Written January 19th, 2021 – Tuesday late afternoon
“And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” ~Jude 1:22-23
Some of you know that I am an airplane pilot; I am not a current and up-to-date pilot, mind you, but I do hold a private pilot’s license. That being said, one of the occupations/”dream” jobs that I have long admired is that of the rescue helicopter pilot – be it with the Coast Guard or some other organization (land or sea). I realize now, of course, that such a job is not always full of excitement or entailing endless rapid response to crises, but it would be interesting and blotted with risk, danger, and life-saving adventure. Right up my alley…right?
You may have figured out by now why I begin this devotional thought with this elaboration on my personal interest in rescue aviation; no, it’s not because I am going to be pursuing a new venture in life or because I have had recent need of rescue…at least in a physical sense. The reason I begin this thought this way is because the passage for today is wrought with rescue. It would be good to revisit it above since I may have completely distracted you from it. 😊
The admonition to rescue with mercy is for those of us who have come to know infinite mercy in Christ Jesus. We once were in need of rescue from the clutches of sin and even now need mercy in our everyday lives. Because we have it available through Jesus, we are now to show it to others as we participate in God’s great rescue mission This mercy is exhibited in this passage in three separate, yet similar ways: 1. Mercy toward those who are struggling with doubt or wavering; this involves compassion and pity and helping those who are staggering or hesitating. 2. Save those who falling into the fire; deliver these by seizing them, perhaps, as though from the clutches of hell. 3. Mercy with fear is to be used with others, so as to avoid the stains of sin on oneself; the adage “love the sinner, hate the sin” is an important reminder to balance our compassion with a healthy fear of God so that we ourselves do not fall into error as we rescue those who are drowning in it.
Obviously, all of this is impossible without a right understanding of the mercy and truth of God. Yet, if you and I are indentified with our Master and equipped with His Spirit, we are called to join with Him in His mission. We cannot save people from sin or death, but we can pray for them, tell them, and show them the One who can – through our lives, through His Word, and through the power of God in us. In this way, He often rescues and saves through His lifeguards…that is, we who belong to Him.
Have you been rescued by the Father of mercies? Then you are prepared (and continually being more so) to join the “guard”. Let us who know such infinite mercy live lives that are dominated by it for the glory of our Master. Let us be His ambassadors of mercy to each other and to those who are so desperately in need of rescue.