Love is Patient:
"But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life." (1 Timothy 1:16)
Paul writes here that he was "shown mercy" so that Jesus might display His incredible patience to all believers. We have been discussing mercy a whole lot lately, so I think that today is a wonderful day to dive right into what this means in the original language.
The phrase "shown mercy" comes from the Greek word ελεέω (eleeō). This verb means to show mercy or to be merciful, and it's derived from the Greek word έλεος (eleos). This word έλεος is the noun for mercy or compassion. Watch closely, you don't want to miss this, because there is so much meaning to these two little words.
Let's begin with έλεος (noun). This word is often used for an action that is carried out by pure mercy towards others who are suffering, where one endeavours to relieve the afflictions of the people. Did you catch that? What can we conclude? Well, let's look at another meaning for this word.
This word έλεος is used of feats accomplished through divine intervention. Namely, Salvation, which was the Lord's covenant fulfilled by Christ Jesus. This word depicts the mercy and compassion God has always felt for sinners, and the way He deeply desires our redemption and freedom. God's heart is moved by our misery and suffering in the fallen state of sin.
God's unfailing love and mercy towards us is what results in all He has done and still does to mollify the aggravation and agony the world brings. God takes us up from our fallen fleshly faultiness, and brings us into the state of sanctification through the Salvation He has given us in our Saviour Jesus.
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-6)
Now, let's move on to ελεέω (verb). This word means to be merciful, to relieve suffering, allay distress, and to mitigate misery. This word is also used to convey the action of completely diminishing debts, which is not surprising considering the ultimate act of ελεέω was Christ's sacrificial death which paid the debt we could never pay.
"For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all." (Romans 11:32)
All afflictions are simply invitations for the unending mercy of our Lord to redeem, rescue, and reverse it all. This is what God's mercy does. God's mercy has the mighty power to demolish the detrimental effects of sinfulness. Even though we've sinned greatly in the past and we'll continue to slip up and sin again in the future, God's mercies are anew each and every morning!
"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)
So what does all this mercy have to do with patience? Oh my dear friend, truly, mercy and patience go hand in hand. One cannot be patient without showing mercy and grace. On the other hand, one is not considered to be very compassionate if he is not patient with another.
But God, in His mighty, moving mercy, has poured out His perfect patience on us. His patience has brought us mercy and salvation.
"Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him." (2 Peter 3:15)
Because of God's immense patience, matchless mercy is born. This saving compassion has been poured out on us by the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus took all the agonising pain brought about by the consequences of OUR sins, because of the grand grace and mercy God has for us.
Jesus, innocent and spotless, bore ALL of the adverse effects that we deserved. God's indescribable patience with us has brought us into the place of His marvellous mercy. We are the recipients of this divine intervention. The debt is forever paid, the condemnation is cast off, and the freedom has been fulfilled!
Remember that God is STILL faithful and just today. He hasn't changed His mind about His patience or mercy. He remains fully faithful, perfectly patient, and magnificently merciful every single day and forever more.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8)
"The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth" (Exodus 34:6)
Our God abounds in mercy, long-suffering (another meaning of μακροθυμία), and goodness. So, we can fully and one-hundred percent trust in His faithfulness to deliver, redeem, and show compassion. We need not fear, because our patient God of mercy is ALWAYS near. Go in confident peace today my beloved friends.
-The Introverted Evangelist