The God rich in Mercy
Cliff Jones, Cardiff, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
Our God is ‘plenteous in mercy’
The wonderful and beautiful creation, of which we are a part, reveals something of the power, knowledge, wisdom and majesty of God. We are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, Ps. 139. 14, and can, in some measure, appreciate the marvellous and aweinspiring creation that declares the glory of God, Ps. 19. 1-6.
The creation does not, however, reveal all the attributes of God. It is from the word of God that we learn that God is love and that He is holy, righteous, gracious, compassionate and merciful.
In His grace, God freely bestows upon us the love, kindness and favour we do not deserve, and it is by grace believers are saved, through faith, Eph. 2. 8, 9. In His mercy God has withheld from us the punishment for the sins we have all committed, Rom. 5. 12. He bestows His mercy on both the saved and the lost, for, ‘The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works’, Ps. 145. 8, 9. God is kind to all people, and has no pleasure in seeing the wicked die in their sins, Ezek. 18. 23. God abounds in lovingkindness and pity. He is ‘merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy’, Ps. 103. 8.
Mercy revealed by misery
All the pain and suffering and all the misery and distress in the world are caused by sin, and it is the terrible condition and state of mankind that calls forth and reveals the mercy of God. His mercy is shown in His lovingkindness, compassion and pity, and to all who call upon Him, He is ‘plenteous in mercy’, Ps. 86. 5. We should not only thank and praise God for the many and great things He has done for us, but should also thank Him for what He has not done. For in mercy, ‘He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him’, Ps. 103. 10, 11.
Mercy that inspires love
We have been recipients of unmerited mercy, grace and kindness from God. His mercy is great and boundless, Ps. 108. 4; 119. 64. God’s mercy is poured out especially on those that fear Him, Luke 1. 50. The more we learn of His love, pity, compassion, grace and mercy, the more we love Him, and fear Him with a filial, reverential fear. We experience a fear of grieving Him and a desire to please and serve Him. Our reverential fear pleases God, for ‘The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy’, Ps. 147. 11. Our lives on this earth are brief, Ps. 103. 15, 16, but the mercy of God is eternal, Ps. 100. 5. It is, ‘from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him’, Ps. 103. 17. God’s mercy is granted to us in this life and goes on into eternity. The fact that God’s mercy, ‘endureth for ever’ is stated twenty-six times in Psalm 136!
Mercy and truth
Before being saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we were all like those we read of in the first three verses of Ephesians chapter 2, ‘dead in trespasses and sins . . . children of disobedience . . . by nature the children of wrath, even as others’. Then in verse 4 we read those marvellous words, ‘But God, who is rich in mercy’. Despite all that we are in the sight of a holy God, He loves us, for ‘God is love’, 1 John 4. 8, and the cause of God’s love is in Himself and not in us, for there is nothing in us to draw out His love. Our desperate situation drew out His mercy and His grace, for He is the ‘God of all grace, 1 Pet. 5. 10. God so loved the world, John 3. 16; the church, Eph. 5. 25; and each one of us, Gal. 2. 20, that He gave His only begotten Son, to die as our Substitute that we might be saved.
God is holy and could not bestow mercy on us at the expense of His justice. All the claims of God’s holiness and justice were met, in full, by the Lord Jesus. On the cross, mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other, Ps. 85. 10. Because of the completed work on the cross of the Lord Jesus, God’s love, grace and mercy can flow out freely to the believer. Now God can be, ‘just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus’, Rom. 3. 26. The believer can, ‘have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’, Rom. 5. 1. God is manifested as the ‘Father of mercies’, 2 Cor. 1. 3, and ‘according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’, 1 Pet. 1. 3. How much we owe to the mercy of God and the God of mercy!
Be ye therefore merciful
The apostle Paul was always deeply conscious of the grace and mercy of God that led Him to give His only Son so that sinners might be saved. He spoke of himself as having, ‘obtained mercy’, 1 Tim. 1. 13; 1 Cor. 7. 25. In his letters to individuals, Paul always linked mercy with grace and peace, 1 Tim. 1. 2; 2 Tim. 1. 2; Tit. 1. 4, and on these occasions he asked God to bestow these blessings on those to whom he was writing. Having obtained mercy, and being so aware of this attribute of God, Paul exhorts believers to show mercy to others, Col. 3. 12. Mercy will cause us to feel and show compassion towards those in distress, and to show gentleness and kindness to both the lost and the saved.
God is always merciful and faithful to us. His compassion and lovingkindness never change, Lam. 3. 22, 23, and He wants us to be merciful as He is merciful, Luke 6. 36. He would have us show, ‘mercy, with cheerfulness’, Rom. 12. 8.
The Lord quoted Hosea chapter 6 verse 6 when He said to hard-hearted, selfrighteous, legalistic Pharisees, ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice’, Matt. 9. 13. We are told that true wisdom which comes from God is ‘full of mercy and good fruits’, Jas. 3. 17. By the grace of God, let us, while we wait for the Lord’s return, show mercy, and witness and work for Him, ‘looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life’, Jude 21. Hallelujah!