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COMPASSION


Geoff Daniels Compassion means demonstrating concern, kindness, and caring with a willingness to help others. In its more commonly used sense, compassion has been defined as “sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others.” Compassion incorporates love, thoughtfulness, gentleness, tenderness, commitment, and mercy. In speaking of God’s faithfulness, the prophet Jeremiah wrote this about God’s compassion: “It is because of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Notice, God's compassions are "new every morning." What a great way we may start each day with assurance of God's new compassions. God’s compassion in salvation is not based on our worth or worthiness, because we have none, but rather on the fact we were “lost sinners” and desperately in need of a Savior who would reconcile sinful man to Holy God. God provided His Son specifically for this purpose, thus giving the assurance of sins forgiven and eternal life. Without God's mercy and compassion, life would be lacking, empty, and meaningless. Mercy (God withholding from us what we deserve) and compassion are inseparable. The Bible says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Because of our transgressions and iniquities, we went astray, walking in our self-will and seeking only to satisfy the flesh. Therefore, our compassionate God must place all these on His Son Jesus Christ. There was no other way. The Bible states that God is of “purer eyes than to “look with favor upon evil and cannot look upon iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13). We must remember God is holy and we are unholy, therefore, “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you” (Isaiah 59:2). Under the caption of "The Old Testament God of Compassion and mercy," Dr. Miles Van Pelt wrote the following: “Mercy and compassion are rooted in the very character of God. His law commands it. Wisdom teaches it. The prophets enjoin it and the Psalms applaud it. Of course, the fullest expression of the mercy of God is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the compassion of God incarnate. But the New Testament does not represent a departure from the Old Testament at this point, but rather the arrival of its fullest expectation.” (Dr Van Pelt is associate professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Ms). The lines of a very old hymn goes like this: “We praise then our God, How rich is His grace, We were far from Him once, estranged from His face. By blood we are purchased, are cleansed and made nigh and blest in Christ Jesus - our Savior on high? This beautiful hymn highlights the fact that prior to salvation, we were as strangers to God and His grace. We were lost in sin, groping in the dark, doing our own thing, and without hope in a sinful world. However, bearing in mind it was not God's divine will that anyone should perish (John 3:16) but rather come to a "knowledge of the truth" by trusting Jesus Christ as Savior and have the assurance of salvation. This is the only way sinners can be made right with God.

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