Mercy:
The Biblical Truth

Dan Corner


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Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Mercy
Mercy

Mercy -- what a wonderful word it is, especially when understood. To be a recipient of mercy is great, but what about us showing mercy to others? How important is that? Part of the well-known beatitudes is the following:

 

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Mt 5:7)


We need God’s mercy, even after the point of initial salvation. Mt. 5:7 tells us how to be a recipient. We must be merciful to others to be shown mercy. Being merciful to others has multiple benefits. Hence, this should be one of the many personal goals of all Christians. James taught similarly:

 

Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! (James 2:13)


Woe to the unmerciful. There will be no mercy for them at the Judgment! That verse should be serious incentive for all those who are God fearing to be merciful. Clearly, at the Judgment, all will NOT be shown mercy! Only those who have been merciful to others will get mercy then. Here is another substantiating proof — Onesiphorus:

 

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. (2 Tim 1:16-18)


It seems that Onesiphorus was, at that point, physically dead. Paul mentioned the mercy Onesiphorus showed him by refreshing him when he was in prison and at Ephesus. Referring to his judgment Paul wrote: May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! Stirring.

Show Mercy by Forgiving Others

Some people are in for a painful awakening after their death because they have been deceived during their earthly life. They are not even aware they might not be shown mercy from God at the judgment. One definite way for you to be safeguarded from that is to show mercy to others, that is, to forgive people who have sinned against you. Jesus taught:

 

Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? (Mt 18:33)


Showing that type of mercy is a salvation issue, as the context shows. NOTE: The warning cited in verse 35 was spoken to the disciples:

 

In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. (Mt 18:34,35)


What a penetrating question Mt. 18:33 is for the unforgiving to ponder. That was spoken to one who would not forgive another who sinned against him, even after he asked for it and he himself received great mercy when he was forgiven of his own great debt (sins).


NOTE: To be unforgiving towards a person who has sinned against you will hurt you much more than the person you are holding that against. Unforgiveness is one of the devil’s most clever and common temptations on the saints designed to damn their souls. For you to keep yourself pure, you will have to walk in forgiveness towards others — being merciful. Such will enable you to find mercy at the judgment.


Besides Jesus’ teaching there, he also pointed out another way for us to show mercy to people:

 

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)


That refers to Jesus’ teaching of the good Samaritan. He was an example of showing mercy to a total stranger in great need. The Lord would have us all do the same.

God's Mercy,
Needed By All

When people are healed and/or delivered from demons, it is God’s mercy:

 

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” (Mt 9:27)

 

A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” (Mt 15:22)

 

“Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.” (Mt 17:15)

 

Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19)

 

Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. (Phil 2:27)


Again, most notably, we are saved by mercy:

 

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3:5)


Remember, the man who humbly and sincerely asked God for mercy got forgiven:

 

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner." I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 18:13,14)


We all get mercy at the point of salvation:


 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Pet 1:3)

 

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet 2:10)


Christians, at salvation, have passed from spiritual death to spiritual life (Rom. 6:13; 1 John 3:14), but also from being an object of God’s wrath (Eph. 2:3) to being an object of his mercy:

 

What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory (Rom 9:23)


At salvation, Paul was shown mercy:

 

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief .... But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (1 Tim 1:13,16)


On the basis that Christians received mercy, Paul makes the following point about holy behavior:

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. (Rom 12:1)


God saves people by mercy, but they must meet the conditions. (Those conditions are repentance and a submissive faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21; Heb. 5:9; Luke 8:21; James 2:26; etc.) God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5) and the God fearing get mercy:

 

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. (Luke 1:50)


Cornelius was an unsaved, God-fearing man before Peter gave him the gospel:

 

The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” (Acts 10:22)


After that he got God’s mercy for salvation, upon repentance and faith in Jesus. Elizabeth got mercy too regarding a different need:

 

Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. (Luke 1:58)


Some Christians have a special gift of showing mercy:

 

If it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Rom 12:8)


All prayer answers are a form of God’s mercy on us:

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb 4:16)


When God restored Job it was, in part, mercy:

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11)

God Wants All Saved

Besides all of that, we have Paul’s report on mercy. He certainly was no Calvinist. Not only did he often teach against the heresy of once saved always saved he also refuted the Calvinist lie of double predestination:

 

Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. (Rom 11:30-32)


God shows mercy when he forgives people at salvation and it is clear he wants to forgive all people. Therefore, he would like to save everyone. To think God has predestined some to be damned is outrageously unscriptural, but such is Calvinism. Related to all of this is the fact that God delights to show mercy:

 

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. (Micah 7:18)


In closing, let me again remind you of Jesus’ teaching on mercy:

 

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Mt 5:7)


GOD BLESS YOU.


Mercy


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A Form of Godliness (The Social Gospel)


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