"It is true that men are saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ; but it is equally true that God’s grace in a man’s life inevitably results in obedience" [D A Carlson]

Mercy of God

in Knowing God

The courtroom was silent as the judge took his seat. The prosecution and defence teams had completed their cases, and everyone in the courtroom, including the defendant, knew the case for guilt was conclusive and without doubt. The judge cleared his throat, and affirmed the decision of the jury. Guilty as charged on all counts. All that was left was the sentencing. In his deliberations the judge needed to ensure that justice was served. He had the power to sentence this man to anything from two years imprisonment to life, and any sentence within these guidelines would be legally justifiable. As the judge considered the remorse of the defendant, he showed great mercy and imposed the minimum sentence while still upholding justice.

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The word mercy means to stoop in kindness to an inferior, to have pity on a person, or be actively compassionate. Mercy does not mean showing fleeting compassion from a distance, it means being actively compassionate, getting involved.

Mercy is also strongly intertwined with justice. Mercy is shown when someone in authority, such as the courtroom judge, has the option to choose between at least two actions and then chooses the action that provides the other person the greatest benefit. Mercy is also totally undeserved.

Throughout the bible, God’s mercy is proclaimed.

“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;” (Daniel 9:9)

Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. (Psalm 119:132)

“…. you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.” (Nehemiah 9:17)

“ The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” (Psalm 116:5)

God’s mercy is not a temporary mood but an attribute. God being merciful does not depend on having someone to show mercy to. Even if there was no guilt, no rebellion in this world, God would still be merciful because that always has and always will part of God’s character. Similarly, God is not merciful because he needs to be, he expresses it because he delights in his mercy.

“You do not stay angry for ever but delight to show mercy.” (Micah 7:18)

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In considering God’s mercy, we need to first have the foundation that God is totally superior to us, incomparable in all aspects of His character.

“”To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:25-26)

Even if a comparison were possible, we would be like dust to his majesty, glory and power.

“Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.” (Isaiah 40:15)

God created the Universe by the word of his mouth, he holds the whole word in his hands, and is in control of everything that happens in this world. His judgement is absolute. As we think on the majesty, the holiness of God, how amazing is it that God even thinks of us, let alone reaches out in mercy to us?

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Psalms 8:3-4)

In the same way as the judge giving sentence, the mercy of God is intertwined with his judgement. While God’s judgement is his justice confronting our rebellion against him, mercy is the goodness of God confronting our guilt.

Even if it is not acknowledged, all people, including you, are a recipient of God’s mercy. The mere fact that you are alive now is because God is holding off his judgement through mercy. Our rebellion against him, our desire to be on the throne of our own lives means we are all guilty, a guilt which carries a sentence of death. God’s mercy postpones the execution.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. (Lamentations 3:22, NKJV)

When justice sees rebellion, there must be judgement. But God’s mercy brought Jesus Christ to earth and because of God’s great mercy he provided a way, through Jesus’ death, that justice would be satisfied.

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Writer AW Tozer recounts a heartbreaking story set in the aftermath of the First World War Even though many countries were providing aid to war-ravaged Europe, the needs were enormous. Aid centres were forced to priorities their assistance, and made the decision that only orphans would be provided with new homes. Children with a surviving parent could not be taken in. One day a clearly starving man entered one of these aid stations with his similarly malnourished daughter. Both too skinny, extended stomaches and eyes that were just that little bit too bright. When acknowledging that he was the little girl’s father, the aid workers regretfully explained the unbendable rule. “I’m sorry, but since your daughter still has a living parent, we cannot take her in”. “You mean, that if I was dead, you would take her in and give her a new family, a home, food and clothing?” “Yes, that is right”. So the man looked at his daughter, reached down and gave her a silent, loving embrace, and then slowly releasing her, placed her hands in the hand of the aid worker and walked out of the aid centre, where he killed himself.

The man knew that the only way his daughter could live was for him to die. This is exactly what Jesus did, He allowed himself to be killed so that we might live. Like the little girl, without Jesus death through God’s mercy, we would need to die.

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What are the implications of God’s mercy in our own lives? Well, we first need to reach out and grasp onto God’s mercy through Jesus Christ. It is only through being totally devoted to Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead, that we can experience God’s mercy. There is no other way. (Read more about Jesus)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Secondly, as we are shown mercy, so we need to show mercy and compassion to those around us.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. (Zechariah 7:9)

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)

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“Mercy of God”
Oluwaponmile Oyeboade

God’s mercy is infinite.


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