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God Confirming His Word (Repost)

God Confirming His Word (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks vacation. While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost my Top 10 most read articles. Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already. If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

I firmly believe that the power of the early church was based upon their hearing from God. God spoke to them, they obeyed, and God confirmed His Word.

Here’s an important verse. Remember, the events that took place in this Scripture occurred BEFORE the New Testament was written.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20

Scripture says that the Lord confirmed His Word with the signs – healings and miracles – that accompanied it. What’s our problem? Do we serve a different God? Of course not. Is He still on the throne? That’s a dumb question.

We serve a God who’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. Then what’s the problem? It should be clear to us. We’re trying to get God to confirm the Bible verses that we’re preaching, when all along He wants to confirm the Word that He speaks to us.

He never told us to go out and read the Scripture to people for them to be saved – He tells us to proclaim His Word. I submit to you that our society has heard enough Scripture – it’s everywhere.

They’re sick of hearing Scripture. Many unbelievers can quote as much of the Bible as some Christians. What the world is desperate for, is a Word from God. That’s what’s going to change their lives. They can argue with the Scripture, but the Word of God will cut straight to their heart.

In our exuberance over the enormous availability of Scripture, we’ve taken it too far. It doesn’t seem to matter what anyone says. As long as there’s a Scripture verse attached to it, we call it the Word of God.

It doesn’t take much listening to Christian radio or cable channels to see that many preachers are using Scripture to support their own teachings and philosophies. Hear me well. They may be preaching Scripture, but they’re NOT proclaiming the Word of God.

In these cases, God is under no obligation to confirm what they’re preaching. God doesn’t have to confirm a quote from the Scripture; He only endorses His Word – what He wants to be said at that particular time and place.

Please don’t think, based upon what I said, that I have no respect for the Scripture. I cannot live without it. Daily, I read, memorize, study, and meditate on the Scripture. I use it prayerfully. I expect and seek God to speak to me through the pages of my Bible.

The difference is that now I’m also listening for God to use other means as well. I want to hear God’s voice – however He wants to speak to me. I believe that this was the basis for the power in the life of Christ and in the early church. One of my goals in this blog is to share how this works in a practical way.

Question: How strong is your desire to hear a Word from God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Speaking Grace

Speaking Grace

Continuing through Paul’s letter to the Roman church, the apostle shows us what the walk of righteousness looks like.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Romans 12:3

Paul opens this section with the phrase, “Speaking through the grace I’ve been given…” We really need to grasp the importance of what’s being said here. This needs to be our passion.

We get into trouble when we get out of our “grace spot.” Everything we do, and especially what we say, should be motivated by God’s grace working in us.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

One of the goals in our communication should be the building up of others. We must understand who we’re talking to and how our words will affect them. We want to be a positive influence on those around us.

The phrase, benefit those who listen, literally means giving grace to the hearers. That’s the big question we all need to ask ourselves. Am I giving God’s grace to others through my words?

Moving forward, we need to ask; what is Paul saying to us through the grace given him? The best translation from Greek says, don’t over think yourself. Our tendency is to put ourselves at the center of everything we talk about.

“It’s all about me!!!”

Instead, he tells us to use a sound mind. But, we are to do this according to the measure of faith God has given us. Please understand what Paul is saying in this verse. Over the years, I’ve heard many people preach this out of context.

He’s talking about how you think about yourself. We are to think soundly, in proportion to our received faith. Remember, faith comes by hearing the rhema – Word of God. (Rhema being the Word you hear from God in your spirit.)

So, the question is; how much Word have you received, not how much Bible have you memorized. That question should keep us on track. That’s why we need to understand what he’s already written to get to this point.

My sound mindedness is based upon the Word I’ve received. And, that’s based upon how much quality time I’ve spent with the Holy Spirit.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…

Titus 2:11-13

This is what keeps us straight in the crooked world around us. The Word I receive from the Lord keeps me on the path I need to walk. It keeps me from being distracted, especially living in the Last Days.

That’s why Paul tells us to think of ourselves in relation to the Word we’ve received. That’s where our “measure of faith” is. It’s this measure of faith that places you in the body, in the right spot.

In my next post, we’ll see that Paul talks about this placement using the body and its parts as the example. Spend time in the presence of the Lord, so you have a deeper understanding of the faith and grace that’s been given to you.

Question: How would you describe the faith and grace that God’s placed within you personally?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Finding God’s Will

Finding God’s Will

As we continue through the book of Romans, Paul is reviewing the walk of the spirit. In my last post, I talked about establishing God’s pattern in our lives. That involves prayer in the spirit – standing beside the burnt offering and becoming a living sacrifice before God.

As I spend time with the Holy Spirit, I begin to hear His voice. My mind is being renewed as God’s Word enters my heart. The next question is; now that I’m hearing God’s Word in my spirit – what do I do with it?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

There’s still a choice to be made. This is where, according to Christ, the thorns and thistles of distractions could choke it. We need to be careful about what our heart dwells on.

This verse literally says; don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold. Instead, let the Word renew (renovate) your mind.

If you want a life that’s well-pleasing to God, it will require a renewed mind. It’s the renewed mind that will transform your walk. That word transform is the Greek word metamorph. It’s how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly.

It’s only when we’re allowing the Word to renew our mind that we’re able, have the power, to test and approve God’s well pleasing will.

Many people have asked me, “Pastor, how do I know God’s will?” The truth is that you will never know God’s will before you do it. It’s by faith.

I get my faith approved. Then I stand beside body praying in spirit to hear God. I allow God’s Word to renew mind.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

Through prayer in the spirit, we have access to the mind of Christ – that’s the renovation process that we need. It causes us to think His thoughts. Then, because His mind is working in us, we can test and approve God’s will.

As I live out my faith, opportunities arise. I feel a stirring on the inside of me, “I believe God wants me to do this.”

I now have the power to test and approve God’s will for my life. I step out. By faith, I expect either a miracle to confirm what I’m doing or the intervention of the Holy Spirit to stop me from doing it.

Paul understood this and tells us the bottom line.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Romans 14:17-18

To be well pleasing to God, it’s not about the rules you place on yourself. It’s a life lived in the spirit. That’s what God finds well pleasing. Because the flesh can never fulfill God’s perfect will.

Simply put, a well-pleasing life requires a spiritual walk.

Question: What do you believe is the next step in God’s plan for you right now?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Life Patterns

Life Patterns

Have you ever bought furniture that you’ve had to assemble by yourself? I have and I even enjoy it a little.

But, I know people who hate putting things together. They say that they can never understand the directions.

The fact is that all of these things come with detailed instructions. If you can understand them AND if you follow them – step by step – you’ll end up with a beautiful piece of furniture.

I’ve also known people who ignore the instructions. They go right to work assembling things based upon the picture on the box. More often than not they end up in trouble.

So why am I talking about furniture? Because it actually has a lot to do with our Christian walk.

As we continue our study through the book of Romans, Paul is reviewing his teaching on the walk of righteousness. He wants us to know that to get the right results, we need to do it God’s way. That’s the only way to a life that’s well-pleasing to the Lord.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

Paul tells his readers in this letter not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world. In many instances, life is all about conforming to a pattern. The world has a pattern of living.

There are socially accepted ways of putting your life together. As we grow and mature, we learn and incorporate these patterns into our lives. At some point we’re seen as an accepted member of the culture we’re a part of.

The challenge arises when we come to Christ. When Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior, we enter a new Kingdom. We are now part of a new culture; a new society. There must, therefore, be a new pattern to shape our lives around.

The unfortunate thing is that many believers try to serve Christ while living according to this world’s pattern. When that happens, we have a life where we see the promises God holds out to us. Yet, we never seem to lay hold of the realities. It’s a very frustrating way to live.

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:13

It all has to do with our teaching. In the modern church we tend to do more teaching on doctrines than on patterns of living. What we end up with are believers who know the teachings of Christ and the apostles, yet never experience the true culture of Christ.

That’s why Paul deals with the practicalities of the Christian life. In the first eight chapters, he tells us how to live according to the spirit. He also shows us why it’s so important to live that way.

In this chapter he’s preparing to show us what this kind of life looks like. The problem is that many believers try to do what Paul talks about in this section, without first building the pattern of a spiritual walk. That only bring frustration and failure.

We need the spiritual transformation process if we’re going to see God’s will accomplished in us. As I’ve said before, prayer in the spirit has a huge role to play in renewing and transforming our thinking.

Question: What do you think are the differences between the pattern of the world and the pattern of Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2021 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Israel and the Gospel

Israel and the Gospel

We’re continuing our walk through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. In my last post, we saw how Paul prophesied Israel’s ultimate return to God. He said that all Israel would be saved.

The question is, what does he mean by all Israel. Is the apostle talking about ethnic Israel or true Israel. Will the nation of Israel be restored to faith in the last days?

As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

Romans 11:28-29

Paul tells us that as far as the Gospel is concerned, the Jews are hostile non-participants. But, as far a selection goes, they’re loved because of the patriarchs. Some teachers use this verse to say that all Jews go to heaven simply because they’re Jews. Is that what Paul’s saying?

What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

Romans 3:9

At the beginning of Romans Paul already made the point that both Jews and Gentiles need to be saved through Christ. However, there’s a special bond with the Lord, which is why the nation of Israel will not be destroyed.

They will always be given the chance for salvation. They will always be protected, just like those with praying parents or grandparents. Because of all the intercessions that have gone up for Israel, they will always be drawn by the Holy Spirit.

According to this passage, there are two things that cannot be turned away from. In context, he’s talking about Israel, but this spiritual principle applies to us as well.

The first is the gifts of God. The Greek word he uses here is charismata. This is an endowed gift from God that He retains authority over. It’s the same word used in the gifts of the Spirit.

That’s actually why we’re shocked when we hear what some of the “spiritual giants” have done. How could they have operated in the power of God, all the while participating in secret sins?

The other thing that God never revokes is His callings – literally, the invitations of God. Once God has invited you to do something, it always stands whether you accomplish it or not.

In Abraham, Israel was called to bring salvation to the earth. So they’re still on hold as God waits for them.

Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.

Romans 11:30-31

Paul tells us that in the past it was the Gentiles who were “Unbelievers.” Now we have obtained mercy (sonship by faith) and the Jews are unbelievers. But, because of the grace active in you, they can be brought to repentance.

So it’s because the Gentiles picked up the torch of salvation that Israel now has hope. They can be saved because the Gospel has not been lost.

For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Romans 11:32

God has bound all unbelievers together, both Jew and Gentile, so that now, whosoever will can enter His salvation. He’s calling all people to sonship in Christ.

That’s why living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so important. We’ve been entrusted with the Good News. We can’t be selfish with it.

There’s a world of people around us who desperately need this message. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit when He prompts you to give your testimony. Pass on this wonderful gift.

Question: How many people have you shared your story with?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2021 in Faith, Israel, Ministry, The Gospel

 

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Our Unique Callings

Our Unique Callings

We’re continuing in the book of Romans as Paul explains to us the place of Israel in God’s plan. He now looks at the Jew-Gentile relationship. He starts by asking another question.

Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!

Romans 11:11-12

He asks the rhetorical question; did Israel trip to the point where they fell and lost it all? The answer is a resounding “No!” He says that their side-slip opened up salvation for the Gentiles. At this point, God is using this chance at salvation to provoke a rivalry.

So, if their side-slip means riches for the world, and their deterioration means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their completion be? God’s goal through all of this is not Israel’s destruction. The Lord is looking for their total restoration.

Paul now reminds us who he’s talking to.

I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.

Romans 11:13-14

Paul is specifically writing to Gentiles. It’s important that we understand his ministry. That word, apostle, means one who is set apart and sent out on a mission.

According to Paul, his mission is the Gentiles. At one point Paul submitted his Gospel to the Apostles in Jerusalem. He wanted to make sure he was in sync with the rest of Christianity at that time.

As for those who seemed to be important — whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance — those men added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews.

Galatians 2:6-7

In their meeting, they clearly saw the hand of God at work. Peter was obviously called to evangelize the Jews. Paul, on the other hand, was uniquely qualified to bring the message of Christ to the Gentile world.

Both Peter and Paul understood this important truth. We’re not called to do everything and reach everybody. Each one of us has a unique and specific area of ministry. We get into trouble when we try to be like someone else.

In Romans 11:13, above, Paul tells us that he glorifies that area of service – it’s of great importance to him. Yet, in the next verse, he tells us that he’s still hoping to win Israel to Christ.

The Apostle Paul has to deal with the same issues in his ministry that we deal with each day. He has a God-ordained ministry, yet he would rather do something different. He would rather be reaching the Jews.

The simple fact is that Paul wasn’t a Peter. What was it about Peter that he could win a thousand Jews to Christ at a time? I don’t know, but God was at work through his gifts and personality.

Paul was a totally different person. It’s clear that reaching the Jewish people was not his strong point. In spite of that, he tried again and again to reach them. And, whenever he did, he ran into trouble – he was stoned, thrown into jail, or had to go into hiding and leave the city.

We need to learn this lesson. We have to go before God and spend time in His presence. That’s how we come to understand our unique calling. We’ll begin to see who we personally are meant to reach and how to accomplish it. Time in the spirit is a great benefit to our ministry.

Questions: Who are you called to reach? How has God qualified you to do it?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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What are You Hearing?

What are You Hearing?

We’ve been talking about how the Gospel is sent to the world around us. There have to be Christians submitted to the Lord in order to effectively communicate the message of Christ.

But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:16-17

The problem is that not all submit to, obey, heed carefully the good news. Even though the context here is talking about Israel, I believe it could apply to all who hear the Gospel.

Paul concludes that faith only comes through the power of the spirit. That’s what the second half of this passage is talking about. But it assumes that the believer with the message is hearing from God.

The Lord is trying to get our attention. He wants to speak to a church that’s largely enamored with what the world has to offer. We don’t want to take the time to hear from the Holy Spirit.

The enemy knows this. Never have there been more distractions then there is right now.

We seem to have lost sight of the truth of this verse. It literally says, “Faith comes out of hearing and hearing through the rhema of Christ.” As I’ve said before, rhema is the Greek word that speaks of the word we hear with our spirit.

That’s one of our biggest failings. Not listening, and therefore not hearing God’s voice speaking to us.

We want to just go out and minister with the power of the spirit. We want to go to work, watch TV, play basketball, and then heal the sick. We want formulas – quick, easy ways to walk in the power of the Spirit.

The spiritual authority that we’re looking for starts with hearing from God. Jesus would spend quality time in prayer and didn’t minister until he heard a Word from the Father. People actually flocked to him.

Today, we find it hard getting people to our meetings in the middle of a city. What’s wrong? I believe that the answer is clear…we have no Word from God. If we want to be the end-time church, prepared for Christ’s return, then we need to be listening to the Holy Spirit.

That’s the conclusion that Paul brings us to. Faith originates, springs from hearing a Word originating in the spirit. Not from reading. Not from speaking. But hearing through the rhema-Word of Christ.

This is where we mess up much of the time. We think that reading Scripture produces faith. NO – it’s a Word from God that produces faith. Please don’t get mad at me for speaking this truth.

We need to relearn that it’s revelation from God that produces faith. It’s not a well thought out argument. Faith springs from hearing through rhema.

This is an important point. That’s why you need God’s approval to share Christ. You have to be submitted enough to hear a Word from Christ. If you’re not listening to the Holy Spirit, then you have no business proclaiming Jesus.

The church needs to get back to an intimacy with the Holy Spirit. We can’t fill our days with every kind of distraction the world offers, and expect to see a move of God.

We are living at a crossroads. The restrictions of the pandemic are starting to come to an end. We’re starting to refill our schedules. Don’t go back to business as usual. Set you heart toward quality time with the Lord.

We don’t know what’s coming down the road. But, if you’re in step with the Holy Spirit, then you’re prepared for whatever may come your way.

Question: What are your scheduling priorities as pandemic restrictions loosen?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Who is Sent?

Who is Sent?

I’m continuing through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. In my last post, I ended with some of Paul’s leading questions about the Gospel. The next question is probably the most important of all.

And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Romans 10:15

How shall the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ be proclaimed unless someone is sent? You might get mad at me for what I’m about to say, but stick with me and see what Scripture says about it.

Many believers have this idea that it’s every Christian’s job to proclaim Christ. Is it? Look at how Paul describes this ministry elsewhere in his writings.

And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle — I am telling the truth, I am not lying — and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.

1 Timothy 2:7

Paul uses a word here that’s translated as appointed in English. It actually means to be set in place. It wasn’t something that he just decided to do in passing.

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

This is something that most teachers never touch on. Paul says the he had to be approved to be entrusted with the Gospel. That word means to be examined and tested to see if something is genuine or not.

According to the apostle, he had to be proven genuine before God would trust him to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. That’s the same word as in this next verse.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

I believe that our lack of boldness is directly related to the way we force new Christians to share the Gospel without first being approved by God. We give them canned speeches and Scriptures that they repeat without any passion. It’s no wonder the world ignores that kind of witness.

Look at Paul’s method of evangelism.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5

He tells us that his speaking and proclaiming were based in the power of God. I believe that proclaiming Christ has to be directed by the Holy Spirit. If that were always the case; would it make a difference in how the world sees the church?

We need to be sharing the Gospel effectively. I strongly feel that if you’re not submitted to God, then you shouldn’t proclaim Christ. Rogue Christians do more harm than good in their testimonies.

“Come to Christ, then you can be as flaky as me.”

In the above verse from Romans, Paul quotes a passage from Isaiah 52:7. That Scripture speaks of a proclamation that benefits the hearer. It’s not just something the herald feels like sharing.

The fact is, I don’t know all that you’re going through. That’s why I have to rely on the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to guide what I say to you. That will cause you to base your faith on God’s power, and not my intellect.

Question: What did you hear that caused you to put your faith in Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Yackity Yak, Don’t Talk Back

Yackity Yak, Don’t Talk Back

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. In talking about Israel’s place in the plan of God, Paul is explaining about God’s foreknowledge.

It’s a hard concept for us to grasp. The Lord sits outside of time and can view all of eternity at once. Our view is limited to where we are right now.

Because of this, some people get the idea that God makes everything happen. They say that He planned out everyone’s actions and reactions. I don’t believe this. Just because you know what everyone will do, doesn’t mean that you’re making them do it.

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Romans 9:19-21

If God already knows what will happen, then why does He blame us when we turn out that way? Paul asks us; who can stand against and oppose His resolve?

What do you think you’re doing when you talk back to God? He’s the Creator, the great Potter. We’re the ones being formed. How can we say to the Potter, “Why are you making me into this type of pot? I don’t want to be this.”

Some of the pottery is for noble purposes, like vases and ornamental pieces. Others are for common uses, like wash basins and bed pans.

Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s really up to the clay to decide what purpose it’s used for.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

2 Timothy 2:20-21

It takes the right kind of clay to make a delicate vessel. Hard, unyielding clay can only make a common pot. The fact is that God determines the use, based on what He knows of the clay. The pliability of the person determines how God shapes him.

In my last post, I talked about Moses and Pharaoh. God shaped Pharaoh to display His glory, based upon the desire of Pharaoh’s heart. A resistant heart can never become what a soft, yielding heart can be.

Remember, Paul is still talking about Israel in this passage. He said that not all of Israel is Israel. Not all of Israel yields to His will.

What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

Romans 9:22-24

God desires to display who He is. Even in His wrath, He is passionate. The Lord shows forth His power and glory in all that He does.

He could, by His foreknowledge, immediately send everyone to hell that He knows will reject Him. He could also immediately translate to Heaven, everyone who accepts Christ. But, that wouldn’t show who He is.

In the Lord’s grace, He shows His patience, even to those who will someday enter His wrath. He does this so that He could show the wealth of His glory to the objects of His mercy, those who yielded to His molding. In Christ, we’re being prepared for His glory.

Question: How is God’s patience a blessing to you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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A Hardened Heart

A Hardened Heart

In my last post, I started taking a little side trip to discuss mercy, from a biblical perspective. I explained that mercy is one of three foundations of God’s righteous law. The three are faith, judgment, and mercy.

Now we need to understand the important role that mercy should have in our lives.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:3-4

The mercy of God speaks of new birth and an inheritance. It’s the family blessing of God. As I said in my last post, mercy is the reward for being an obedient child of God.

In essence the walk of sonship is the walk of mercy. It’s a higher way of life than the faith-walk.

But, what we don’t get, is how it ties into the fact that God exists outside of time. That’s why His mercy looks random to us sometimes.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

1 Timothy 1:12-13

This is Paul’s testimony of the work of Christ in his life. Paul received mercy, not based upon what he had done, but upon what God knew he would become in the future.

God knows who is going to respond to Him. So, He sometimes bases the blessings He gives on that foreknowledge. That’s why many seemingly sinful people receive protection, provision, and grace long before they bow their knee to Christ.

The Lord knew that you were going to choose Him. There are others, however, that He knows will never choose Christ, no matter the circumstances. Mercy is always based on obedience – past, present or future.

Now with an understanding of the mercy of God we can move forward with our study of Romans.

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Romans 9:17

We need to understand this verse from the standpoint of God’s mercy. This verse doesn’t say, “I made you king…” It literally says, “I resurrected you…” God got what was on the inside of Pharaoh to come out. These things sometimes only come out in the heat of emotion.

If you read Exodus, chapters 7-9, you’ll see Moses going before Pharaoh again and again. Each time Pharaoh says he’ll let Israel go, but then he goes back on his word. He wants to negotiate, and look kingly, but his heart was actually against Moses and Israel.

Finally, God declared that He had spared Pharaoh to show His power. In that way, God’s mighty name would be proclaimed throughout the earth.

Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

Romans 9:18

According to His will, God grants mercy to His obedient sons and daughters. Others, the Lord will make stubborn, because that’s what they want to happen.

God did not do something with Pharaoh against his will. Just the opposite – God strengthened Pharaoh’s resolve to do what was already in his heart.

God didn’t want Pharaoh to cave in to the pressure from his advisors or magicians. God gave Pharaoh the backbone to do what he actually wanted to do.

That’s why it’s so important for us to pray for God to soften the hearts of those around us. We don’t want anyone hardened against the Gospel of Christ.

Question: In what ways have you seen emotions bring out what’s in a person’s heart?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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