“Mercy: that benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.”
This definition of ‘mercy’ is found in Webster’s 1828 dictionary, and accurately describes the denotation and connotation of the word. The meaning of the word simply means to not make someone pay for something they deserve to pay for, but the emotions the word carries is far more than that. Mercy brings to mind love, compassion, pity and most frequently, God; for God is the epitome of mercy.
Who is God? Is He some unattainable Being that set the world into motion, then left us to our own devices? Is He cruel and uncaring, or does He really care about us?
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
If God thinks about us, don’t you think that He cares about us? Yet over and over, in the past and to this day, we continue to turn from Him, and even to criticize Him! The Israelites did this in Ezekiel’s day. They turned from the Lord’s law to go after other gods, and when He offered His full forgiveness, His mercy, they mocked it!
“…if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right…he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.
[but] a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood… that doeth not any of those duties, but… hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination… shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.
But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.”
“Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal.”
Right here, God promises His mercy to anyone that will truly repent; and Israel says it’s not enough. Israel’s problem was not that God wouldn’t take them back; it was that they didn’t want to go back. This is a problem today just as much as it was 3,000 years ago. God freely offers His mercy, but we are too proud to take it. ‘I’m ready to accept it’, you say, ‘but what do I need mercy for? I’m a pretty good person…’ There is one great big huge reason that you need mercy—you’ve sinned. There is not one person in the world that can say they’ve never done anything wrong, save Jesus Christ.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…”
When we sin, we wrong God, and He has instituted a payment for that wrong— death.
“For the wages of sin is death…”
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
The only way that we can avoid that second death is to somehow become righteous.
“For I [Jesus] say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Yet Isaiah says that,
“…all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…”
Our righteousnesses are so little that they don’t even count as righteousness! How then can we be saved?!
“And he [Noah] believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.”
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
If we believe God, He will impute righteousness to us.
“…to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Not because we deserve it, not because we’ve worked for it, but because He’s merciful.
“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”
There are no requirements for His mercy. You don’t have to pay a lot of money, or live inside a cave, or do a lot of good deeds. God’s request is that we repent of our sins, and call upon Him in faith.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Even after salvation, we still commit sins. This does not mean that we become “unsaved”. While sin will affect our relationship with God, it will not affect our salvation.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…”
Salvation is not dependent upon us, it’s dependent upon God. Only His mercy can save us. Won’t you accept His offer in faith today?