The divine scheme of Redemption centers upon our need for mercy and grace. By the term mercy we refer to compassion or forbearance shown to the offender. By the term grace we refer to unmerited or undeserved favor.
When Peter, the apostle of Christ, penned the words of our text, it is without a doubt that he both realized and was reminded of his need for the mercy and the grace of God in his personal life. When we consider the record of Peter’s denial of Christ and our Lord’s reaction to such, we are reminded of the mercy and grace of God (John 13:36-38; 18:25-27; Luke 22:61-62).
One of the aspects of the realization and reality of one’s sin is the effects that sinful behavior has upon one’s thought process. The realization of one’s personal sin brings upon one the aspect of personal guilt and worthlessness. In consideration of Peter’s denial of Christ we rightly conclude that he genuinely repented of such sin. We conclude such because of the results produced within his life. In consideration of the fact that godly sorrow precedes repentance (2 Cor. 7:10), such produces a deep contrition of thought and a sense of worthlessness in the estimate of one’s life. When one is impressed with the fact that he has sinned against God and stands justly condemned in a lost condition there is a sense of complete hopelessness that overwhelms him. We note in the life Peter that he gave up. As a matter of fact, he decided to return to his former work of fishing. No doubt Peter sincerely thought that his sin against the Lord had disqualified him for further service in the cause of Christ.
One of the greatest displays of the mercy and grace of God is demonstrated in the way that Christ responded to Peter’s repentance (John 21:1-25). Another crucial passage in the study of the mercy and grace of God is recorded in Luke 22:31-34. The time element under consideration is prior to the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. In this text we read of the fact that Christ not only demonstrated His Deity by His omniscience concerning Peter’s denial of Him, He demonstrated his mercy, grace, and willingness to forgive by indicating that Peter would return to a condition of faithfulness and service unto Him. Christ further indicated Peter’s worth to the cause by stating “…when thou are converted strengthen thy brethren.”
On the imprint of every page of the word of God we note the eternal message of God’s divine mercy and grace (Ezek. 18:23,32; Hosea 11:8-9; John 1:17; 3:16-17; Rom. 5:6-8; 1 Tim. 1:12-15). It is not God’s desire that any should be lost in eternity, but rather that all come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). The entire aspect of God’s scheme of Redemption finds its foundation upon the reality of God’s divine mercy and grace.
God is Sovereign in Delegating His Mercy and Grace
By this phrase we mean that such is a recognition on our part that whatever He wills is right. God alone determines the appropriate course of action. This does not mean that He is arbitrary. This means because, of His perfect attributes and nature, He alone is qualified to determine the essence and limits of His mercy and grace (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Pet. 4:18; Jas. 2:14-26). We do not earn God’s Salvation. It is by His divine mercy and grace when our faith acts in obedience to His divine scheme of Redemption (Heb. 5:8-9).
God’s Mercy and Grace do not Remove the Consequences of Sin
One of the most touching stories found within the Scriptures deals with the life of David, King of Israel. David was approximately 50 years of age at this time. He had made vows before God (Psa. 101). He had insisted upon righteousness in his nation. Israel, as a nation, had been taught to love, honor , respect, and obey God David, their King was their example. He was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14).
In spite of his love for God, he fell into temptation and yielded to sin. David was guilty of both adultery and murder (2 Sam. 11-12). The prophet Nathan was sent by God to inform David of his sin and demonstrate that he was worthy of death (2 Sam. 12:5). Even though David did sincerely repent of his sin, confess it to God, and plead for mercy and forgiveness, and even though he was forgiven because he turned to God (Psalm 51), he still faced terrible consequences from his sin. David paid with 20 years of heart break, strife, and the loss of a child that meant everything to him.
God’s Mercy and Grace are Costly
In the scriptures we note the vicarious suffering of Christ. As the second member of the Godhead He took on the essence of humanity while maintaining His Deity and became our substitute on the cross in suffering for our sins, paying our sin debt and tasting death for all of us (Isa. 53:1-6, 12; Heb. 2:1-9; 2 Cor. 5:21). Salvation is not inexpensive. It cost Christ His blood to purchase our Salvation and to build the church, which composes the totality of those who are saved (Matt. 16:16-18; Acts 2:38; 20:28; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23).
God’s Mercy and Grace are Conditional
Because Christ purchased Salvation for us, He has the right to state its conditions (Heb. 5:8-9). We must believe the gospel (John 8:24), repent of our sins (Acts 17:30), confess the Deity of Christ (Rom. 10:10; Acts 8:37), and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:1-7; 1 Cor. 12:13). The Christian must remain faithful to Christ (1 John 1:6-7; Rev. 2:10). The unfaithful, fallen away, covenant child of God must return to Christ (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:6-10).
Only through acceptance and obedience to God’s scheme of Redemption will one be a beneficiary of the mercy and grace of God.