By Elizabeth Prata
Mercy. A beautiful quality of God. Here is CARM.org’s definition of mercy and how it differs from grace:
“Mercy is the act of not administering justice when that justice is punitive. Because of our sinfulness we deserve death and eternal separation from God (Rom. 6:23; Isaiah 59:2), but God provided an atonement for sin and through it shows us mercy. That is, He does not deliver to the Christian the natural consequence of his sin which is damnation. That is why Jesus became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21) and bore the punishment due to us (Isaiah 53:4-5). It was to deliver us from damnation. (Compare with justice and grace.)”
“God saved us according to His mercy (Titus 3:5) and we can practice mercy as a gift (Rom. 12:8). “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).“
Mercy is not grace.
“Biblically, grace is unmerited favor. It is God’s free action for the benefit of his people. It is different than justice and mercy. Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. In grace we get eternal life, something that, quite obviously, we do not deserve. But because of God’s love and kindness manifested in Jesus on the Cross, we receive the great blessing of redemption.”
Sometimes we think to ask for mercy from God. The tax collector was commended for his humble appeal for mercy to Holy God.
“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” (Luke 18:13)
Here is something to think of even further. There are many people who say they are watchmen. As a matter of fact, we are all called to “watch.” In Mark 13 between verses 33 and 37 Jesus said to “watch” four times! He said to watch for His coming, and to pray. Watch for the householder. Stay awake and watch. And He finished by saying “what I say unto you I say unto all.” So we all are supposed to be watchmen.
So we watch.
But there is more to do than simply watch. What else are Christian watchmen supposed to do? Well, pray, as stated above.
We also share the good news of salvation.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they seethe return of the Lord to Zion.” (Isaiah 52:7-8).
But there is something else we can do besides watch, pray, warn, and share the Good News. It’s mercy. The prophets of old often warns, often shared the good news, but one of their jobs was to plea for mercy before God on behalf of the people.Do we pray to God for mercy for our people?
The tax collector was praised for acknowledging his own hopeless state, and pled for mercy to God who dispenses mercy.
After we remove the log from our eye and repent of our daily sins, (so we are not prayerful hypocrites) when we pray, plea for mercy for your church family too. We should pray and plead for mercy for our brethren.
Paul asked the Lord to grant mercy on the house of Onesiphorus–
“May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains,” (2 Timothy 1:16)
In his salutation,Paul often wrote that he asked the Lord to show mercy to his loved ones as in this example:
“May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” (Jude 1:2)
I believe that when we pray for mercy for others by name or in groups, it is harder for us to be critical of them, and it makes it possible to love them even more. Because, He loves us and showed mercy…not dispensing our earned justice of His wrath but instead He mercifully reconciled us to Him through Jesus.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
“for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,” (Isaiah 61:10b)
Pray for mercy for the people you love.