Point/Counterpoint on Mercy

Based on how frequently people quote Scripture, there is primarily one passage in the Bible on who God shows mercy to:

“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
–Romans 9:15

That’s it. That’s the only verse in the whoooooole Bible on receiving God’s mercy. Want God’s mercy? Tough, you better hope you won God’s Lottery son, cuz there’s no other way to get it.

Yup, the only verse in the Bible about mercy shows that God, on a whim, dishes it out. I know, I know, you were hoping for mercy to actually be merciful, actually attainable to those who need it. Well, tough.

Counterpoint: Fortunately for all of us, the Bible contains more verses than most quote. Amidst the verses that people don’t quote are many gems. Absolute gems. Take the following:

“With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.”
–2 Samuel 22:26

Wow! You mean I might have a shot? Yup, you might. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Rather than worrying about how God saves and doesn’t save, take care of what He said to do.

8 thoughts on “Point/Counterpoint on Mercy”

  1. I am so thankful that I have been willing to show mercy because it turns out I sure have needed a lot of mercy.


  2. Another way of viewing this is to see that God’s will (as in “I will have mercy on whom I will..”) is defined in His law, as the scripture said prophesying of Jesus, “I delight to do Thy will, Oh my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8). God’s law = God’s will.

    And one of the “weightier matters of the law” is “mercy”. (Matt. 23:23)

    God acts out of His character, and that is defined for us in His law. His law defines righteousness, and He wants to write that law into each heart. Therefore, all may have mercy.

    But those who despise His law and turn away from His righteousness will not have mercy. Those are the only ones upon whom He does not want to show compassion, because to do so would be to support sin.

    Pharaoh turned away from God’s generous offers, therefore in the end, he did not receive mercy.

  3. “There is no one righteous, not even one;
    there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
    All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”

    Did people all of a sudden learn to be good? Did we of our own ability decide, yes I think I will bend my knee to God and serve Him?

    Or does God change people’s hearts?

  4. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”

    Jeff, what do you suppose Peter means by saying that Christ’s followers are “chosen”, and a “special people”? That it something about us, apart from God that is special? Or is it the fact that indeed God has chosen us, that He has freed our hearts to be able to chose Him, and that is what makes us special?

    It’s an either or situation, either we are special because God chose us, or we are special because we chose God. And in which case does God receive more glory? May God receive all the glory!

    God is merciful to everyone, He desires that none should perish, but that all would be saved.
    ‘that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”-2 Cor. 5:19
    All of us will be accountable as to how we either acccept, or reject God’s mercy.
    Everyone is free to make their choice about Christ, and God’s mercy!

  5. The point of this post was to emphasize that there is something we can do to receive God’s mercy. Rather than fixate on what God does and does not do, we are responsible for our response. Those who are merciful receive mercy. We should deal with this rather than immediately fall into how God saves and “pass the buck” to get us off the hook for what God has told us to be responsible for.

  6. Jeff,
    I’m sure there are many Mormons who are merciful, along with Hindus, and many other followers of the religions of man.
    Yes we are to be merciful, but what is our motive behind it? It must be done with a heart that glorifies God, otherwise it is just a moralistic endeavor.

  7. In my understanding of biblical mercy, it is not possible for a mormon or hindu to show mercy. The only way to show mercy is the mercy of God as shown through Jesus Christ. Without this knowledge of true mercy there can be no right expression of mercy. One cannot show true mercy apart from faith, nor can one know faith apart from mercy.

  8. Jeff,
    I agree with you 100% that true mercy can only be shown by someone who is trusting in God’s mercy. I guess I didn’t see your point clearly when reading your post, so I stand corrected, you are right on.

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