Understanding Mercy

Understanding Mercy

Mercy: Eager love-in-action; steadfast kindness; loyal compassion; faithful favor; the ardent desire to do good to someone; the deep love reserved for someone in an intimate relationship, and if there is no prior relationship, the strong desire to treat someone as if that relationship existed.


“Without the word ‘mercy,’ the Bible is a dead book in which there is no revelation of God at all.”

“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”  (Micah 7:18-19)

2. “The root of all of God’s activity in this world, beginning even with the world’s creation, is Mercy.”

“The Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world… For a child has been born to us, and authority has settled on his shoulders. He has been named ‘The Mighty God is Planning Grace; The Eternal Father, a Peaceable Ruler.’ O LORD, You are my God; I will extol you, I will praise Your Name. For You planned graciousness of old, counsels of steadfast faithfulness.” (Rev. 13:8; Isaiah 9:5 and 25:1; Tanakh version)

3. “Mercy is the cause and reason of all that God does. God does nothing, absolutely nothing, except as an expression of His Mercy.”

“I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my Name… ‘The LORD! The LORD! A God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin.” (Exodus 33:19, 34:6-7)

4. “His Mercy stretches out to both extremes of infinity. All we will ever discover of God will be the deepening levels of His great, abundant, overflowing, rich, endless Mercy.”

“I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth.” (Psalm 108:3-5)

5. “When we deal with God, everything is Mercy. Everything else that can be said of God is but an aspect of His Mercy.”

“Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that he humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8)

6. “‘For His Mercy endures forever’ lies under each line of Holy Scripture, and is the eternal song of the saints.”

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and call upon His Name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; His faithfulness endures from age to age.” (Psalm 100:3-4)

7. “It is better to limit belief in God’s power than to dampen faith in God’s mercy. Between mercy and power, mercy takes precedence – and to the mercy of Heaven there is no limit.”

“The Lord’s mercies never cease, His compassions never fail. They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, He is all I have, therefore I have hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)

8. “Mercy is the defining explanation of everything that God has revealed of Himself. Mercy is the explanation of every single thought that God has with respect to us.”

“‘I beseech you, Lord,’ he prayed, ‘is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? This is why I fled at first to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in kindness, loathe to punish.” (Jonah 4:2)

9. “Mercy rather than justice is regarded as the outstanding attribute of God.”

“Rend your hearts rather than your garments, and turn back to the Lord your God. For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in kindness, and renouncing punishment.” (Joel 2:13)

10. “Beyond all mystery is the mercy of God. It is a love, a mercy that transcends the world, its value and merit. To live by such a love, to reflect it, however numbly, is the test of religious existence.”

“We are only on the outer fringes of Your works! How faint the whisper we hear of You! I am unworthy – How can I reply to You? I put my hand over my mouth. Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 26:14, 40:4, 42:36)

11. “The encounter with God’s Mercy, a celebration of God’s sustained and abundant Mercy, is the root of all Christian worship.”

“The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: ‘He is good; His mercy endures forever.’ Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.” (2 Chron. 5:13-14; see also 2 Chron.7:3, and Ezra 3:11)

 Bold Italics: #1 is Brother Rex Andrews from his book What the Bible Teaches About Mercy; #7 (Heavenly Torah), and #9 (A Passion for Truth), and #10 (God in Search of Man) are from Abraham Joshua Heschel; all the remaining quotes are from Rev. Patrick Henry Reardon’s book Christ in the Psalms.

Italics: Verses from Holy Scripture, various translations.

*Compiled by Steve Larson.

Final Thought: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great Mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)

One Reply to “Understanding Mercy”

  1. What a great post, Steve! And it is all the more undergirded by its Christmas timing of God’s mercy through the gift of His Son. Thank you for this beautiful description of mercy!