The Wideness of God’s MercyDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.
This is one of those marvelous verses that sums up weighty theological truths in very few words. In the context of Romans, Paul is underscoring a point made before. “God has imprisoned everyone [both Jew and Gentile] in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone [both Jew and Gentile].” Though we’re not exactly sure how the story of God’s interaction with people will end, we do know that God’s ultimate intention is to be merciful.
Some have drawn from this verse the conclusion that, in the end, all people will experience God’s salvation. Others contend that some humans will still resist God’s merciful salvation, which God will not impose on anyone. From this verse alone, we cannot compose a complete theology of salvation.
Nevertheless, we must not overlook or minimize the breadth of God’s mercy. Too often we Christians, both in our theology and in our actions, have narrowed God’s mercy by our own limitations. As representatives of God, we are to be merciful to all people. In this way, we honor our Lord and demonstrate to the world the character of the Gospel.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you experienced God’s mercy? Are you a merciful person? Why or why not? When have you last shown mercy to someone?
PRAYER: O Lord, today I want to pray in the wonderful words of Frederick Faber, who celebrated your mercy so wonderfully over a century ago:
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
Are more felt than up in Heaven;
There is no place where earth’s failings
Have such kindly judgment given.
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.
There is grace enough for thousands
Of new worlds as great as this;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
Note: The first six verses (of twelve!) from Frederick W. Faber’s marvelous hymn, “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy,” written in 1854.