“And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.”
An interesting thing is said about the church in Thyatira. God said they allowed a prophetess to “teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” This in itself is something the LORD had to deal with, but God didn’t end His dialogue about this prophetess. God continued in the verse above by saying, “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” God extended His mercy for a chance to get right, but this prophetess chose not to take her chance to do right, and consequently she suffered God’s full judgment.
God’s mercy is often one of the most misunderstood characteristics of God. Three characteristics must be defined in order to understand God’s mercy: judgment, mercy and grace. God’s judgment is the consequence for doing wrong. God’s mercy is the lessening of sin’s consequence. God’s grace is God treating the one who did wrong as if they didn’t do wrong. All three characteristics are important to the believer doing right. Howbeit, let me point out several observations from the verse above about God’s mercy and what it means to the believer.
First, God’s mercy is not a permission to sin. You will notice that God was merciful to the prophetess so that she could have a chance to avoid His full judgment. My friend, God’s space of mercy is not an opportunity to do more wrong, but it is an opportunity to look at what you need to do to get right. Never mistake God’s mercy as weakness and permission to continue in sin.
Second, God’s mercy is not an absence of consequence. Just because God is merciful doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay the consequences for sin. You will always find in the Scriptures that God’s mercy to the believer is simply a lessening of the severity of sin’s consequences. Yes, mercy should be exercised, but mercy doesn’t mean that consequences are removed. If you remove sin’s consequence, you embolden the offender to do more wrong because they never had to suffer the consequence for the initial wrong.
Third, God’s mercy is a chance to change. God gave this prophetess space as a chance to change her sinful actions. Likewise, God’s mercy is a chance for you to change so that you don’t have to suffer sin’s consequences. The purpose of mercy is not to embolden you to sin, but its purpose is to give you a chance to repent. Don’t waste your space of mercy for sin’s temporal enjoyment. Use God’s space of mercy as an opportunity to change your actions to do right.
Fourth, wasted mercy is wasted time that could have been used to do right and influence others for Christ. Always remember that every minute you waste God’s mercy is a minute that right could have been done. One of the worst things about wasted mercy is the wasted time that could have been used to reach others for Christ. Always remember that every minute you waste God’s mercy could be the last minute for a lost person to get saved.
Fifth, wasting God’s mercy always results in His judgment. You can only waste God’s mercy for so long before you must face the consequence of sin. My friend, if God is giving you a space of mercy, use it wisely to correct your sinful ways so that you can use your time wisely to serve Him and influence others for right.