Gospel: "Have mercy on me, Oh Lord"

Tony Bussolini, Newington, CT

Matthew 15:22

Once, while heading the wrong way on Route 80 in New York, I pulled into a wide driveway to turn around. On the front lawn there was a large sign with a picture of a forked road. The caption underneath read, "Heaven or hell forever, you decide." While the sign was eye-opening, there is a problem with it. We are not on a neutral path deciding to go left or right. The Bible teaches clearly that because of our sin, life’s road only leads down to hell and destruction. Acknowledging our sin and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior is the way to heaven.

The story in Matthew 15:21-28 pictures a woman taking her rightful place before a holy God. Realizing that she is undeserving and not fit to be in the presence of God, she cries out, "Have mercy on me, O Lord." In verse 25 she asks plainly, "Lord, help me."

In Mark 10:47 we find a similar picture of a blind man taking his rightful place, who cries out to Jesus, "Have mercy on me." And in Luke 18:13 we find a tax collector humbled by his helplessness, crying out these same words: "God be merciful to me, a sinner." Heaven’s response was favorable to all three. The woman was told, "Great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt." The blind man heard these words: "Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole." And we read that the tax collector went away justified (right with God).

In order for us to be able to receive God’s salvation, our approach must be the same. We must take our place as sinners unfit for heaven. The Lord is a merciful God. The definition of mercy is a withholding of punishment that we deserve. We deserve hell and banishment forever from the presence of God. Sin in our lives is what is keeping us out of heaven. However, the good news is that the Lord Jesus went to the cross to suffer and die for our sins. "He suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1Peter 3:18). Because He took our place as the ultimate, spotless sacrifice for sinners, the way to heaven is open for all who wish to receive Him. He responds to all who call on Him by faith.

Please do not ignore the warnings from the Bible regarding your sin. In John 8 the Lord clearly warns a group of men about dying in their sin and not being able to go to heaven. As a helpless and guilty sinner, come to the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as your Savior. God is satisfied with the finished work of His Son on the cross.

The forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven are offered to all who are willing to receive Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. "Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28).

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