“But I have obtained mercy” MERCY: The biblical meaning of mercy is exceedingly rich and complex, as illustrated by the number of Hebrew and Greek words used to express the concept. In translation to the English language to express the dimensions of meaning involved, words such as kindness, loving-kindness, goodness, grace, favor, pity, compassion and steadfast love are used. Love is the only other word that has more synonyms (words of similar meaning) associated with it.
At the heart of the concept of mercy is the compassionate disposition to forgive offenders or adversaries and to help or spare them in their sorry plight. God persistently tolerates His disobedient and wayward people and continuously seeks to bring them back to himself. This is the beauty of the “Father-Child” relationship that belief in God provides us to receive mercy. “Like a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear him.” (Psalms 103:13) Other dimensions of God’s mercy include forgiveness and restoration to favor, as well as, deliverance from distress and perils.
Mercy gets personal here, at some point in our lives we all have been offenders, adversaries, persecutors, injurious or, heaven forbids, blasphemous of the Word, works and personage of God. The mere fact that we are still here to praise and glorify His holy name is indicative of His disposition to forgive and restore us to favor. When I think of God and His goodness towards me, it gives new meaning to the phrase, “but by the grace of God, there go I.” There has been more than one occasion in my life, where an onlooker would have had the opportunity to utter that phrase, but thanks to deliverance from distress and perils by the hand of God, here I stand.
In the Old Testament, God’s mercy is expressed in His faithfulness to the covenant people and is found also in the New Testament. The most common use of mercy in the New Testament is that of God’s provision of salvation (deliverance) of humanity in Jesus Christ. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” (Ephesians 2:4) God is identified as “the father of mercies” (II-Corinthians 1:3), which he bestows on those who believe in His Son. It is because he is “so rich in mercy” that he saved those who are spiritually dead and doomed by their sins. It is out of God’s mercy that one is forgiven and granted eternal life, (I-Timothy 1:16).
Because God has freely extended his mercy without respect to worthiness or faithfulness, Believers are to respond by showing mercy to others, even though they do not deserve it or seek it. God regards mercy more highly than he does the ritual sacrifice (Matthew 9:13). God’s mercy in Christ actually puts people under an obligation to act toward others as God himself has acted toward them. Jesus, in his teachings, made mercy a foundation of his gospel (good news). Members of the Christian church are to show compassion and practical concern for each other. We are to give aid and relief, love and comfort to one another, as Christ freely gave to us in our time of need.
It is the remembrance of God’s mercy that gives the repentant person the hope and assurance of divine favor and reconciliation with the offended Lord. The apostle James teaches the very nature of good works as being a necessity of genuine faith (James 2:14-26). It was the mercy that the Good Samaritan had toward the man who had been beaten, robbed and left to die that was singled out by Jesus for special commendation (Luke 10:36-37). To be full of mercy is a commandment and distinguishing virtue of the citizens of the Kingdom of God. Be blessed until the blessed call you blessed.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- God of Mercy (crt010304.wordpress.com)
- The Solemnity of Christ the King (trustinjesus.wordpress.com)