The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving. Daniel 9:9 NIV
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36
I was standing in the stairs of Loehe Hall at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Our oldest son was 18 months old at the time, and I was holding him as I stood there. My friend looked at me and suddenly shouted, “Clone!” We’ve been told that he looks very much like me. I think that’s easier for others than it is for me to see. But I believe it’s true. I’ve been told many times I look very much like my dad as well.
God would have us look like him in our character and reflect his grace and truth to others in all our interactions. If we are his children we should reflect that fact in some manner.
But what about the fact that we are his adopted children? Paul speaks of this:
In love 5 [God] predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. – Ephesians 1:4b-6
This verse, I believe is the key to the meaning of the universe. Some day I hope to write about that in such a manner that I more fully convey what I believe. I believe it better than I seem to be able to explain it. Beyond that, however, it is clear that we are God’s adopted children. We have standing before God as one of his children.
We have an adopted grandson. His outward appearance is different from his brothers and sisters. But his mannerisms, values, love for his mom and dad, brothers and sisters and his grandparents is very like that of his family. It’s the air that they breath. It’s part of who they are.
These verses may be used to indict us of failing to be merciful. They may be used to point out the difference between God and us. How many of us are truly merciful? But let these verses serve to call us to reflect God’s character of mercy in our interactions with others. Whether it’s your server at dinner this Valentine Day, the barista who hands you your morning half-caf, French press, venti, extra whip, checkout person at the grocery store, the person who took your parking place, or your neighbor’s son who had a party until 2 a.m. while his parents were gone last weekend, reflecting God’s mercy can be a challenge. But that is precisely our calling. He has more grace (cf. James 4:6).
God’s election of us, his adoption of us as his sons and daughters, is an act of mercy and grace. That will be the focus of our eternal praise: God’s glorious grace. Whenever we give grace and mercy to others we are reflecting that for which God most wants to be praised.