What does it mean in the Bible when scripture talks about God’s Mercy? How does God’s Mercy play a part in the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ?
Mercy defined in Webster’s Dictionary is “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”
In the Old Testament, God’s mercy or forgiveness without judgement is displayed over and over again as God pursues a relationship with His children. Like the Shepherd and sheep relationship spoken of in Psalms, you and I are the stubborn, selfish sheep who have no self-control. Without the Good Shepherd they and we find ourselves leaving the protection of the Shepherd for what we think is a greener pasture. This mercy God so freely gives is the deepest demonstration of God’s love. It is God’s patience in action.
The word “mercy’ in Hebrew has several words…
“Racham” means; to love or have compassion, to have a disposition of mercy in Psalm 116:5 NKJV “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful.”
“kaphar” means; forgive, cleanse, pardon or reconcile Deuteronomy 21:8 KJV “Be merciful, O Lord, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.”
“Kapporeth” means to cover, it is the cover for the Ark of the Covenant where atonement for sin was demonstrated, Exodus 25:22 KJV “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.”
“Chesed” means goodness, kindness or mercifulness in Psalm 136:1 NKJV “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
From these words we gleam a picture of how God’s mercy was a constant in the Old Testament. This is still true today however God took it up a notch…God laid aside His splendor, His position as the perfect and faultless One. He knew precisely the price that would be paid, the ridicule, accusations, rumors and gossip that would label Him a glutton, drunkard, friend of sinners…those society had cast away and He would even be called an imposter. His mercy demonstrated would involve physical suffering, mental anguish and spiritual agony. Yet He came…
In the New testament this word mercy takes on a deeper meaning…in the Greek there are two words;
“Eleemon” means to have pity on, to show compassion or to be merciful in Matthew 5:7 NKJV “ Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”
“Oiktirmos” means compassion or pity as well. It is the idea of divine forbearance in showing compassion and passing over sins. Romans 12:1 NKJV “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
His coming to earth as the Christ, as Jesus of Nazareth was a straightforward act of mercy, self-sacrifice that finished in the cross of Calvary for each of His children. He took the weight of sin for all of us and demonstrated His love and mercy…this is our Shepherd. Jesus told us Himself, that He had come that we might have life and have it abundantly. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV Salvation happens through God’s mercy completed through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Probably the most well-known verse in the Bible defines mercy best “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV
Mercy is God’s patience in action. This patience never wants us to perish, He is calling us to repent, but those who refuse will receive judgment as spoken of in 2 Peter 3:9 ad Proverbs 29:1. God desires today to extend mercy to all His children and that mercy is part of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The mercy seat of old was sprinkled with blood by the high priest but now Jesus Christ is our mercy seat…only through His mercy can we “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.”
Today, sweet sister receive the gift of God’s mercy through His Son Jesus Christ…a simple prayer of repentance and acknowledgement of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for you is needed.