Notes compiled by Marty Zide and Steve McAtee
God is merciful, meaning that He feels pity for those in deep misery and distress.
The heart of God is moved with tender affection for those whose lives are ruined by sin. It is the quality of showing compassion.
In mercy, God does not give us sinners what we deserve but temporarily withholds the punishment. However, there will come a day when His mercy ends.
Insights Into God’s Mercy
God’s mercy is shown to those who are the least deserving of it. It is shown to those who are spiritually dead as a result of sin.
God is free to show mercy upon whomever He desires. Because His mercy is undeserved, no one can say that it is something owed to them.
Ex. 34:6 - Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.
2 Sam. 24:14 - Then David said to Gad, I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.
Matt. 9:27 - As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, have mercy on us, Son of David!
2 Cor. 1:3-4 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Eph. 2:1-5 - And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Messiah (by grace you have been saved).
Rom. 9:15-18 - For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth. So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
1 Pet. 1:3-4 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.
Difference Between Mercy and Grace
In mercy, God does not give us sinners what we deserve but temporarily withholds the punishment. In grace, God gives us sinners what we do not deserve.
Distinctions Concerning God’s Mercy
In studying the mercy of God as it is set forth in Scripture, a threefold distinction needs to be made. First, there’s general mercy of God, which is extended not only to all men, believers and unbelievers alike but also to the entire creation: “His tender mercies are over all His works"-Ps. 145:9: “He gives to all life and breath, and all things”-Acts 17:25. Second, there is a special mercy of God, which is exercised toward the children of men, regardless of their sins. “For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”-Matt. 5:45. Third, there is sovereign mercy that is reserved for those God saves: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us”-Titus 3:5.
Practical Applications Of God’s Mercy
Even when we may be at our lowest, God’s mercy is there to see us through. If you are saved, know that it was as a direct result of God’s mercy.
Coming Next-God Is Gracious