The One Who Was, and Is & Will Be Merciful (The Mercy of God – A Study in the Attributes of God)

Introduction:

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the poem, “Footprints”. It is one of the most famous quote, unquote “Christian” poems out there; and in this poem, a person is walking along the shore, at the beach, with God. And the poet uses this illustration as a picture of their entire life, as one long walk with God, both leaving footprints in the sand, side by side. But when they stop at the end of their journey, and they look back; they see that during the hardest points in their life, that there was only one set of footprints. It’s then that they get confused, and this individual then asks God, ‘Why?’, ‘Why, when things were at their worst, why did you abandon me at those moments?’. And the response that God gives is simply, ‘I never abandoned you. In those moments when you only saw one set of footprints, in those worst of times, that was where I carried you.’

A sweet sentiment to be sure, and, if it were theologically accurate, a decent poem. But the poet isn’t really seeing the whole picture, are they? They just want to know where God is during those “hard times”. They are convinced that in those moments were where God was being a loving, merciful God. I think we’re all tempted ask ourselves similar questions at times. We all say, ‘Yes, things are okay right now, but what happens if things get rough?’ We think about just how bad things might get, and how we’ll hold up if and when they get bad, and we ask how God will respond.

But in truth, we aren’t seeing the whole picture either. Much like the poet, our focus is too narrow. We’re only concerned with what’s going to happen when things get rough, instead of praising God for working throughout our entire lives. And He does. God works and is at work even now in our lives. God does this because He is merciful. A more accurate representation in the poem would be for God to respond by saying, ‘Did you not know? I created the beach. I created the ocean. I made the sand and I formed you in your mother’s womb because it pleased Me to do so. And every single moment of your life, every single one of those footprints was caused through My will. And it was done, every moment of it, both good and bad, for your good and My glory. The poem would have us believe that God is working for our sake, but the bible tells us that He has determined to work in all things for His own sake.

So as we begin to examine this attribute of God and His mercy, let’s not forget that God is merciful in all things, and He reveals that mercy through all things. And one of the best places to turn to show just that is Psalm 136 which is titled a psalm of Thanksgiving to God for His Enduring Mercy. And in this psalm, which you may have heard, once or twice, as a responsive reading psalm; where the priest or pastor will read the first line and then the rest of the congregation would speak aloud, in unison, the following line with the words, “For His mercy endures forever.” Or “His lovingkindness”, or “His steadfast love”, or “His love” (Translated from the Hebrew word ‘chesed’, which is used 248 times in the old testament; and 137 in the KJV is translated as ‘mercy’). But don’t just focus on the repetition, but on those things which are proclaimed as being done because of God’s mercy.

Psalm 136:1-26 (NKJV)

1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

2 Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!

For His mercy endures forever.

3 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!

For His mercy endures forever:

4 To Him who alone does great wonders,

For His mercy endures forever;

5 To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,

For His mercy endures forever;

6 To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,

For His mercy endures forever;

7 To Him who made great lights,

For His mercy endures forever—

8 The sun to rule by day,

For His mercy endures forever;

9 The moon and stars to rule by night,

For His mercy endures forever.

10 To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn,

For His mercy endures forever;

11 And brought out Israel from among them,

For His mercy endures forever;

12 With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm,

For His mercy endures forever;

13 To Him who divided the Red Sea in two,

For His mercy endures forever;

14 And made Israel pass through the midst of it,

For His mercy endures forever;

15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,

For His mercy endures forever;

16 To Him who led His people through the wilderness,

For His mercy endures forever;

17 To Him who struck down great kings,

For His mercy endures forever;

18 And slew famous kings,

For His mercy endures forever—

19 Sihon king of the Amorites,

For His mercy endures forever;

20 And Og king of Bashan,

For His mercy endures forever—

21 And gave their land as a heritage,

For His mercy endures forever;

22 A heritage to Israel His servant,

For His mercy endures forever.

23 Who remembered us in our lowly state,

For His mercy endures forever;

24 And rescued us from our enemies,

For His mercy endures forever;

25 Who gives food to all flesh,

For His mercy endures forever.

26 Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven!

For His mercy endures forever.

What Is Mercy?

So the first question we must ask is, ‘what is mercy?’ It’s not the easiest question to answer given that we have to both define and distinguish mercy in light of God’s similar attributes such as love and grace. They are, after all, very similar, and often displayed in conjunction with one another. The author of our book The Attributes of God, A.W Pink, actually does a remarkable job of both. He defines God’s mercy as, “[The] ready inclination of God to relieve the misery of fallen creatures.” In the New Testament, the Greek word ‘eleos’ is the one most often translated as ‘mercy’, but can also be translated as ‘compassion’ or ‘pity’ or ‘kindness’. See, God sees us in our fallen state; fallen through the sin of Adam, as well as the sins we ourselves have committed, and he sees the misery that we’ve brought upon ourselves through it, and He has compassion on us. Because of His goodness, and the love that exists and has existed eternally within the Godhead throughout eternity past, God has determined within Himself to relieve our suffering. And we’ll see in a little bit the ways in which He demonstrates that, but for now, all we need to understand is that the mercy of God is that which God demonstrates toward those who are suffering through their sins.

As I said, A.W. Pink also uses the perfect illustration to show how mercy differs from grace. That example he uses is of unfallen angels. Angels are creatures, created by God for His purpose. And while a number of them fell in the rebellion of Satan, and were cast down from heaven, those whom did not fall remain preserved by the “Grace” of God as uncorrupted beings. They were created by the grace of god, preserved by the grace of God, they are granted a unique audience with Him by the grace of God, and they continue to serve Him, even now, by the grace of God. But they have never received His mercy. Because they’ve never been corrupted by sin, they do not suffer on account of it, therefore, they are in no need of mercy. We, on the other hand desperately need the mercy of God in our lives.

Luke 18:9-14

9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be [f]merciful to me, the sinner!’

14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Human beings, indeed, have sinned, and are in great need of the mercy of God. But God responds to the humble. As we’ve just read, God is no respecter of persons. Do you know why the Pharisee didn’t receive any mercy? Because he didn’t ask for any. He just said, ‘Thank you, you’ve done your part, I’ve done mine. Take care.’ God isn’t going to be merciful on people like that. We can’t go before God, beating our chest, all stout and proud, proclaiming our goodness to Him. He knows better. We need to go before Him with the attitude that caused the tax collector to cry out in the temple, “ο θεος ιλασθητι μοι τω αμαρτωλω” (Ha Theos, ilastheti moi to hamartolo), translated, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” That’s what mercy is. And God has demonstrated it in various ways and at all times. The mercy of God is often described as “great”, “abundant”, “tender”, “rich”, “full”, and even “everlasting”. So as we continue, keep your ears open for those words.

Now, A.W. Pink divided the mercy of God into three categories, those being general mercies demonstrated to all things, special (or temporal) mercies which are specific to man, and sovereign (or eternal) mercies which are reserved for the covenant children of God. I’ve broken them up a bit differently, but they do, in fact, all fit into those categories. I’ve chosen to break these down more in line with how our previous studies have gone. Those being the ways in which God was merciful, the ways in which He is merciful, and the ways in which He will be merciful.

God Was Merciful…

…In His Decrees

In my first lesson on the study of God’s attributes, we looked at the Decree of God. And in that study we saw that before the foundations of the world, that God had determined by His sovereign will and His wisdom to determine all that things that must take place through the act of creation in order to glorify Himself. And all means all. God decreed to be merciful in every instance, and in every conceivable way that pleased Him before He even turned the hands of time.

Psalm 103:15-17

15 As for man, his days are like grass;

As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,

And its place acknowledges it no longer.

17 But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,

And His righteousness to children’s children

From everlasting, He determined, He decreed to be merciful, and it will be with an everlasting mercy that He continues to uphold His children.

“The one constant factor in a chaotic world is that the Lord is faithful. He will never fail His people in character, decree, works or word.”

– Paul Washer

…In Creation

Psalm 136:4-9

4 To Him who alone does great wonders,

For His mercy endures forever;

5 To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,

For His mercy endures forever;

6 To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,

For His mercy endures forever;

7 To Him who made great lights,

For His mercy endures forever—

8 The sun to rule by day,

For His mercy endures forever;

9 The moon and stars to rule by night,

For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 119:64

64 The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD;

Teach me Your statutes.

God isn’t just described as being merciful in the act of creation, but in the act of creating the world as it is. Just as we saw with His decree, just as we saw with His sovereignty, God has a purpose in willing what He wills, acting in the way He acts and in creating in the way He’s created. And we may never fully know why. It’s just too big for us to comprehend.

“God’s mercy is so great that you may sooner drain the sea of its water, or deprive the sun of its light, or make space too narrow, than diminish the great mercy of God.”

– Charles Spurgeon

God is merciful…

…To All Creatures

Psalm 145:8-10

8 The LORD is gracious and merciful;

Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.

9 The LORD is good to all,

And His mercies are over all His works.

10 All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD,

And Your godly ones shall bless You.

Acts 17:24-25

24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;

25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;

In the book of Romans, we’re told that “the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19). When Adam fell, even the ground was cursed on account of his sin. Since then, all of God’s creation has suffered through that sin, and God has responded with mercy.

…To Fallen Men

There are several ways in which God is merciful to wicked men. You may find it quite astounding to see just how merciful God has been with those who reject Him.

1.) In Life –

Nehemiah 9:6

6 “You alone are the LORD.

You have made the heavens,

The heaven of heavens with all their host,

The earth and all that is on it,

The seas and all that is in them.

You give life to all of them

And the heavenly host bows down before You.

Isaiah 26:9-10

9 At night my soul longs for You,

Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently;

For when the earth experiences Your judgments

The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

10 Though the wicked is shown favor,

He does not learn righteousness;

He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness,

And does not perceive the majesty of the LORD.

We see in these verses that wicked men are ‘given life’, and “shown favor”, yet they don’t learn. They don’t consider God as the Most High God, holy and just.

2.) By the revelation of God through creation –

Romans 1:18-20

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature , have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Here we see that these men aren’t just given life by God, but also, that what is known about God is evident within them. They understand everything they need to know about God because He’s revealed it to them through creation. But God doesn’t stop there:

3.) By Conscience –

Romans 2:14-15

14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

Added to the mercy of life and revelation comes conscience. The conscience whereby these sinners are convinced that they are just that. Sinners. Eternally separated from God, and in need of a Savior.

4.) In their stay from a certain and devastating destrtuction –

Now, let’s consider the continuing existence of such men in light of the revelation given to us in scripture about God’s certain wrath. There are a number of examples, but let’s ta’e a look briefly at a few of them. We’ll start with Nadab and Abihu.

Leviticus 10:1-3

1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.

2 And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.’” So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.

Next, we’ll look at Lot and his family as they flee their home of Sodom and Gomorrah. And consider the swift repercussions on the one who disobeys.

Genesis 19:17, 24-26

17 When they had brought them outside, one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.”

24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven,

25 and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

26 But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

And, then let’s take a look at the story of Uzzah, who make one of the worst errors by trying to protect the ark of the covenant while it was being led into Jerusalem after David defeated the Philistines.

2 Samuel 6:6-8

6 But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it.

7 And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.

8 David became angry because of the LORD’s outburst against Uzzah, and that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day.

9 So David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?”

Three examples of God exercising His wrath on the disobedient, almost instantaneously. Three examples of the instant destruction that we all deserved the moment we sinned, in fact, the moment we were born. God said to Adam and Eve, “In the day you eat of it, you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17 ). But they didn’t die; not physically, at least. Though they died spiritually, and though God had every right to judge them, instead, He showed mercy on them, allowing an entire race of men to thrive on cursed ground. We shouldn’t even be here. Let’s take a look at an interesting example in the gospel of Mark.

Mark 5:6-13

6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him;

7 and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “[a]What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!”

8 For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”

9 And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”

10 And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country.

11 Now there was a large herd of swine feeding [b]nearby on the mountain.

12 The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.”

13 Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.

Even this demon knew that it was better to beg for mercy, and be cast into a filthy animal for just a few moments before death than to face an instant sentence.

5.) Through warning –

Now, God is still merciful in sending warning after warning to His fallen creation. God has never ceased to warn men of the danger they face if they continue in their deadly and foolish ways. He warned them then, and He warns them still. These people know their time is short. They know they are sinners, and they know God is waiting. Because God is merciful, they already know these things; and still, He gives warning.

2 Peter 2:4-5

4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;

5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Noah was a preacher. A preacher of what? Righteousness. At a time when Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew that the people of Noah’s day were, “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matthew 24:38), “and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away” (Matthew 24:39). They had a preacher of righteousness, warning them, and they still didn’t understand. They didn’t care. But they were warned.

Matthew 11:20-24

20 Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.

21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

22 Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

23 And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.

24 Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

And finally, to this point, let’s look briefly at the Gospel of Mark.

Mark 16:15-16 *

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

As the book of Romans has already said, ‘these men are without an excuse’ when judgment falls upon them. God has begun a never ending cycle of mercy. Just look at the prophets. Book after book of God sending messengers, prophets, preachers, warning them commanding them. Repent! Do not sin. Do good to one another. Love one another. God has given ample warning.

…To His Elect In Christ

1.) Through common temporal mercies –

All mercies that we’ve seen demonstrated towards those opposed to God, are likewise, demonstrated toward us as well. We are no more deserving of mercy than they are. We haven’t done anything to merit the riches of God’s grace and mercy. We are once hellbound sinners, content to live our lives, despite our lives, despite the warnings, living only for the gain to be found in sin. But, by God’s Grace we were saved. But although we are the recipients of a particular grace, and a particular mercy, we have received all that fallen men have received as well.

2.) Through preservation –

One such particular mercy we receive is the blessed mercy of preservation. One of our wonderful doctrines of grace, the preservation of the saints, is truly an act of mercy.

Lamentations 3:22-23

22 The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,

For His compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;

Great is Your faithfulness.

Micah 7:18-19

18 Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity

And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?

He does not retain His anger forever,

Because He delights in unchanging love.

19 He will again have compassion on us;

He will tread our iniquities under foot.

Yes, You will cast all their sins

Into the depths of the sea.

James 5:10-11

10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

God has no shortcomings. He is not flawed like us. All that He says He will accomplish. It’s His will that determines the outcome. And Christ has said, ‘that it’s the will of Him that of all the Father gives me, that should lose none.’

3.) In Christ –

In Christ, we have mercy unspeakable. Every single mercy that we do have, that we’ve already spoken of are all found in Christ. Volumes could be written and thousands of sermons preached on the mercy we have in Christ. Alas, my task is to present a summary of this attribute, and even in that, I will fail. But it is that particular, and wonderful and mysterious mercy of salvation that we have through faith in Christ Jesus that gathers us here, to worship among like-redeemed brethren. We gather together to worship a God so merciful that He sent His only begotten Son to face the unthinkable suffering that can only be seen through the cross. God is that merciful.

Luke 1:76-79

76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;

For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS;

77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation

By the forgiveness of their sins,

78 Because of the tender mercy of our God,

With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,

79 To SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH,

To guide our feet into the way of peace”

Romans 9:11-16

11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,

12 it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.”

13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”

14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!

15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”

16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

Titus 3:5-7

5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

We have our life because of Jesus Christ, because of the mercy of God. Because long ago He decreed that His Son would come and live and die and rise again to spare His chosen people from death.

God will be mercifull…

…In the New Heavens and the New Earth

The entire fulfillment of life that we live with Christ in the new heavens and the new earth will be mercy toward us. But this will primarily take place in two ways that relate to our study.

1.) Judgement –

In the age to come, God’s mercy will cease on wicked men. At that point, all the mercy and warnings will be no more, and God’s mercy toward them will be replaced with wrath.

Psalm 143:12

12 And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies

And destroy all those who afflict my soul,

For I am Your servant.

That was written by David while he was on the run from his enemies. But that was just a shadow of the reality we will all have in the new heavens and the new earth. We see that in Revelation.

Revelation 6:9-11

9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;

10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

A.W. Pink points out the peculiar yet truthfulness of judgment being a display of the mercy of God:

“Even the casting of the reprobate into the Lake of Fire is an act of mercy. The punishment of the wicked is to contemplated from a threefold viewpoint. From God’s side, it is an act of justice, vindicating His honour. The mercy of god is never shown to the prejudice of His holiness and righteousness. From their side, it is an act of equity, when they are made to suffer the due reward of their iniquities. But from the standpoint of the redeemed, the punishment of the wicked is an act of unspeakable mercy. How dreadful would it be if the present order of things, when the children of God are obliged to live in the midst of the children of the Devil, should continue forever?!”

2.) Glorification of the Saints –

Revelation 21:1-4

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.

2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,

4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Just as we said, the mercy of God is His willingness to relieve the suffering of His creation. This is that final and never ending act of mercy towards us. We see that completely as we look at our final section.

…In the Age to Come

And, of all that we’ve seen, nothing will compare to the mercy that we will receive in the age to come. When all God’s sovereign decrees have been brought about to conclusion; we will be left with nothing but the exceeding riches of God’s mercy, being shared with us throughout eternity. This will happen not only because He’s determined that it would happen, but because He will establish the unending rule and authority of the throne of Christ.

Ephesians 2:4-7

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Revelation 22:3-5

3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;

4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.

5 And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

That is a promise of God’s unending mercy to us. We here we will finally be present with Him, and His Son, and His Spirit. And nothing will ever separate us from that love and that mercy. Amen!

How Are We To Show Mercy?

So I’d like to spend just a minute on application. How do we apply God’s mercy in our lives? Well, we do so in two ways. One, we give thanks. We give thanks to God for all that He’s done for us and all the ways that He continues to show us mercy everyday. Second, we obey the commands that God has given us, and we start showing mercy to others. We love each other. Help each other. Forgive each other. If this is how God has treated us then it’s a part of His nature to do so. Therefore, as image-bearers, we should display that perfect character!

Matthew 5:7

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

Proverbs 3:3-4

3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you;

Bind them around your neck,

Write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 So you will find favor and good repute

In the sight of God and man.

Zechariah 7:8-10

8 Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah saying,

9 “Thus has the LORD of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother;

10 and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’

It’s not hard when we read these verses to understand how we are to show mercy. We simply follow God’s commands toward us. No one is deserving of our mercy, and we aren’t deserving of the mercy of others. We show mercy because God is merciful. And more than that, Jesus is our example that we are to always be merciful and compassionate to those in need. In the parable of the Samaratin (Luke 10), Jesus said that it was the Samaratin whom had compassion on the injured man, and cared for him.

Conclusion:

So, to conclude our study, I hope you’ve begun to see the scope of God’s mercy, and just how far it can reach, and everything that it effects, both good and bad, both in your life, and the lives of others. And I’d hope you’d understand at this point why a poem such as Footprints, while a nice poem, doesn’t even scratch the surface of God’s merciful work in our lives. A.W. Pink finishes this chapter of his book with a verse from a hymn that I don’t ever remember hearing. And when I looked it up, I was stunned by how perfectly it sums up all that we’ve been talking about. It’s a hymn titled, When All Thy Mercies, O My God, which was written by Joseph Addison in 1712, and I’d like to share with you just the abridged version from my hymnal (The original being 13 verse long):

When All Thy Mercies, O My God

When all Thy mercies, O my God,

My rising soul surveys,

Transported with the view,

I’m lost in wonder, love and praise.

Unnumbered comforts to my soul

Thy tender care bestowed,

Before my infant heart conceived

From whom those comforts flowed.

When worn with sickness, oft hast Thou

With health renewed my face:

And, when in sins and sorrows bowed,

Revived my soul with grace.

Thro’ every period of my life

Thy goodness I’ll pursue,

And after death, in distant worlds,

The glorious theme renew.

Amen.

‬‬‬‬‬‬

That’s poetry. To acknowledge that God is at work, acting mercifully toward His redeemed children at all times. So much so that we can’t even fathom counting them with numbers. I would pray that the contemplations of our hearts, as we approach the ends of our respective journeys would sound a lot like this hymn. Praise God for His mercy, and may He bless us all through it, for the sake of Christ.

Amen.

* It is acknowledged that the final verses in the gospel of Mark may have been late additions to the text (in fact there is scriptural evidence to support the claim). However, they have used in this work to reflect biblical truths that are cited elsewhere is scripture, though, perhaps not as concisely.

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