If God died, our lives would be drastically different. A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. “But I don’t ask for justice,” the mother explained. “I plead for mercy.”

“But your son does not deserve mercy,” Napoleon replied.

“Sir, it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.”

“Well, then, I will have mercy.” The emperor spared the woman’s son.

If God died, there would be no such thing as mercy. Every offense would be handled with justice. Every debt would have to be paid, with interest. Everyone would spend eternity in Hell. We would have no meaningful relationships because we wouldn’t give people a second chance after the first time they failed us. There would be no grace when we made mistakes. There would be no forgiveness. We would be consumed by guilt over our wrongdoing and filled with anger and resentment at the wrongs others committed against us. The world would be a very cruel, miserable place in which to live.

But God is alive. He forgives us when we sin. Instead of giving us what we deserve, He gives us what we need — day after day, time and again. He is merciful. Because God is merciful, we don’t have to live with regret over our past sins and shortcomings. We can be certain of His mercy, even when we suffer from the consequences of our sins. Then we can show His mercy to others.

The world is living as if God has died. It’s up to Christians like you and me to show them by our quiet confidence that He is alive and well.

 

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder

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