There is a difference between Grace, mercy and enabling. Grace is unmerited favor, undeserved blessing, and unwarranted restoration in spite of the crimes one may commit against God. It is His favor over us, especially concerning that beautifully horrific device of torture and death known as the cross.
Mercy is forgiveness in spite of a just cause to prosecute and pursue a wrong. It is when we show compassion and kindness to someone who we have every right to judge and condemn. It is the act of Mercy that Jesus showed when He endured shame, mocking, beating, and deriding before and during his time on the cross. It is what He still shows us when we fall and fail, and return to him in repentance (To turn from our sin, and turn back to Him).
Enabling is allowing someone to stay in their sin, all for the name of “keeping the peace.” The fact is, Christians, we are called to tell the truth. Even the truth spoken in love, which is what we are supposed to speak, is harsh. It stings us to our very core, because it exposes those things which we desire to keep hidden and locked away.
Above grace and mercy is Obedience. (Some good words on Obedience can be found here). To obey is the highest calling a Christian can do. After his blunder in not defeating the Ammonites the way in which God, through Samuel told Saul, Samuel conveyed God’s message of anger to Saul
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.”
Obedience to God is what set Jesus apart from everyone. In all things, even to the point of Death and Torment on the cross, Jesus obeyed His father. In John 14, Jesus is clear about this:
John 14:12-17English Standard Version (ESV)
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[a] anything in my name, I will do it.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[b] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[c] in you.
Christians, we can’t afford to get this wrong. We need to learn to love someone in spite of their sin, and not because of it. Jesus did spend his time with the prostitutes, tax collectors, and array of other sinners, but He did not enable them in their sin. His message was the same as that of the woman caught in adultery “Go and sin no more.” There’s a reason Zacceus the Tax Collector reformed, and Levi, and the thief on the cross. Jesus showed them the best way, and drew them out of their sin.
Take a look at this passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, and let that be the judge of this post:
1 Corinthians 6
English Standard Version
Lawsuits Against Believers
1When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!a
9Or do you not know that the unrighteousb will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,c 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Flee Sexual Immorality
12“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16Or do you not know that he who is joinedd to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sine a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
a 8 Or brothers and sisters
b 9 Or wrongdoers
c 9 The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts
d 16 Or who holds fast (compare Genesis 2:24 and Deuteronomy 10:20); also verse 17
e 18 Or Every sin