Tuesday 22 January 2013


The poet Robert Frost penned that “all you really want in the end is mercy.” I think he was spot on there with this one-liner. We also need plenty of grace.

As we look at our own lives, weigh our brownie points against our sin, we will definitely conclude that a fair judgment on God’s part at the end of our lives here on earth would be this – ‘guilty’.


For we have all sinned and fall short of God’s standards. If not for God’s mercy, where will we be?

But Jesus changed everything by dying on the cross for our sins. That’s God’s mercy at work for us, provided we believe in what He has done.

There is nothing wrong with a teaching that emphasises ‘mercy’ provided …
  • it (mercy) leads to transformed lives.
  • it (mercy) is not misused as a licence for sinning. *
  • personal responsibility is being emphasised to the same degree as mercy.

Most of us are familiar with the account of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:3-11). The crowd gathered around her and wanted to stone her.

But Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

Finally, when the crowd dispersed, Jesus asked her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

This short account has deep theological implications. The recipient of God’s love and mercy ought to show evidence of change in thought and behavior. In other words, the sinner has to repent. Unfortunately, “sin no more” has not been given the same prominence as “neither do I condemn you.”

We tend to emphasise God’s love and mercy towards sinners. The need for sinners to bear fruits that befit repentance – personal responsibility– is often not emphasised to the same degree.


  * What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it” (Romans 6:1-2)? 

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