“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’” Matthew 9:13
The deepest heart of God, his desire, his delight, is mercy and not sacrifice, not judgment, not the “pound of flesh.”
Mercy and sacrifice can be related in three ways. One, mercy-not-sacrifice. Two, mercy-and-sacrifice. Three, sacrifice-not-mercy. We tend to think of God in that second category, so we never quite know what to expect of him. And the mercy-and-sacrifice outlook can slip too easily into sacrifice-not-mercy. But the gospel takes us all the way into mercy-not-sacrifice, mercy that is pure, unmixed, predictable. It is so counterintuitive, we have to go and learn what it means, how it works, what it looks like, how it changes us.
May God give us more and more churches with a message of mercy-not-sacrifice from the preacher and a culture of mercy-not-sacrifice among the people. It is the deepest heart of God. It is what everyone needs.