Grace Bible Church

Preaching the Living Word through the Written Word











6.†††† Mercy


a)††† Definitions

(1)†† [Mercy] is the goodness or love of God shown to those who are in misery or distress, irrespective of their deserts. (Buswell, A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, p. 72)

(2)†† [Mercy is] Godís tenderhearted, showing compassion toward the miserable, needy people he loves and also his not bringing on fallen people what they deserve. (House, Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine)

(3)†† The Greek word for mercy is éleos and carries the idea of an attitude and emotion roused by the affliction of another (Friberg), often of a superior to an inferior. It is equivalent to the Hebrew word chesed, which was translated, ďlovingkindnessĒ and referred to Godís faithful and covenantal love and mercy (Exo 34:6, 7; Isa 54:10; Jer 31:3).

(4)†† Sometimes mercy is a synonym for ďcompassionĒ as illustrated by the Hebrew word rachum (Ge 43:14; Ex 33:19) and the Greek word oiktirmon (Ro 9:15; Col 3:12).

b)††† Godís mercy is part of His nature (Ps 86:15; Ps 116:5).

(1)†† Perhaps one of the most precious attributes of God is His mercy, which is a motivating channel for many if not all of Godís attributes.

(2)†† Along with all the other attributes of God, mercy is described as His divine essence (Ps 86:15). So, as much as God is righteous, He is also merciful and compassionate (Ps 116:5).

c)†††† Godís mercy is related to His goodness (Ex 33:19)

(1)†† When God used the attribute of goodness to describe His glory, it was not without graciousness, mercy, and compassion (Ex 33:19; Isa 49:13; Hos 14:3).

(2)†† The mercy of God has its spring in the divine goodness. The first issue of Gods goodness is his benignity or bounty, by which He gives liberally to His creatures as creatures; thus has He given being and life to all things. The second issue of Gods goodness is His mercy, which denotes the ready inclination of God to relieve the misery of fallen creatures. Thus, mercy presupposes sin. Pink

(3)†† If mercy relieves the misery of His creatures, then how is it that misery and suffering still exist? First of all, misery and suffering were brought upon man by his own sinfulness (Ro 8:21-22, 6:23). Secondly, God is also just and will not remove suffering from sin even though He would desire to relieve it. However, though not always removing suffering, God often alleviates some of the severity of suffering (1Co 10:13). Thirdly, sometimes God is merciful in permitting suffering, which many times keeps man from going farther into sin, and thereby protects him from receiving greater suffering (Ps 119:67, 71, 75).

d)††† Godís mercy is everlasting (Is 55:3; Lam 3:22-23).

(1)†† Since God Himself is an everlasting God, all of His attributes are everlasting; including His mercy (Is 55:3).

(2)†† It is because of Godís everlasting mercy that those who have availed themselves of it can be fully assured that His mercies are new every day (Lam 3:22-23).

(3)†† On this same vein we can say that Godís mercy is immutable (Mic 7:18).

e)†††† Godís mercy is involved in His works (Ps 145:9)

(1)†† Similar to Godís goodness, His mercy is extended to mankind in a general way through all of His works (Ps 145:9).

(2)†† We might say that God does not withhold His goodness upon all creation (sun, rain, vegetation, water, air, etc.) because having created us to be dependent upon them; it would be the cause of merciless suffering.

f)†††† Godís mercy is not separate from His justice (Ex 34:7; Lk 13:3;Ro 3:8).

(1)†† Because God is also a God of justice, He will never be guilty of a universalism of mercy. Though mercy is extended to all, not all will avail themselves of it. In such cases, only justice remains.

(2)†† In fact, to not punish the unrepentant wicked, would not only be injustice, but it would be merciless to those who have come under the umbrella of Godís mercy (Ex 34:7; Ro 3:8).

(3)†† In regard to salvation, faith and repentance are required for Godís mercy (Lk 13:3; Is 55:7).

a)††† Godís mercy is the basis for salvation (Tit 3:5; Eph 2:4-5).

(1)†† Mercy, however, is never merited, otherwise mercy would cease to be mercy. Furthermore, manís own self-righteous works can neither remove sin nor gain Godís mercy. Man is saved only on the basis of Godís mercy (Tit 3:5).

(2)†† Godís mercy in salvation is depicted as the sole means of salvation when He made the believer alive, being dead in his sin (Ep 2:4-5).

g)†††† Godís mercy is according to divine choice (Rom 9:15-16, 18, and 23).

(1)†† Since Godís mercy is solely based upon Himself and not man, it is God who must initiate mercy (Ro 9:15-16).

(2)†† When God extends grace and mercy upon a sinner, that sinner is awakened spiritual and is enabled to exercise saving faith and repentance (Ep 2:8-9 cf. Ep 2:5).

(3)†† If God does not extend His mercy, then the hardened unbeliever will remain and continue to be hardened (Ro 9:18).

(4)†† In this way, the riches of Godís mercy in salvation are made known to the recipients of Godís mercy (Ro 9:23).

h)††† Godís mercy is extended through Christís death and resurrection (1Pe 1:3).

(1)†† Though God would desire to be merciful, He can only do so on the basis of the death and resurrection of Christ (1Pe 1:3).

(2)†† Having made atonement for manís sins through Christ, God was then justified in extending His ďgreat mercyĒ to those He ďcaused to be born again.Ē

i)††††† Godís mercy is related to propitiation (Ex 25:17-22)

(1)†† The OT depicted atonement for sin when the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the ďmercy seat.Ē This ďmercy seatĒ was the place where a holy God could meet with sinful man (Ex 25:22).

(2)†† The ďmercy seatĒ (Heb. kapporeth - place of smearing, place of atonement) in the OT is translated by the Greek word hilastārion (cf. He 9:5). Hilastārion means to ďsatisfy or appease (propitiate)Ē and explains that Godís righteousness is satisfied by the atonement made on the ďmercy seat.Ē Christ, through His death on the cross has become the believerís propitiation (hilastārion or ďmercy seatĒ), satisfying Godís righteousness through atonement for sin (Ro 3:24-25).

j)†††† Christ possesses the divine attribute of mercy (1Ti 1:2; )

(1)†† Grace and mercy come not only through the divine Father, but also through the divine Son (1Ti 1:2; 2Jn 1:3).

(2)†† Only God can extend mercy and forgive sin. Christ is observed forgiving sin while on earth, so this shows Christís deity (Mt 9:6; Jn 8:10-11).

(3)†† Christ is also the believerís merciful high priest (He 2:17).

k)††† Applications for the believer

(1)†† The believer can rest assured in the mercy of God. Positionally the believer has been forgiven from all sin (Ep 1:7). Conditionally, he but needs to confess his immediate sin and gain instant forgiveness (1Jo 1:9 cf. Jn 13:10).

(2)†† Because the beli ever has found mercy, he can also find mercy and grace in the nick of time at Godís throne (He 4:16; 2Co 1:3).

(3)†† Since the believer is born of Godís Spirit, then he should live in accordance with Godís attribute of mercy toward others (Mt 6:14-15; Ep 4:32; Col 3:13).




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