Mercy on Whom He Wills

It is often the case that those who love the sovereignty of God in grace develop a strange kind of arrogance in believing this truth. I say strange because it is precisely the opposite reaction that ought to arise in our hearts. But instead of responding with a humble gaze upward at the loving sovereignty of God, our depraved hearts often distort the truth so that we respond with a condescending gaze on those who have not yet attained to our supposed level of spiritual understanding.

But the Sovereign of grace is determined to receive all glory from his merciful, salvific plan. And so he recalls the story of Lot, that “righteous man” (2 Peter 2.7) who “moved his tent as far as Sodom” (Genesis 13.12) and willingly offered his own daughters to a mob of sex-crazed men to “do to them as they [should] please” (19.8). Yet the Lord sent two angels who literally needed to seize him, his wife, and his daughters by the hand to save them from destruction (19.16).

One might conclude erroneously that the reason the Lord intervened savingly on behalf of Lot and his family may be traced back to Abraham’s intercession for them (18.22-33). No doubt there is some truth to that, but Abraham’s prayer is a secondary cause at best. Moses himself tells us the reason for God’s forceful intervention. It was because “the LORD [was] being merciful to him” (19.16).

Here is sovereign mercy at work. When God asserts that “[he] will show mercy on whom [he] will show mercy (Exodus 33.19), he claims the right to intervene in whatever way is necessary in order for his glory to be displayed. In Lot’s case, it even meant being physically seized so that the mercy of God might be demonstrated.

And this is great cause for us to hope today. God’s promise to show you mercy means that your failings and foibles–even your finiteness and fallenness–cannot hinder his work of sovereign grace in your behalf. He will show mercy on whomever he chooses to show mercy. And he will do whatever it takes to demonstrate that mercy to you today.

So there is no cause for arrogance for those of us who love the sovereignty of God in grace. And we will no longer struggle with condescending thoughts of those who do not see the beauty of this truth as long as we see ourselves every day as no different from Lot. We must love sovereign grace, not because it makes us superior to other believers, but because it is our only hope.

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One Response to Mercy on Whom He Wills

  1. JME says:

    Great post. I was just thinking back this morning, upon the many times that my life could’ve taken a certain path, but God had mercy on me, and didn’t allow it. What a great God He is to keep us from the very thing we deserve.Thanks for the reminder. I still need to give you a call sometime so we catch up without typing :)In Christ,Jon

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