Mercy And Truth Are Met Together
By: Brian A. Yeager
When we think of the word “truth” we rightly think about the word of God (Psalms 119:151-152, John 17:17, and Colossians 1:5). Of course, this also ties to Jesus, as He is the Word (John 1:1-5) and the truth (John 14:6). As our spiritual minds consider the word “truth” there are many other things that may properly come to mind (Exodus 34:6, Deuteronomy 32:4, I Samuel 12:24, Psalms 25:10, Psalms 119:142, Psalms 119:160, Proverbs 8:7, Zechariah 8:16, John 8:32, Acts 10:34, Romans 1:18, Galatians 4:16, Ephesians 4:15, etc.). Our minds might also consider the opposite of truth, which is a lie or error (I John 2:21). Error and lying all brings Satan to mind (John 8:44). Then that brings to mind his disciples (I John 3:8-10).
I have thought about a lot of so-called “brethren” I have met over the years that are either way too focused on truth opposed to error or not concerned enough. There always seems to be a lack of balance. You find individuals and congregations whom are always talking about earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 1:3) or rarely talking about such. The truth, the word of our Lord, contains many things we must teach and practice. We are not limited to just being defenders of the truth. We are to be the people who do more than speak the truth; we must walk in the truth (Psalms 86:11 and III John 1:4).
We must always be mindful of standing for and defending the truth as revealed by our Lord (Proverbs 28:4, Acts 19:9-10, Galatians 2:1-5, Ephesians 6:10-18, Philippians 1:17, Philippians 1:27, and II Timothy 4:1-8). We should have a deep hatred against all falsehoods (Psalms 119:104, Psalms 119:128, and Romans 12:9). We should never compromise in allowing ourselves to be joined to error (Ephesians 5:6-11).
What happens to us though when we become so focused on defending the truth that we lose sight of why? What happens to us when we focus so hard on opposing error that we forget why? Shouldn’t our love for the truth come back to our love for our Lord? The church in Ephesus erred because of that failed balance (Revelation 2:1-7). Shouldn’t our hatred of error and defense of the Gospel come back to our desire to save our souls and the souls of others (Acts 13:6-12)?
What happens to us when we become devoted to being soldiers for the truth and forget to have mercy? Can’t those whom believe or teach error be converted? I certainly hope so, for I once was on the other side of the truth and had to confess and forsake the errors of my past sinful ways (Psalms 32:5, Proverbs 28:13, Matthew 3:8, Acts 26:18-20, and I John 1:9). Other faithful men have likewise been in similar situations that I was in (i.e. the Apostle Paul; Galatians 1:10-24). Brethren, what is truth without mercy? Who amongst us could have obeyed the truth without God’s mercy to begin with (Proverbs 16:6, Micah 7:18, and Ephesians 2:1-10)? Aren’t the two tied together as foundations of our faith?
Mercy And Truth
The Psalmist penned these words: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalms 85:10). Mercy and truth are inseparable subject matters (Psalms 89:14 and Psalms 100:5). You cannot think properly about God without tying together mercy and truth. Consider this inspired statement: “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Psalms 86:15). Mercy comes through the truth. Again, notice another inspired statement: “Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (II John 1:3).
What happens if we decide to take the sum of God’s word and ignore the aspect of mercy? Are we not then amongst those whom remove part of God’s word? Is God pleased if we decide we want to defend the whole truth, with the exception of mercy (Deuteronomy 12:32, Proverbs 30:5-6, Matthew 28:18-20, Galatians 1:6-9, and Revelation 22:18-19)?
The truth is, without God’s mercy none of us could be saved (Titus 3:3-7). The truth is, God’s mercy is shown to us through grace (Hebrews 4:16). Here is the struggle for some faithful brethren of today. We know how many pervert the subject matter of the grace of God. Many teach that we are saved by grace alone. Such is surely false doctrine (Matthew 18:3, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 13:3; 5, Luke 14:25-33, John 8:23-24, Acts 2:14-47, Acts 3:19, Acts 8:12-39, Acts 16:13-15, Acts 16:25-34, Acts 18:8, Acts 19:1-9, Romans 1:16, Romans 8:24, Romans 10:9-17, I Corinthians 15:1-4, Galatians 3:27, Colossians 1:23, Colossians 2:12, Hebrews 11:1; 6, James 1:21-25, II Peter 3:10-14, etc.). Some teach that grace allows us to sin. Again, this too is a false doctrine (Romans 6:1-2, I Corinthians 15:34, II Corinthians 7:1, II Corinthians 13:11, Ephesians 1:4, and I Peter 1:13-16). We cannot allow ourselves to run from the truth about the mercy of God, through grace, because of the false doctrines that are taught on the subject.
Don’t Run From The Truth Because It Is Perverted By Others
We do not need to be afraid to discuss and proclaim the mercy of God through grace just because “liberals” or those practicing “denominationalism” talk too much about it. We are saved by grace (Acts 15:11, Romans 6:23, and Ephesians 1:6-7). We can trust in God’s mercy and rejoice in salvation (Psalms 13:5). If we fear the discussion of mercy and grace because it is perverted, we are neglecting to teach the whole counsel of God. Where does that put us (Acts 20:26-27)? Now, if we want to be staunch defenders of the whole truth; we are going to have to include defending mercy through grace just as much as the one church (Ephesians 4:1-6), etc.
We, the church of Christ, are the only authorized organization on earth to uphold the truth (I Timothy 3:15). Therefore, by all means, we cannot be complacent or downplay the necessity of being staunch defenders of the truth. However, we cannot forsake mercy and still claim to be defenders of the truth that we are transgressing by being unmerciful (Matthew 23:23). Part of our task as Christians is that we be merciful as God is (Luke 6:36). Mercy and truth are met together. Let us be sure not to separate that union God has put in place.
Volume 16 – Issue 32 - April 24th, 2016