Ever since man’s first rebellion in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) God has been demonstrating his mercy to his creation. For the very fact that the instant that we sinned God did not wipe out everything with righteous and holy judgment is a testimony to his mercy.
To understand the weightiness of God’s mercy consider the short fuses and lack of patience that we have with other people. And frankly, our standards are far lower!! For consider that God demands perfection (Matthew 5.48) we just want people to act and think in accordance with us! If anyone has the right to be impatient and deficient in mercy it is God. But instead we read in the Scripture of God boasting in his mercy.
Psalm 86:15 15 But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
As amazing as the fact that God did not wipe out all of us immediately upon our rebellion, and as mind boggling as it is that God graciously bears with us, even enduring our sin, and as wonderful as it is that God even sees fit to help and comfort those who are hurting; these examples are not the supreme display of mercy.
The supreme display of mercy is the cross of the Savior.
For God did not just talk about forgiving sin or healing a broken people…HE DID IT!
And further…God did not just blindly forgive, without basis, and without regard for his character….He executed and endured the judgment.
The pinnacle of divine mercy in the scripture is the cross; for it is in the cross that we see perfect love and mercy clearly. Mercy is not motivated by deceit, but holiness. And the cross is the most holy manifestation of God possible!
On the cross we have Jesus Christ giving himself to redeem a people in bondage. Sinners are unable and unwilling to pay the infinite requirement of God’s justice…
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
John 3:20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
Instead we have Christ who is the only one able (Hebrews 7.25-28) and willing (Matthew 16.21). Jesus Christ is able to save and is willing to save. This is an amazing fact: God does not let all of those who hate him and want nothing to do with him other than to defame his glory stay in that posture. And this is mercy. God willingly acts to extend mercy to unworthy sinners. Where we deserve wrath he applies mercy.
And this is the beauty of the cross. God gives us not what we want be what we need…we want nothing to do with him….but he extends mercy….and by this wonderful and mind-blowing display, we now want everything to do with him!!
This is why the Apostle Paul is tripping over his parchment in Ephesians 1, he can’t get out of his own way he is so filled with praise for the unfathomable display of mercy:
Ephesians 1:3 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
And why? Why does God extend mercy? Why does God give sinners what they do not deserve?
It pleases him.
Same context as above:
Why does God save?
Ephesians 1:4-6 In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:10-12 In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:14 with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
God extends mercy because it pleases him.
Jesus Christ is the supreme display of divine mercy because his value is infinite, his cost was infinite, his sacrifice was infinite, his purchase price was infinite, and the divine pleasure that it brings is likewise infinite.
John 8:29-30 29 “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.
God speaking of the Son:
Matthew 12:18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.