Mercy (part 1 of 2)

How long has it been since you considered the mercy of God?

While the Bible contains many theological essentials, three of its biggest ideas are grace, mercy, and peace—in that order. (There is one exception in Galatians, but we will save that discussion for another letter.)

Grace precedes mercy and mercy precedes peace in Scripture. We know better than to write this sequence off as a coincidence. In fact, I’m not sure God has any coincidences. He describes Himself as more intentional than coincidence accommodates.

Grace has many definitions, most of which are correct, but the sum of them all still renders the heart of God beyond our comprehension. Suffice it to say, at a rudimentary level, grace is God pouring out His heart on us in hopes that we will respond to His invitation for eternal relationship with Him. While we were far from Him, destitute in soul and dead spiritually, irretrievably useless to God and sinful in our nature’s core, Jesus Christ—the personification of God’s heart—made a way for us to connect with God and become His children. This is grace.

As profound as grace is, it has a logical rationale. Even though the work of Christ is monumental, the logic of salvation is evident.

Mercy is closely associated with grace in that it too is an act of God. By definition, mercy presumes deep need in one person and assumes sufficient resources to meet that need by another person. As we consider our woeful failures, our need for comfort, the essential affirmation that we are valuable, as well as the urgent necessities to know we are secure, significant, and loved—not to mention our needs for guidance, reassurance, and wellbeing—we are faced with our need for mercy, our need for God to do something. And He does! He makes ample provision for all of our need.

As pervasive as mercy is, it is fundamentally irrational. While God had to do what He did in Christ in order for us to have relationship, He doesn’t have to provide mercy. But, He does.