Always thumbs up!
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
In the Roman coliseum thousands of citizens would flock to watch the gladiators compete. There would come a moment when one of the Gladiators had defeated another. The victor would have His opponent in a compromised position, literally waiting to end his life. In that moment, the victor would look to where the Caesar or whatever potentate was seated observing the “games” to see if he was to end life or give mercy. This decision was solely in the Caesars’ hand. In fact, the Caesar would hold his fist stretched out in front of him with his thumb pointed to the side. If he raised his hand toward the sky life was given, if his thumb went toward the ground, life was taken.
I have observed in my years as a Christian that there are so many believers who seem to think that when they sin they now have to sit as the defeated Gladiator waiting to see if God is going to give mercy or was this it the one that should bring their destruction. As such, they will walk around in defeat and allow the enemy to treat them like God has now given up on them.
The book of Lamentations has a great reminder for those of us who have placed our faith in the Lord Jesus and His finished work of redemption on the cross. Please note, I said finished. We are told in Lamentations 3:22-23 that the Lord’s mercies will not fail, meaning to come to an end. No, in fact, we are told that the Lord’s mercy is new, meaning refreshed every morning. Now, this does not mean that we have to wait until morning for the Lord to refresh His mercies toward us. Rather it carries with it the thought that just like the dawn will come, so too, will God’s mercies always be there. You cannot exhaust them.
So, what I am trying to encourage our hearts in today is this simple fact; we not to need to sit on the coliseum floor awaiting God’s decision as to whether or not He is going to show mercy. The Lord made that decision already when He sent us the gift of His son. Remember, the words of the Apostle Paul when he tells us,
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
In other words, God chose to a thumb up of mercy for us before we even entered the coliseum. As a matter of fact, we can read other passages that would tell us that the Lord gave us a thumb up before the foundations of the world. That is also why the Lamentations passage says that, “we are not consumed”, meaning completed. The Lord is not done with you Christian because you have fallen, His mercies are still there. So get up and fight on, though this battle may have been lost; the war is ours!
What does all this mean? Let me start with the warning. Understanding now that we are forgiven and granted mercy every time we lose a battle should not and does not give us license to quit fighting.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
We are to fight! It simply means that when we stumble to the floor we need not allow ourselves or anything else to tell us we have to stay there until we know the result of our failure. No, dear Christian, get back on your feet and fight on for mercy has been and always will be granted. This is why in that same passage from Lamentations we read these words.
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
Now, Christian, go forth in victory for your sins are forgiven, and our God is a God of mercy.
So He will always extend His hand toward you with a thumbs up!