Mercy, God’s Decision

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. [Galatians 3:28-4:7 ESV]

Before Adam fell, rebelling against God, He determined to show mercy to us. He created Man, giving him His image, knowing Man would rebel, knowing how desperately wicked Man would become, how much it would cost to redeem Man from the slavery of sin. He knew all of the agony each would suffer at the hands of others, of His Son’s agony on the cross. He sees all those who are not redeemed.

God’s mercy continued as He sent His Son, who voluntarily came setting aside His glory and position in eternity, taking upon Himself the likeness of man from conception to death. He said He would do this (from eternity past) right after Man fell, after the rebellion which separated everyone from God. He determined to do this before He created anything. Man’s fall separated us from Him yet He did not separate Himself from us. Instead, He chose a path, a genealogical trail through history, even before history, to show us His promise fulfilled.

He chose Abraham, not because Abraham was sinless or special, but because Jesus would come from his genealogical line. He chose a nation out of all the nations. A rebellious and stiff-necked people who showed themselves as sinful as the nations around them. He gave them the Law and a Land, He set them apart, not because of anything they were but because of what He decided to do.

He chose Saul as King knowing he would fail then chose David, a young shepherd. Jesus would come through the line of David, a sinful man whose divided heart was drawn by and followed God. David, who murdered and committed adultery and coveted and stole. Who repented and gave himself to God over and over.

Follow the genealogy of Jesus and you will see God deciding the path through which His Son would come. We can say with assurance God chose the people of Israel as the lineage through which His Son would come. He gave them the Law, meant to teach them they could not obey the Law but needed grace. He gave them a land which He took from them, expelling them from the land like He expelled Adam and Eve from the garden, for sin and rebellion. Even today Israel’s hold on the land is tenuous. All we can say with certainty about God choosing Israel is that His Son was born a Jew. It was for Him, not the people of Israel, God determined to use the Jewish people.

God’s chosen are those who belong to Christ, the Chosen One, not those who are naturally born into a land or race. God’s mercy came to the people of Israel because He was preparing a time for His Son to enter the world and redeem those who are His. Everything else about the chosen people is ancillary. “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God” [Romans 2:28-29 ESV].

God’s mercy has come in a real way. For those short years of His time on earth people could touch God’s mercy. They could listen to Him and speak to Him. They ate with Him and were fed and healed by Him. God showed Himself and His mercy in the very person of His beloved Son, Jesus. And we, the chosen of God, took His mercy and murdered Him. God’s mercy cannot be killed. It can be rejected. Nothing we do forces God to change.

That’s good for us.

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