Pristine Grace

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The Mercy of God
by Jim Byrd
The Mercy of God

"O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever" (Psalm 136:1).

     Mercy is an essential attribute of the glorious God of Scripture which He has been pleased to express to a multitude of sinners. If we understand mercy to be God withholding what we justly deserve, then we can easily see the vast extent of His kindness. Someone has said "anything this side of hell is mercy," and how true that is! No wonder the Psalmist declared, "His tender mercies are over all" (Psalm 145:9). Let us briefly look at three aspects of God's mercy:

  1. The Motive for God's Mercy. God shows saving mercy to sinful creatures to exalt and glorify Himself. There is not anything a sinner can say, think, or do to merit God's favor. His mercy flows freely; it is unmerited and totally undeserved.
     
  2. The Manner of God's Mercy. The exercise of God's mercy is always regulated by His sovereign will and pleasure. God is not influenced by anything other than that which pleases Him. Therefore He said to Moses, "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy" (Exodus 33:19). The Lord is not obligated to show His mercy on you or me. If He does bestow mercy on us and save our sinful souls, all the glory goes to Him, for salvation is a work which only God can perform. If He does not bestow mercy on us, and chooses rather to leave us in our spiritual darkness, this is His privilege. Then we will perish and forevermore suffer His wrath, which we so justly deserve, and His justice will be glorified. The granting of mercy is governed solely by God's free and sovereign pleasure.
     
  3. The Message of God's Mercy. God's mercy is only dispensed in, through, and by the Lord Jesus Christ. Outside of Him, God is a consuming fire set to destroy all workers of iniquity. But because of the personal worth and work of God's Son, the Lord can righteously express tender mercies toward the guilty. The message of God's mercy is that there is forgiveness and eternal life for every sinner who comes to God through Jesus Christ. Christ died for sinners, and all who come seeking mercy from Him, will receive it.