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Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment.

James 2    Jeremiah 23-24    Psalm 130

“He will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness'” (Jeremiah 23:6). Today’s readings call us to remember that we cannot — will not — save ourselves. The psalmist can’t and Israel can’t (Psalm 130); the exiles won’t (Jeremiah 24:6); and neither will King Zedekiah and the indifferent who remain in the land (24:8). What’s more . . . Ultimately and truthfully, no one can work hard enough or be right enough to stand before God and redeem their own life, for “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” (James 2:10). It is for this reason that we need the One who is called “The Lord is our righteousness.”

“For with the Lord there is steadfast love” (Psalm 130:7). And “forgiveness” (v.4). Along with “great power to redeem” (v.7) and give “a new heart” with the capacity to know and love God (Jeremiah 24:7). So, what we cannot do on our own, the Lord does. In steadfast love. “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13), thanks be to God! And for us, what is left is to cry to the Lord hoping, with the psalmist, “in his word” (Psalm 130:5) And, trusting in God’s promise of mercy, to:

“So speak and act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:12). In response to God’s mercy and love, we are called to love people as we have been loved and to extend the mercy we have received. To do otherwise is to place ourselves under judgment once again (v.13). So. Faith in Christ, our righteousness, must issue forth in works of mercy and love. Otherwise there is no faith (James 2:26). And no mercy (2:13). May we trust God’s steadfast love in Christ Jesus. And may we complete that trust by works of mercy and love. Amen.

“If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.”
— Psalm 130:3,4

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