Written by Scott Leong

6/28/2017

Moved By Great Compassion, God Accomplished Our Salvation


Imagine you’re comfortably reclined on a padded beach chair in the Hawaiian shade. A gentle breeze tickles your toes as you sip a piña colada (virgin, of course) and watch the emerald sea curl and melt into the sand. All is serene.

Then, just as you are about to top off the experience with a contented sigh, a mosquito buzzes by your ear. It lands nonchalantly on your forearm and sinks its serrated proboscis (the pointy part) into your juicy flesh. It drinks its fill, then decides to bathe itself in your piña colada.

Assuming you haven’t already swatted the mosquito away in revulsion, what are the chances you’d feel affection for it? And if a friend offered to squish the miserable creature for you, what are the chances you’d stay his hand?

Most of us wouldn’t feel a single twinge of compassion if that mosquito were to be squished. In fact, it’s difficult to even consider using the term “compassion” for this situation. How could anyone feel concern toward such a loathsome parasite?

I’m sure you’ve already guessed where I’m going with this. Because of our sinfulness, we are like that mosquito. Actually, we’re more than just a nuisance. Our sinfulness is an abhorrent offense against a perfect God. Any act of idolatry—treasuring anything instead of Him—is worthy of a death sentence (Romans 6:23). How can idolators like us have any hope that His hand of judgment will be stayed?

Thanks be to God that, far beyond any human reasoning, He is compassionate toward us. The Old Testament book of Micah is about these very themes of judgment and forgiveness. God brings an “indictment against his people” (Micah 6:2), and because of their sin, Israel’s punishment is to be made a desolation (Micah 6:16). But even in the wake of these terrible words, there is hope! At the end of the book, the prophet Micah proclaims:

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:18-19

In the shadow of judgment, Micah finds hope in the compassion of God. When we are discouraged by the depths of our sinfulness, we, too, can take comfort in His compassion. Here are a couple of thoughts from this passage that I pray will build your hope in God today.

First, God’s compassion always moves Him to act for our good. When our hearts are stirred, how often does it result in actual change? I’ve found that when compassion is kindled within me, it often burns itself out before I achieve anything of value. But God always accomplishes what He sets out to do. In this passage, Micah writes that God “will tread our iniquities underfoot” and “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (v. 19). These two metaphors emphasize how completely we are forgiven and how far our sins are removed from us.

Having lived 700 years before Jesus was born, Micah did not know what our forgiveness would require. But God knew the exact cost before the foundation of the world: the full cup of His wrath upon the spotless Lamb. And still Christ chose to drink that cup down to the very last drop for us. Moved by great compassion, God accomplished our salvation and secured it forever.

Second, God’s compassion is not dependent upon its object. It’s not the loveliness or attractiveness of humans that evokes His compassion. Instead, the reason God does not retain his anger forever is because “he delights in steadfast love” (v. 18). When God sets His love on a person, it is a steadfast love that began long before that person’s birth. Paul gives Jacob as an example, explaining that God loved the younger twin before he “had done [anything] either good or bad” (Romans 9:11).

If you have trusted in the saving work of Jesus Christ, know that it is because God first had compassion on you. Your salvation doesn’t depend “on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:14). Grace is rooted in His steadfast, covenant, everlasting love for you.

In my own life, I can recognize moments where God’s compassion toward me was especially evident. The one that stands out most is how He called me to Himself. Even though I grew up in the church and even prayed “the sinner’s prayer” multiple times throughout my childhood, I was not a Christian. I didn’t treasure Christ; I lived for myself.

At any time God could’ve pulled the plug on my life and it would’ve been just. But He didn’t. Because of steadfast love for me from before the creation of the universe, He was moved with compassion to save me. And so He brought a girl into my life.

Okay, I can’t really say she was in my life. But I liked her enough to follow her to a Christology seminar her pastor was putting on. Every Wednesday for 10 weeks we would sit next to each other while listening to glorious truths about Christ.
And that’s when the unbelievable happened. My gaze began to shift from her to Christ. It’s not that she became less attractive, because she was a CCCC (certified Chinese Christian cutie). It’s that Jesus became beautiful to me. In an act of great compassion, God opened my eyes to the glory of the Gospel, and I have been captivated by Him ever since.

May our compassionate God continue to hold our gaze. Psalm 103 encourages us that “as a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.” Who has a God like ours, that pardons iniquity at such a great cost? Brothers and sisters, stand in awe today of the great compassion of God, which moved Him to save and secure us for all eternity.

ScottScott is a member of our Music Ministry. He is usually seen grooving to tasty bass lines. In his spare time, Scott enjoys reading Fantasy novels and watching professional League of Legends.