Mercy Not Wrath

By Francis Frangipane

The church is created not to fulfill God's wrath, but to complete His mercy. Remember, we are called to be a "house of prayer for all…nations." Consider passionately this phrase: "prayer for." Jesus taught His disciples to "pray for" those who would persecute or mistreat them (Matt.5 44). When Job "prayed for" his friends, God fully restored him (Job 42:10). We are to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Ps. 122:6), and "pray for" each other so that we may be healed (James 5:16).

According to the Word of God, the Lord "desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4). Therefore, Paul urged "that entreaties and prayers…be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority" (vv. 1-2). You see, the call is to pray for people.

"But," you argue, "my country (or city) is a modern manifestation of ancient Babylon."

I don't think so. But even if it were, when the Lord exiled Israel to Babylon, He didn't order His people to judge and condemn their new cities. Rather, He said, "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you…and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare" (Jer. 29:7).

Time after time, the scriptural command is to pray for, not against; to pray mercifully, not vindictively. God's call is for prayer moved by compassion, not condemnation. Indeed, at its very essence, the nature of intercession is to appeal to God for forgiveness and redemption to come to sinful people.

We have studied what is wrong with our society and can prove, with charts and surveys, the trends of sin, yet we have failed to appreciate the influence of the intercessions of Christ. We consider ourselves experts on the nature and cause of sin, but deny the nature and cause of Christ, which is redemption. Friends, being informed by the news media is in no way the same thing as being transformed into the nature of the Savior.

The media sees what is wrong with the world and exposes it; Christ saw what was wrong and died for it. If one could gaze into the image being created within the heart of the church, one would find that it would be more the cynical attitude of the news media than the redemptive attitude of our Shepherd. Righteousness must ascend higher than ascribing to the moral views of our political party; we are called to the standards of God.