Mercy, Not Sacrifice

But if ye had known what [this] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

Matthew 12:7

There are at least two important things to learn from Jesus’ reference to Hosea 6.

First of all, our worship should not be focused on ceremony. The ceremonies of the old law were meant to point us toward the need for Christ as Savior. The law was never meant to save us. Therefore, the content of our songs of worship and sermon topics should not be filled with the doctrines of works or will-based salvation. The focus of effort and content in our worship should be the mercy of God.

Secondly, we should be very careful to not become like the Pharisees when working with new converts or those who have fallen away into sin. If Christ had mercy on someone, they are abiding in His mercy. We do not have the right to condemn them or threaten them to coerce better behavior. Instead, we should consider the mercy of God required to save us and extend that mercy toward those we are trying to help in paths of righteousness.

Each of God’s children is in different place in their growth in grace and knowledge of Jesus. Just because someone does not live up to our standard of what we think a child of God is does not condemn them to eternal destruction.

No, our personal experience or way of life is not the standard.

The life of Jesus Christ is the standard of holiness. When we compare, or rather contrast, our life to that of Jesus we will see we fall very short and that we too need…


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