What is mercy?
(Starts at 11)
Noun – Outward demonstration of pity, sympathy, or compassion. It is assumed that the recipient is in need of mercy, and the one showing it has adequate resources to meet the need.
Verb – Sympathy or compassion that is exhibited in actions.
Adjective – describing someone who is actively compassionate, not merely filled with pity.
Oiktirmos – compassion or pity, sometimes translated mercy.
Raham – appear in OT about 125 times. Verb to describe having compassion or being merciful. The noun form is sometimes translated as womb or bowels.
Hesed – appears in OT about 240 times. Most often translated lovingkindness, but also sometimes as mercy.
Much like the concept of repentance, it would seem that mercy originates as a feeling but manifests as an action.
Why would God give us mercy?
7 – Ephesians 2:1-7 – because of His great love for us
12 – John 3:16 – He loved us so much
13 – Ephesians 1:3-6 – for the praise of His glory
How can I receive mercy? What determines who gets God’s mercy?
14 – Titus 3:5-7 – it would not be mercy if we deserved it. The question of how we can receive mercy is not a question of how we can earn it. But with that being said, it is clear that only through Christ can we receive it.
15 – Hebrews 4:14-16 – when we draw near to his throne boldly THROUGH Jesus Christ.
16 – 1 Peter 1:3 – through Christ
17 – Galatians 3:26-27 – baptism puts us into Christ
18 – Matthew 7:21-23 – clearly this means more than simply calling Him Lord
Can I endanger or lose my status as a recipient of God’s mercy?
19 – Matthew 6:14-15 – Yes. If you refuse to forgive others, you will not be forgiven.
29 – James 2:13 – no mercy for the one who shows no mercy
Also by continuing to sin willfully after receiving a knowledge of the truth (Hebrews)
What if I don’t want to give someone mercy?
20 – Luke 6:32-37 – look at God’s example. He is kind to the ungrateful and evil.
19 – Matthew 6:14-15 – He has forgiven us.
4 – Matthew 18 – we ought to forgive others if we want Him to forgive us.
21 – Ephesians 4:32 – Forgive each other as Christ forgave you.
Is it ever appropriate NOT to be merciful? What about our system of law and order, or the death penalty? What about war?
22 – the death penalty was given for MANY crimes in the OT. This is not exactly “mercy” is it?
23 – John 1:17 – the law came through Moses, but grace through Jesus. Perhaps the days without mercy are over?
24 – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
25 – Galatians 5:19-21
26 – Ephesians 5:5 – all of these and so many more suggest that we are still accountable for our actions
27 – Romans 13:3-4 – The government is given authority by God to punish evil doers
God is love, and even when He punishes an evildoer, does He not love them? In His love, would He not feel pity for them? In this sense, is He not always merciful? However, in their rejection of Him, the acting out of His mercy towards them is rejected as well.
What do you think? How can man know when it is best to execute mercy and when it is best to execute swift judgment from a governmental standpoint? From a parenting standpoint? From a personal life standpoint?
How can we know when we should or should not be merciful?
22 – Consider the wellbeing of society.
28 – Hebrews 12:11 – Consider the wellbeing of the individual.
(Do not provoke your children to wrath)
Notice – authority to punish is always delegated by God: to government, to parents, to elderships and congregations over their members, not simply between any two random people.
How does God decide when He will or will not be merciful?
28 – Hebrews 12:11 – often God disciplines for our wellbeing
30 – Romans 2:4-8 – God’s mercy is patient for a long time, but it is possible to store up wrath by continuing to reject Him
Imagine if our government decided to be “completely merciful” by not punishing crime anymore. Would that actually be the merciful thing to do, or would it not actually result in a much more merciless society? In the same way