was prophetically and literally demonstrating His self-less love, mercy and compassion for His beloved creation. This is, without-a-doubt, the epitome of God’s mercy.
3) The Atheist fails to see God’s mercy in our daily lives as each one of us, having been chosen by God to participate in this unfathomable cosmic struggle between good v. evil, have a unique opportunity to fight along side God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. God has promised victory over Satan and death and the grave to everyone who will trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and God gives each of His faithful warriors the indwelling Holy Spirit Who teaches and prepares the faithful for spiritual warfare in the Realm of Time and prepares them for life in the Kingdom of God as servants of the Most High God forever in Eternity subsequent to death of the body (1 John 2:27; 2 Corinthians 5:8). In fact, the primary purpose of our lives constrained by Time upon this Earth is to prepare for service in God’s Kingdom.
It is written…
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV)
God’s mercy is new every morning…even for the Atheist,
Unfortunately, the Atheist fails to understand and see the blessings and mercy of God with the dawning of each new day as God displays His compassion for the Atheist by providing them another opportunity to reconcile with Him by grace (unmerited favor) through faith (trusting-believing) in Jesus Christ as Lord. The Atheist does not understand that God holds their next breath in the palm of His hand (Daniel 5:23) and it is only by God’s mercy and grace that they are given the opportunity to repent of their sin and find life in Jesus’ Name.
It is written…
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,” 1 Timothy 2:3-6 (NKJV)
God’s mercy toward mankind demonstrated…
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:6-11 (NKJV)
Rickey D. Holtsclaw