In the last article we talked about one key trait that makes the salvation of our souls possible. And that is love. The love of Jesus is a terrific example of the love that we should have. But there is more to the sacrifice of Christ than just love. In Ephesians 2:3-5 Paul writes “Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. Love, mercy, and grace saves us from our sin. Part two of this series is about mercy. Didn’t Jesus have to have mercy or at the very least compassion for him to die? I believe he did and we can take a look at some scriptures to back up this statement. But first, what is mercy?
The definition of mercy from a common standard viewpoint means “the compassion or forgiveness shown towards a person from whom one’s power or authority to harm.” Basically it is not getting what you should deserve. For example if you commit a serious crime like robbing a bank, and you don’t receive any punishment from the judge, is considered mercy. You should be arrested and punished for what you have done but mercy stepped in and didn’t allow that to happen.
Now we could just as easily relate that to salvation couldn’t we? Jesus paid the ultimate price for the forgiveness of our sins. So when we commit sin we are free of them (Romans 6:18). Sounds like mercy to me. We do not deserve the eternal life God gives us, yet, through the sacrifice of his very own son we can have that hope of heaven with him for all of eternity. In Romans 6:23 it says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We should deserve death for our sins (which is hell). But the gift of God (mercy) is eternal life.
Now that we have a good solid definition of mercy we can start to explore this topic deeper and how it relates to our salvation. Even with mercy, does it look like God is allowing us to get away with sin? To some it might appear that way. But that’s not what God is doing. Romans 2:4 says “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” God is trying to show us how to live by showing us his kindness and patience, while also having mercy. Patience is a key ingredient to mercy. You can’t show someone mercy without having patience first. It just won’t work.
Think of the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:23-35). The master canceled the servants debts (merciful), yet when the servant saw a man who owed him money he demanded the money from him (not merciful). This parable from Jesus shows us a lot. Jesus is the master, he cancels our debts (sins) and we are the servants. He wants us to forgive others and not take his mercy for granted, but show it towards others. Jude 1:23 says “Snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear..” In Ezra 9:13 “What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this.” Even before Jesus came God showed his people mercy and gave them lesser punishments.
In conclusion of our study on mercy and how it relates to salvation, we found out that mercy is a gift and it is God not giving us what we deserve. Also we learned that without patience there is no mercy. Showing mercy towards our brethren is a result of receiving mercy. Titus 3:5 says “..he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Remember the sacrifice could not have happened without mercy.