God is merciful and the Bible teaches that from Genesis to Revelation. Which are some of the top Bible verses on mercy?
I would describe mercy as something that we don’t receive (God’s wrath) even though we deserve it. To put it another way, it is what we do not get that we rightly have coming to us. Mercy is almost the opposite of grace. It is what we get which we do not deserve, however mercy is where we don’t get what we truly do deserve and that would be the wrath of God (John 3:35b). Mercy has been defined as putting someone out of their misery, but to me, in the way the Bible describes it, it is our avoidance of misery but at Christ’s expense (John 3:16-17). Mercy has also been seen as having compassion or forbearance to an offender that deserves punishment. It is God’s freewill decision to be kind and forgiving to those who are under His authority and power. There was only one time in all of history where God was unfair. God was merciless on the innocent Christ while pouring out His mercy on those who are guilty.
Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.”
A person that is merciful will receive mercy because they understand what it means to be forgiving. The question for those who refuse to be merciful is whether they are really saved or not for how can they not forgive when they’ve been forgiven? A saved person is naturally forgiving since they have been forgiven. That is why Jesus told us to be merciful because our Father has been merciful to us (Luke 6:36).
Genesis 39:21 “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”
Think you’re having a bad year? Think about Joseph. He was totally innocent but his brothers wanted to kill him but they ended up selling him into slavery and then he was falsely accused and thrown into prison. With all that was happening to Joseph, God still showed him favor. Some translations have “steadfast love” as being “mercy” and aren’t love and mercy cousins? Part of God’s mercy is sometimes allowing His children to enter into the hard places of life but even in all that happened to Joseph, “the Lord was with Joseph.”
Second Samuel 22:26 “With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless.”
Here is reaping and sowing at its pinnacle. If a person is merciful toward the undeserved, God is merciful to us who don’t deserve it. David was right. God shows that He is merciful by the display of mercy upon others who are of the same mind.
Titus 3:4-5 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”
Paul tells us that God saved us not based upon our works because that wouldn’t do it. Besides our works are really nothing more than filthy rags anyway (Isaiah 64:6) but God saved us according to His own mercy. This mercy was displayed by our being washed by the precious blood of the Lamb of God and then our regeneration by the Holy Spirit but there has been no better display of mercy than what was revealed on the cross.
First Peter 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
For people to say that I was saved is fine but we must acknowledge who that salvation came from. It is God who “has caused us to be born again” so we contributed nothing. This brings more glory to God for we know that salvation is fully a work of God and not of man so by His causing us to be born again, He reveals His mercy toward us by not giving us what we deserve and that of course would be the deserved wrath of God (John 3:18b, 3:36b).
Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness (or mercy), and to walk humbly with your God?”
God has told us, as revealed in His Word, what is good and what He requires of His people and that is to do justly, to walk in humility with God and to also lovingly display mercy. That is not a job requirement, that is expected of us. In both the Old Testament and the New, it is said that God desires mercy and not sacrifice (Matt 9:13; Hosea 6:6) so you could be the most generous person in the church (giving sacrificially) and yet without mercy, it means nothing.
Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Every time you see the words “but God” you know something good is to follow. That little word “but” means everything to us as in this case; “But God, being rich in mercy” toward “because of the great love which he love us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, [He] made us alive” by Christ’s redemptive work at Calvary. We were raised from this dead-in-our-sins condition by grace alone which can’t be earned. This is how His mercy will forever be displaying “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness (or mercy) toward us in Christ Jesus.”
If you haven’t yet been saved, then you have no mercy, which is the withholding of God’s wrath that was placed on Christ on behalf of those who have trusted in Him. If you have never repented and trusted in Christ, you will have to bear your own sins and God’s wrath for all eternity. That’s too costly for you my friend so I urge you to place your trust in Christ and receive what you nor I deserve; that is the mercy of God where He doesn’t give us what we truly deserve (His wrath) and then gives us what we do not deserve (His grace).
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon