God’s Mercy, Grace and Sovereignty 4
In our last articles on the grace, mercy and sovereignty of God we saw that God shows mercy to all His works by His sovereignty even when men do not know Him by covenant, like Cornelius and Abimelech. So it is the honesty of their hearts that God responds to by His mercy.
Now, God shows mercy even to the wicked and those that are dishonest in their hearts, hoping that His mercy will preserve them and so possibly change their attitudes. When this does not happen then God, after much longsuffering and patience of showing mercy, finally brings judgment and punishment, like He did to Pharaoh.
So, the more honest your heart is and the more mercy you show to others the more mercy God will show to you. This is for men who are not in covenant with God, which in this dispensation means men that are not yet born-again, like Cornelius and Abimelech.
So, ordinarily God’s mercy through His sovereignty is given in response to man’s faith, but rather to the degree of the honesty of his heart: shown outwardly by his acts of mercy to others.
However, for those of us that are born-again in Christ Jesus: in covenant with God, in addition to the mercy through God’s sovereignty that is available to all men through honest shown in acts of mercy to others, we can get more of God’s mercy through His sovereignty by faith in the time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
How do we do this and how much of the mercy, through the sovereignty, of God can we get?
During time of temptation and pressure when we are unable (not unwilling) to pray as we ought, we can ask God in our hearts for a release of His mercy through His sovereignty to cover for us.
Physical financial credit cards are given only to those who have some ability to pay back the credit extended, albeit over time. Also the credit limit given is dependent on the financial history and assets of the person in question.
In a sense tapping into God’s sovereignty is like using a spiritual credit card: you get the answer immediately by virtue of God’s sovereignty: His awesome power and wisdom. Then it is paid for later by the regular, fervent and effectual prayer in the spirit of the corporate New Testament church which is walking in divine love of which you must be a faithful member. To be a faithful member you need to regularly contribute your quota to the corporate intercession of the body by habitual daily (See our books “Daily Guide keeping yourself in the love of God” and “A Practical Guide to Prayer” for details) prayer in the spirit.
When you use a natural credit card your credit limit is determined by your financial assets and history.
Spiritually, you can build a faithful prayer history and have solid prayer assets before the throne of God.
Revelation 5:8 (KJV): And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
Revelation 8:3 (KJV): And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
With this prayer record laid up before God’s throne God can, as it were, issue you a spiritual credit card by which you can tap into God’s sovereignty when facing an emergency or situation in which you need an immediate answer to prayer that your normal faith and spiritual capacity would take time to produce.
The better: the more consistent, effectual and fervent your prayer history the greater spiritual credit you can tap into (Lu. 19. 13-26).
For instance, on days you are not able to pray a lot in the spirit, because of pressure of time or circumstances you can ask God for mercy to cover you for that day. God in His sovereignty will do that for you, however, you cannot do that as a habit to indulge your spiritual laziness and a lack of discipline or the mercy of God will be gradually withdrawn over time. The mercy of God is given to encourage and enable you to be faithful in your diligence and not to subsidize your laziness.
In fact, the mercy shown that day is to enable you have more time and better circumstances to pray better the next day or in the near future: do not waste the opportunity or receive the mercy of God in vain. Also on days you are not able to do all the praying you should do, do as much as you can and trust God’s mercy to cover your omissions, determining to improve your diligence gradually, even if slowly. If you are sincere and not just being deliberately lazy or negligent, you will find God’s mercy, through His sovereignty will cover for you giving you time: which usually is months and years to gradually improve. The vital thing here is the honesty of your heart and willingness to continue do the will of God improving gradually as you go along. During this time some afflictions will be allowed to come your way, to teach you (Ps.119. 67, 71, Heb. 5.8) the vital necessity of doing all God reveals diligently, however these afflictions will be cushioned by the mercy of God so they will not destroy you, but rather cause you to seek God even more diligently and also preserve you so that you can be faithful unto the end.
For those who do not improve enough, or even retrogress after a long time: usually several years, sometimes over 20 years like it was for Samson (Jug.16.30, 31), God will in His mercy, allow them to die prematurely so that they can receive a better resurrection and so not go to hell or lose all of their eternal reward (Is. 57.1, Heb.11.35, 1 Cor. 5.5).
Now, in the natural it is possible to have a “gold” credit card that has no limits because of a faithful financial history and solid assets like landed property, large cash deposits in the bank, stocks, shares and bonds.
So, likewise spiritually you can build a prayer history so you have a spiritual “gold” credit card that has no limits, like the Lord Jesus Christ:
The Lord Jesus had a “gold” or limitless spiritual credit card as God gave Him the spirit without measure.
John 3:34 NIV: For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.
So the power of God released through prayer is quantifiable or measurable:
Elisha had a double portion or measure of the anointing on Elijah:
2 Kings 2:9 NKJV:And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
Now, even when you are able to pray properly: consistently and diligently, the mercy of God is released to enable you to be faithful when you are weak because of the infirmities of your flesh (1 Cor. 7.25, Heb. 4. 15-16).
The measure of the mercy of God given to you increases as you increase in the fear of God that is shown by the degree of the honesty of your heart. So do not play games with God, because He cannot be deceived (Gal. 6.7). but make sure you do your best and improve gradually, even if slowly.
Psalms 103:11 NKJV: For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
This understanding of how to tap into God’s mercy, by His sovereignty is vital as you try to be diligent to make your calling and election sure,so that you will not wind up in frustration or bondage, because of the weaknesses of the flesh and pressures of circumstances.