THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
MERCY AND JUSTICE - 8
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Jesus came into the world in order to save us from our sins
and win for us our salvation. “Christ Jesus came into
the world to save sinners.” (1 Tm 1:15b). Because God
so loved the world, He does not want anyone to be lost. Jesus
is the Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to look for
the one lost sheep (Lk 15:4).
how is one lost? It is through serious unrepented sin. For
this there ought to be punishment, as God is not just a God
of love and mercy but also a God of justice. When the Israelites
turned away from God and began worshiping a molten calf (Ex
32:8), it would have been right for God to punish them. “Let
me alone, then, that my anger may burn against them to consume
them.” (Ex 32:10a). But on the intercession of Moses,
God relented and had mercy. “So the Lord changed his
mind about the punishment he had threatened to inflict on
his people.” (Ex 32:14).
always shows mercy when we are repentant and when we turn
back to Him. This is despite the greatest of our sins. David
was an adulterer and a murderer. But he recognized his sin.
“For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before
me.” (Ps 51:5). He repented and asked for God’s
mercy. “Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful
love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me.”
as Saul was a great sinner, raging against God’s people
and dragging them to prison. “I was once a blasphemer
and a persecutor and an arrogant man” (1 Tm 1:13a).
But he was converted by Jesus and turned to him in repentance,
experiencing his mercy. Thus he proclaimed, “I have
been mercifully treated” (1 Tm 1:13b). God forgives
the greatest sinners. “Of these I am the foremost. But
for that reason I was mercifully treated” (1 Tm 1:15c-16a).
This was God’s great manifestation of mercy, coming
out of His love for all, desiring no one to be lost. As Paul
says in pointing to himself, “so that in me, as the
foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an
example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting
life.” (1 Tm 1:16b).
there is the prodigal son. His sin was also great, rejecting
his father, turning away from his home, wasting the family
resources, engaging in wanton living. But he came to his senses,
and “so he got up and went back to his father.”
(Lk 15:20a). He recognized his sin and was repentant. “Father,
I have sinned against heaven and against you.” (Lk 15:18b).
Now just punishment for his great sin should have been severe,
and he recognized this. “I no longer deserve to be called
your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”
God is a God of mercy. When a sinner repents and returns to
Him, He will no longer punish. “While he was still a
long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled
with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed
him.” (Lk 15:20b). God not only forgives, but He fully
restores. “But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly
bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his
finger and sandals on his feet.’” (Lk 15:22).
mercy of God abounds. Jesus came into the world so that we
might experience such mercy and be saved. Such salvation is
awesome, as “this son of mine was dead, and has come
to life again; he was lost, and has been found.” (Lk
15:24a). One can see why for sinners returning to the fold,
there is great rejoicing in heaven. “I tell you, in
just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one
sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.” (Lk 15:7). “In
just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among
the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Lk
the celebration began.” (Lk 15:24b).