A couple of articles ago, we discussed the subject of grace. This time, we will discuss the subject of mercy. Grace and mercy are often confused in definition and in context. Since, we have already clearly defined what grace is, we will now clearly define mercy. So let us dive into the topic of mercy.
Grace, as defined in our last article, was “something that is given that is not deserved”. Mercy, however, is defined as “not getting something we deserve”. For example, we deserve spiritual death for our sins (Romans 6:23), but God allows a way for us to take so that we can live eternally with Him. 1 Peter 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”. Because of the mercy of Almighty God, we can be born again, spiritually. But isn’t this just like grace? He’s giving us eternal life, even though we don’t deserve it. The answer to that question is yes, grace and mercy go hand-in-hand. God shows us grace by giving us a gift that we don’t deserve and that gift is Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). And through this gift, we also receive mercy because we deserve to die, but he has given us another path. In other words, even though we deserve death, God is showing mercy by giving His Son to die for us, so that we don’t have to perish eternally, even though we deserve it. Now that is true mercy.
We are also told to be merciful. Luke 6:36 says to, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” We also see that if we are merciful, we will receive mercy. Matthew 5:7 states, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”. If we show mercy to others, we will be shown mercy by God. The question is, “how do we show mercy to others?”. What does mercy look like? The first thing we must realize is that to show grace and mercy, we must have love. These three go together. The apostle Paul makes this point in Ephesians 2:4-5 which says, “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.” Therefore, since these three go together, we can simply look at a definition of love to determine what grace looks like. A great definition is found in 1 Corinthians the 13th chapter. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” If we do these things, we will be showing not only mercy, but grace as well.
We also see in the 13th chapter of Corinthians that love never fails. In Lamentations 3:22-23 it says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”. His mercies never come to an end, and love never fails. Psalm 25:6 says, “Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.” Mercy and love, along with grace go together.
God has shown His mercy from the beginning of time. From Joseph, to King David, to giving us His one and only Son, God is a God of mercy. Micah 7:18 says, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” We must remember, however, that we are called to show mercy as well. God shows us unfailing love and we must remember to show people the same love He shows us.