It is the will of God that He show mercy to all mankind.
God is love and because He is love, He shows true and complete love and He will be absolutely merciful to all mankind if they will seek Him out.
There are many people in the world today who make this statement. “If God is a God of love, why do so many people suffer?” If we know that God is love, which He is, and if He is a merciful God, which He is, then there must be some other explanation. And there is, so let's look at it.
The Ruler of the World
First we need to understand who it is that is the ruler of the world.
It is not God but the devil who is the ruler of this world. The devil controls the world and is the primary motivator for all of the evil in the world. Jesus calls the devil the ruler of this world as we see in the following scripture.
I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, (John 14:30)
The devil had no power over Jesus but it is clear that the devil was the ruler of the world.
If this is the case then it is no wonder that the world is a bad place full of pain, suffering and all kinds of evil and likewise why there is so much suffering.
So whenever anyone says, 'If God is a merciful God, why do so many people suffer” tell them the real reason people suffer is because it is not God causing the suffering, but the real ruler of this evil world, the devil.
In years gone past God chose a people to be His own. He chose Abraham and his children who became the nation of Israel to be God's own special people.
God gave Israel all the promises of salvation and life, IF they would serve and worship Him.
God gave them the law and the prophets to teach, guide and keep them from harm. He gave them judges, Kings and righteous men to help them see and understand the truth. And in the end He gave them His own Son to guide them into all the truth.
And they rejected them all. Israel chose to reject all that God gave them and so for a time God rejected them and turned His attention to the Gentiles.
Can you imagine how the God of love must have felt when His chosen people chose to reject Him? The pain He must have felt. The anguish at seeing His people go astray and choose the ways of the world rather than the ways of God. If you have children and have seen them make mistakes, then imagine the scale of the pain God felt when all of His chosen people made the greatest mistake of all by rejecting Him.
As a result we see the situation recorded in this scripture in Romans 11.
28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (Romans 11:28-32)
When Israel rejected God, He consigned all of them along with the Gentiles to disobedience. He said in effect that everyone is a sinner and all have fallen short of His glory.
By doing this God leveled the playing field and we all, Jews and Gentiles, became equal in His sight. We were all consigned to be sinners. This then allowed God to do one more truly wonderful and amazing thing.
God consigned all of mankind to sin for one purpose only. Not to punish us, not to lord it over us, not to cause us to suffer and die, but so that He could be merciful to us.
And this is in line with the very nature of God. God is love and it is in His nature to be merciful. So when He consigned all mankind to sin, it was so He could be merciful to all on the condition they would choose to seek the ways of God.
Because of the rejection of God by Israel, the Gentiles received His mercy and the way was opened for them to come to Him, outside of the law, through Jesus Christ.
And if the Jews cease their rejection they too have the offer of grace and God's mercy through Jesus Christ. His mercy has now been opened to all mankind so that those who wish to reject the ways of the world and reject the authority that the devil has over the world can now find peace.
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:27-30)
This is evidence of the mercy of God for He wants to give us peace and rest for our souls through Jesus Christ.
It is the devil who wants to make life hard and to keep man under repression. It is the devil who causes all the hardship and drama in the lives of the people in this world. He is the author of hate and pain and suffering.
But God in His mercy has provided the escape in Jesus Christ for all who seek Him out.
And God's mercy is boundless for He knows that as we walk with Him we will fall and make mistakes. But He gives us grace, which is the undeserved mercy and favour of God, so as to overlook our failures while we continue on and hold fast to our faith in the work He has accomplished in Jesus Christ.
Is it any wonder that Paul speaks in such wonder, praise, worship and with such superlatives in the end of this section when he says,
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)
How wondrous indeed are His judgments and His wisdom! To God be the glory forever and ever and may we all seek out His glory and if possible be allowed to stand in the shadow of the blessings of the glory of God for His love and His mercy are beyond comparison.
(Image sourced from freeimages.com provided by Vjeran Lisjak)
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