The Proper Response to Sovereign, Gracious Mercy

For Lord’s Day, February 22, 2015

Dear Saints,

In Exodus 32-33, we have seen God’s frightening judgment upon horrible, idolatrous (and adulterous) sin.  And we have learned that our repentance is the only means of being restored to the LORD through the work of our Mediator, Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow, we will see God forgives and restores the Church simply because He is gracious and merciful!  May we respond as Moses does to the LORD’s sovereign, unmerited favor:  And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. (Exodus 34:8)

Such a reverent response to mercy is almost unheard of today in the contemporary culture of the American church.  But R.C. Sproul challenges us not to presume upon God’s grace in worship:

“Reverence. This may be the most difficult. We are among the most casual and disrespectful people who have inhabited the earth.  That disrespect carries over even into our worship and prayer life. We tend to approach God as if he were our peer. We talk to him as if we were talking to our next-door neighbor, with no sense of awe, adoration, or reverence before him.” (Truths We Confess, vol. 2, 321)

J.I. Packer warns us that such “ … inattention is an insult.” (Concise Theology, 98).

Beloved of the Lord, may we respond to God’s sovereign, gracious mercy tomorrow like Moses—with reverence and godly fear, just as we are told in Hebrews 12:28 to respond to the LORD’s more manifest and magnificent mercy to us in Jesus Christ.

But, also, if we really appreciate what we have been given instead of what we deserve (Psalm 103:8-12), may we not be able to help ourselves but enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise, to be thankful unto Him and to bless His name (Psalm 100:4). For we already have more than we deserve (death, Romans 6:23), and thus we have plenty to be happy about. Dr. Sproul also shares:

“Dr. [John] Gerstner once gave a lecture on the joy of the Christian. He pointed out that joy should be the chief characteristic of every Christian … If God never bestowed another blessing upon me for the rest of my days, I would still have every reason to be joyful for the blessings he has already poured out upon me.” (Truths We Confess, vol. 2, 239, 40).

With all this in view, may we take to heart the call of Sinclair Ferguson’s closing application chapter of his book, A Heart for God, that we studied together this Wednesday Night: “Let Us Worship God!”

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant