In Your Judgment Remember Mercy

mercyLove has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (1Jn 4:17-21)

O LORD, I have heard your speech and was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy. (Hab 3:2 NKJ)

The parable of the Good Samaritan is a revelation of God in a word that has great importance through all the Scriptures from beginning to the end. It is a revelation of what the prophet Hosea says, speaking for the invisible God, “I will have mercy and not sacrifices.” What is this mercy which we find spoken everywhere in the Scriptures, and especially in the Psalms? The Vulgate[i] rings with misericordia (mercy in Latin) as though with a deep church bell. Mercy is the “burden” or the “bourdon,” it is the brass bell and under-song of the whole Bible. But the Hebrew word— chesed— which we render as mercy, misericordia, says more still than mercy. Chesed (mercy) is also fidelity; it is also strength. It is the faithful, the indefectible mercy of God. It is ultimate and unfailing because it is the power that binds one person to another, in a covenant of wills. It is the power that binds us to God because He has promised us mercy and will never fail in His promise. For He cannot fail. It is the power and the mercy which are most characteristic of Him, which come nearer to the mystery into which we enter when all concepts darken and evade us. –Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration,

Modern evangelical Christianity seems overly concerned about the judgment,  Hell, and eternal punishment. There are several important factors that we need to remember. First, God is far more interested in love and mercy. Second, any judgment that does take place is the prerogative of God alone and has nothing to do with us. Finally, we are called to be lovers, especially to those within the household of faith.

 

[i] The Vulgate (/ˈvʌlɡeɪt, -ɡɪt/) is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible that became the Catholic Church’s officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible during the 16th century.

The translation was largely the work of St Jerome, who in 382 had been commissioned by Pope Damasus I to revise the Vetus Latina (“Old Latin”) Gospels then in use by the Roman Church. Jerome, on his own initiative, extended this work of revision and translation to include most of the Books of the Bible, and once published, the new version was widely adopted and eventually eclipsed the Vetus Latina; so that by the 13th century, it took over from the former version the appellation of “versio vulgata” [1] (the “version commonly used”) or vulgata for short, and in Greek as βουλγάτα (“Voulgata”).

The Catholic Church affirmed the Vulgate as its official Latin Bible at the Council of Trent (1545–63), though there was no authoritative edition at that time.[2] The Clementine edition of the Vulgate of 1592 became the standard Bible text of the Roman Rite of the Roman Catholic Church and remained so until 1979 when the Nova Vulgata was promulgated.

Published by Terry Threadwell

Dr. Terry Threadwell has thirty five years ministry experience. Author, educator and Director of the Institute of Progressive Pentecostal Studies.

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