Made for Mercy – Jude 17-25 – Pastor Brian
How does God’s mercy transform sinners into saints?
Growing up I used to hear, “Lord have mercy!” as a call for help during troubled times. Or when wrestling and rough-housing with friends the loser would call out, “Mercy! mercy!” when held in a position of pain that was inescapable. If you watch MMA it’s like the tap out. It’s giving up. This morning’s teaching is not about asking for help or giving up, but about the mercy from God that brings people to Jesus. It’s a mercy that transforms, it’s God’s mercy that transforms sinners into saints.
Jude is writing to the beloved who are followers of Jesus to contend or fight for the faith. (v.3) False teachers are challenging faith by perverting grace. 2 Peter is very similar to Jude. Many biblical scholars believe Peter referenced Jude’s letter in warning Christ followers about those who were teaching wrong ideas about the Gospel of Jesus. They did it by changing God’s grace for their benefit like the those of Romans 6:1 who were thinking, “Shall we sin more that grace may abound?” In other words, if I am forgiven anyways why not do as I please?
Saints are the beloved who are forgiven sinners “Made for Mercy” to draw people to Jesus. How does this happen? How does mercy bring us to Jesus? In what circumstances does mercy introduce people to Jesus? How does God’s mercy transform sinners into saints? God’s mercy is our strength when there is injustice, unprecedented events, and uncertainties that cause people to behave badly. So, how does God’s mercy transform sinners into saints?
God saves sinners by transforming them into saints by His mercy. 1) God’s mercy RESCUES sinners. (vv.17-21) We are experiencing fear and anxiety because of the uncertainty of what’s next. There is confusion among our leadership on many levels. Who are we to believe? What are we to do? God’s mercy brings hope and peace to rescue sinners in the midst mayhem.
During the time of Jude, Rome’s leader was Nero. Though most likely it was Nero who caused a fire that devastated a good portion of Rome, for his benefit, he blamed followers of Christ for the fire, arresting, killing and causing the people of Rome to hate Christians. Jude writes to remind followers of Christ that though there is temptation to feel abandoned by God His people are called to holy faith in Jesus and pray in the power of Holy Spirit. However, instead of valuing the grace of God that saves us, false teachers perverted grace using partial truths for their own gain to rationalize and justify grace into sensuality. (v.4)
Though we are focusing on God’s mercy, it’s important to understand His grace because they are somewhat related. What is the difference between God’s grace and mercy? As a believer, we must be diligent to see God’s grace for what it is: Ephesians 2:8, 9, “For by grace you have been saved by faith. And it is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works (not a result of what you do or don’t do), so that no one may boast.” From a book I’m reading I found a good explanation of mercy. Mercy is the servant to grace’s glory. Mercy reveals grace. We do absolutely nothing to “earn” grace. Mercy is withholding the punishment we deserve for our sinful ways. Mercy is the servant of grace in its compassion, love, and forgiveness God has shown us instead of the judgment we deserve by the cross of Jesus.
Instructions about mercy in Jude’s letter are to keep ourselves in the love of God by continually waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to mercy. (v.21)
Have you recently gone to Costco, Home Depot or any other place where customers have to wait in line before getting to the entry door? While waiting, anticipation to enter grows while we look forward to getting in. Jesus is the Door to heaven. In this present day we are waiting, anticipating for the mercy of our Lord Jesus who is the Door of entry into our eternal home.
We are saved by God’s merciful love and forgiveness that nailed His Son Jesus to the cross to die and defeat sin through His resurrection three days later. God’s mercy rescues sinners and transforms them into saints through Jesus who makes us merciful.
2) God’s mercy CREATES the merciful. (vv.22-25) We are to have mercy on those who doubt. (v.22). If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior you are made for mercy to have mercy on those who doubt. God’s people are to love on those who doubt the existence of Jesus with compassion and patience; never giving up and looking for times to share about the love of God in Jesus.
The false teaching that says you are only as valuable as what you accomplish drives people to end their lives when they are not productive at home, work, or even at play. This is tragic and not true. In the eyes of God who created us, you are so precious and loved that He sent His Son, Jesus to die for us. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16. God’s people are made for mercy for those who doubt Jesus. These uncertain times have given opportunities to introduce the hope of Jesus to those who have lost relationships, jobs, finances and more.
Besides waiting upon mercy and having mercy on those who doubt, we are to show mercy to those whose garments are stained by flesh. We are made for mercy even for those who give false hope like those who promote and sell COVID-19 healing remedies for their own gain. These and liars like them are those whose garments are stained by the flesh guided by their sinful desires for status, power, and greed and lead people astray. Even for these, God’s people are made for mercy. Being made for mercy during these horrible times of chaos, disorder, and disrespect seems an impossible task. But we are not left alone in God’s call for His people to be merciful regardless of how challenging that might be. God’s people are made for mercy for such a time as this.
Because we are in a sin-filled world there will always be a culture of people who are the focus of blame when things are going wrong like the what happened to the Christians in Rome. Jesus the originator, the Master of mercy has made His people for mercy for such a time like this. When there is racism, fear, chaos, uncertainty, and confusion, peace and compassion brought by those made for mercy to bring sinners and saints to Jesus. God’s people are made for mercy. Despite the obstacles we will face showing mercy, in the end, we can be assured that mercy wins. (vv.24-25) God is powerful enough, glorious enough, and mighty enough in His mercy, to transform the souls of sinners into saints for those who acknowledge Jesus as the resurrected Son of God.
For sure, there are times when anger is justified, like what happened to George Floyd this past week. The Floyd family and everyone who has suffered in the same way are right to be outraged. Yet even those, who deserve punishment and should be held accountable for their wrong actions, for the beloved who are Made for Mercy, are called to make a difference through mercy.
Songs of Praise: Nothing But the Blood, Christ Our Hope in Life and Death, His Mercy is More, Doxology