God is merciful in all things
Rarely would anyone question God’s mercy. We know God is all-powerful and able to judge. Paul teaches in Romans how the attributes of God are revealed to all men, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20)
Yet we only see God’s mercy through His written Word. Paul writes, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” (Eph. 2:4) In what way do we see God’s mercy?
First, we see God’s mercy through forgiveness of sins. Daniel, in his prayer on behalf of the nation acknowledges God’s mercy, “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.” (Dan. 9:9) In fact, David who escaped God’s judgment, proclaimed God’s mercy in Psalm 86, “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” (Ps. 86:5) Man falls short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) and because of sin, man is separated from God (Rom. 6:23). Consequently, man deserves judgment in condemnation, but because of God’s mercy, God forgives and reconciles the world to Himself through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-20).
Second, God is merciful in correction. When God uses one believer to care-front another person, that correction is merciful. That correction prevents many more sinful choices from being made. James writes, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”(Jam. 5:19-20) Covering a multitude of sins or prevention of additional sins is a demonstration of great mercy.
Thirdly, we see God’s mercy in judgment of the wicked. God’s judgment on the wicked is actually a form of mercy, because that person or group of people are prevented from committing more wickedness and hence they have less of a harsh judgment than they might have had. Jesus explained that principle when He rebuked the wicked cities,
- 20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent:
- 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
- 22 “But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
- 23 “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
- 24 “But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” (Matt. 11:20-24)
Hence, God’s judgment is a tremendous form of mercy. When Joshua destroyed the wickedness of Canaan, that was the mercy of God in action, because it prevented greater wickedness from mounting up and spreading to other people. The wickedness is cut off and the punishment is kept at a lower level that it would have been. Unfortunately, the wicked will likely not give appreciation for God’s mercy. The wicked, however, will bow their knee and confess Jesus as Lord (Phil. 2:9-11)
God is merciful. God is merciful in forgiveness. God is merciful in correction. God is also merciful in judging and destroying the wicked. Have you praised God for His mercy today or thanked God for His mercy in forgiveness of your sins?