Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 5 Study # 12
October 3, 2004
Lincolnton, N.C.

<099> Thesis: The "big picture" problems with "mercy" are two: first, the "problem" of a lack of interest in the objective; and, second, the "problem" of a lack of interest in having to wait for the fulfillment of the means. Introduction: In our study last week, we looked into the issue of the promise of salvation in light of the reality that what has been promised has not yet been fulfilled. We saw that there is a rather significant disconnect between what has been promised and what is being experienced. What Zacharias addressed as "salvation" was "deliverance from the negative impact of the evil behavior of others." We saw that the fulfillment of this "promise" is "timed" in the plan of God for the far distant future (as far as the perspective of men is concerned). And we saw that the entire issue of having a "promise" from God that is not going to be fulfilled in our temporal lifetime is problematical because the lack of fulfillment is used by our adversary as an accusation of a breakdown of integrity. What, the accuser asks, is the point of having a promise that is not going to be fulfilled in your case? We answered that question last week by saying that promises about the far distant future are necessary in order to establish legitimate hope because legitimate hope is absolutely critical to our walk of faith. If we expect incorrectly, we will react incorrectly when the expectation is frustrated. If we react incorrectly we will discover that our lives spin down in terms of the quality of our experience. If the spindown is deep enough over a long enough period of time, we will suffer the shipwreck of our faith and the disaster that brings is not what we want to live with. We have seen that Luke 1 is a microcosm presentation of how this all works. Zacharias and Elizabeth are presented as examples of people who have been given a "delayed fulfillment promise" and their fear and unbelief is presented as the consequences of putting too much emphasis upon a false expectation in respect to the timing of the fulfillment of the promise. But, their exceedingly great joy, and their extraordinary privilege is also presented so that we may see that the integrity of God stands uncompromised and the end result of His promises is to be highly desired. Who wouldn't like to experience exceedingly great joy and extraordinary privilege? Now, as we continue to investigate the meaning and significance of Zacharias' words this morning, we are going to see that we are in constant need of believing that our God is a God of daily mercies. And, in order to be able to believe that, we are going to see that there are two problems that need to be clearly addressed.