The salutation.

Grace and mercy to you beloved in the name of Christ. I pray that your faith in Christ may be getting stronger and purer every day that the Lord grants you life.

Remember as always if you have any questions from these studies or any of the sermons I have on line or even any Bible questions please feel free to contact me at:  And if you remember, please pray for me that I would be increasingly faithful to God’s word both in my teaching and in my practice. Please pray that God would bless my ministry of His word. I appreciate your prayers for me.

Today is our seventh study in our Beatitude and Similitude study series. We began with two introductory studies so today is actually Beatitude number five. There are eight total Beatitudes, the last being, blessed are the persecuted. Today we are looking at Christ telling us that we are blessed by Him when we are merciful.  Or another way to state it, believers in Christ are merciful people. And because we are in Christ therefore, we are blessed. And to be in Christ means we are the recipients of God’s mercy.

The scripture.

Let’s read our Scripture passages together. Read Mt.5:1-7.  

Matthew 5:7. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Luke 6:35. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.  36. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  

The subject of mercy.

We might say the first four beatitudes speak to the Christian’s attitude towards God and the beatitudes that follow consider the Believer’s relations with other men.  Hungering for righteousness to God. Mercy towards man. This follows the same pattern as the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer.  (Exod.20:1-11, 12-17, Mt.6:9-10, 11-13)

The definition of mercy.

Mercy is compassion or forbearance to an offender. So somehow not claiming our rights against those that have offended against us or to the one subject to our power. Sometimes the word for this is clemency. Clemency is mercy extending leniency or moderating a punishment due.   (Job 6:14, Col.3:12)

Mercy is also compassionate treatment to those in distress. Mercy is to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need, to have compassion or pity one someone in difficulty.   

Mercy is an inward disposition of heart that moves us to do acts of mercy.  Here is a Scripture verse that speaks to mercy.  

Romans 9:15.  He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.   

Let’s consider various elements of mercy.

In this way we see that mercy is not merely something negative; not doing something towards another human being.  But mercy is extending positive good towards another. (Ps.25:6)

Proverbs 14:21. He who despises his neighbor sins, But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.  

Many people wrongly think true Christianity is a set of “don’t do’s”.  What is the saying?  We don’t drink, smoke or chew or dance with the girls who do. 😊

For example, we don’t get drunk, we don’t curse and swear, we don’t fornicate, we don’t lie. And so on. This is fine. But this is not the extent of what God requires of us, just to abstain from things He has forbidden. God requires that we do positive duties towards our fellow man.

The two great commandments in the Bible are to love God and to love Man perfectly. (Mt.22:36-40)  

Mercy is love for those in misery.  Mercy is a forgiving spirit toward the sinner out of love to God and out of love to the sinner. Mercy embraces both the feeling and the act.  (Acts 9:36)

I John 3:16.  We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.   17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (Jas.1:23-27, Jas.2:12-18)

The Source of mercy.

Of course, the ultimate source and exemplar of mercy is the Triune God Himself.

In the Beatitudes Christ is essentially saying the born-again believer will imitate their heavenly Father and their holy older brother Jesus and their holy Comforter Spirit. (Titus 3:5)

Psalm 86:15.  But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.  16 Turn to me, and be gracious to me; Oh grant Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your handmaid.  17 Show me a sign for good, That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me. (Ps.145:8)

Luke 6:36  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  (Heb.8:12)

James 5:11. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

The Mediator of mercy.

Christ is the mercy of God extended to sinners.  Christ’s cross is the mercy seat wherein He satisfies the broken law for us.  (Exod.25:17-22)

John 3:14.  As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;  15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.  16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (Rom.8:32, see Phil.2:1-11)

God in Christ moves towards the miserable in their misery.  Immanuel comes to relieve our burden of sin.  Immanuel comes to rescue us from hell and Satan.  He rescues the perishing! (Jn.4:34, Isa.60:1-2, I Tim.2:6, Heb.10:7-10, Isa.58:6-11)

Hebrews 2:17.  Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a mercy and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

Luke 18:13. But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’  

We are to imitate God in Christ and be merciful to others as He is merciful to us. Amazing!  

The kind of mercy.

Before we look at the objects of mercy let’s address the kind of mercy Jesus says is blessed by God or of God.  

Natural mercy.

At the risk of sounding strange, Jesus is not saying that all acts of human kindness to other humans will results in God lavishing His blessings upon them irrespective of their faith in Him.

There is a natural kind of mercy that men may have and do have on other people without any reference to the God of the Bible. This comes from the remaining image of God in man. Hindus or Muslims or atheists may look with pity on a thirsty man and give him a cup of water.  This of course is right to do.  And we are thankful for it.

This natural mercy only has mercy on the physical or emotional misery of man.  Natural mercy does not seek to alleviate Man’s sin problem with God.  Natural man cannot do this because the natural man himself is spiritually dead in his sins and opposed to God’s mercy to sinners, which is in Christ alone.  (Rom.8:7)

Graced mercy.

But Christ is talking about the affections and actions of His disciples, those people that believe in Him as their Sin-Bearer Savior.  (Mt.5:1) Remember the Beatitudes are God’s blessings upon those “in Christ”.  Apart from Christ man is not blessed. (Jn.3:36)

Romans 9:23. And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

Matthew 5:11.  Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

Luke 6:36.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

God is our Father, in a salvific sense (not merely Father as Creator) by virtue of the adoption purchased for us by Christ.   (John 1:10-13, Rom.8:7-14, WCF 12.1, WLC 69, WLC 74)

Those born again in Christ, Believers, have mercy on men for Christ’s sake, because we love Christ.  This is the life and the love that Christ has for us coming out of us. (Gal.2:20)

This mercy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit within every Believer. (Gal.5:22-25, I Cor.3:16, I Cor.6:17-20, I Tim.1:1-2, 2 Tim.1:2, Heb.4:16, 2 Jn.1:3)

This is the blessed kind of mercy that Jesus is speaking about.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones has this insightful comment.  The Christian gospel places all its primary emphasis on being, rather than doing.  The gospel puts a greater wight upon our attitude that upon our actions.  A Christian is something before he does anything.  We have to be a Christian before we can act as Christians. (Lloyd-Jones, Studies on the Sermon on the Mount, p.81)

Let me read something to you from our secondary standards that summarizes what we have just said.  And this applies not just to mercy but all of what we would call good works.

WCF 16.2  These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith:(1) and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,(2) strengthen their assurance,(3) edify their brethren,(4) adorn the profession of the Gospel,(5) stop the mouths of the adversaries,(6) and glorify God,(7) whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto;(8) that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end eternal life.(9)

(1) James 2:18,22.  (2) Ps. 116:12,13; 1 Pet. 2:9.  (3) 1 John 2:3,5; 2 Pet. 1:5-10. (4) 2 Cor. 9:2; Matt. 5:16. (5) Tit. 2:5,9,10,11,12; 1 Tim. 6:1. (6) 1 Pet. 2:15. (7) 1 Pet. 2:12; Phil. 1:11; John 15:8. (8) Eph. 2:10.  (9) 6:22; (see WCF 16.1-7)

The objects of mercy.

Now let’s address the objects of mercy.

Man does not extend mercy to God.  There is nothing in God that needs mercy. God is immutably perfect in Himself.

God extends mercy to Man.  One, because Man needs mercy.  Two, because God is merciful.

Man extends mercy to man for three reasons.  One, because other men need mercy.  Two, because renewed in Christ, as recipients of divine mercy we are compelled to extend what we have received.  And three, we extend mercy to men because God requires it.  And we desire to do what He desires.  His commandments are not burdensome to us.

For our study we are looking at mercy extended to human beings.

I am not discounting acts of kindness to suffering animals.  In fact, God commands us to have concern for the lower creatures. God’s righteous children do have concern for the welfare of their animals.  And as God’s stewards we treat all of God’s creation for the glory of God.(Dt.5:14, Prov.12:10)

But here we are looking at mercy to men.  Man is a two-part creature.  We have a material part and an immaterial part, body and soul.  I will forebear the dichotomous versus trichotomous theological debate.  

The objects of our mercy are either upon the bodies of suffering people or upon the souls of suffering people.

Alleviating the misery of the body.

In mercy to the body we are trying to alleviate the bodily miseries of the sufferer.

When God created Adam and Eve there was nothing to make man unhappy.  Their bodies were sound.  And their spirits were holy.  All was well.

Because of the fall of Adam, God cursed the world to disruption, decay, and death.  Spiritual death occurred the moment sin entered the world.  The principal of physical death was likewise introduced immediately.  Subsequent the Fall, death works in our members from conception and birth.  (Gen.3:9-24, Eph.2:1-3, 2 Cor.4:2)

In God’s wisdom and kindness, He often permits men many years of physical temporal life until He calls for their death.  Even with this gracious reprieve, from the cradle to the grave Man is subject to all sorts of physical suffering.

Job 5:7.  For man is born for trouble, As sparks fly upward. (Job 7:6-7, 9:25)  

2 Corinthians 4:16.  Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

Let’s look at a famous passage that speaks of mercy to man’s outward needs.  

Luke 10:36.  Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”  37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”  (Read Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 25:31-40)

Alleviating the misery of the soul.

For the Believer in Christ we ourselves have experienced the mercy of God in Christ for our greatest misery – our sin against God.  God has had mercy on us for our sins against Him.  God has forgiven us and reconciled us to Himself by Christ’s blood.

This is key, in the Bible, divine mercy is especially towards immortal man as a sinner, wherein God delivers us from the estate of misery into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer. (WSC 23, 27, 30)

Listen to David.  

Psalm 51:1.  O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.  2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.   

The practice of mercy.

Now let’s consider to whom and how we practice extending mercy.

To whom.

Let’s be merciful to Christians who need sympathy and pity.

Galatians 6:9.  Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.  10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Let’s be merciful to non-Christians who need sympathy and pity.

Matthew 5:44.  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Remember the mercies of God that you have received in Christ. (2 Cor.1:1-4, Eph.4:32)  

Put yourself in the position of the sufferer.  Think and feel for their grief as if it were your own.  Use your spiritual senses – faith.  Use your physical senses.  Look for suffering, listen for it, and chiefly – feel for it.

And then act.  (Mk.6:34, Neh.1:3-4, 2:5) Seek for ways to alleviate their suffering and to bring them comfort.  (Mk.5:5, Amos 1:11) Mercy is an active, thinking, striving thing, with a goal – to relieve suffering.   We hear the groans of our neighbor, and we do not walk away or shut our eyes.

Provide material relief as you have ability and opportunity.  (Mt.25:34-35, Jas.1:27, Prov.14:21, 21:13, WCF 26.1-2)

Correct sinners concerning their sin.  Warn people about the dangers of sin and the penalties of sin.  (Lev.19:17, Titus 1:13, Jude 23) Remember, speak to them of their sin as a forgiven sinner in Christ. Speak to them of the forgiveness in Jesus. Read the Bible to them and with them.

Pray for others.  Pray that God would bless them and do good to them and theirs.  (Jas.5:16, Acts 20:9-12).  Speak a kind and encouraging word to them.

The blessings of extending mercy.

Finally, Christ promises a divine blessing of mercy upon us for our extending mercy to others.

This is certain not God paying us a wage due, as if we merited our own mercy.  The very concept of mercy annuls any concept of merit for us.  The mercy we receive from God for living to His honor is His gracious reward to us.  Given to us as a pure love gift in Christ.  (Mt.18:23, 25:31, Rom.15:7-27, 2 Cor.1:3, Eph.4:32, 5:1, Col.3:12)  

Extending mercy to others shows us that we are truly in Christ.  Being merciful for Christ’s sake shows that we truly have tasted God’s mercy, that we have the Holy Spirit conforming us into Christ’s image.

Professing Christians that do not actually extend mercy show their true colors.

IF we do not show mercy, whatever else we may say religiously, we are pretenders.

Robert Harris says, pray until your knees wear out, watch out for sin until your eyes wear out, and fast from food until your spirit wears out, these are all nothing without mercy. (Jas.1:26, I Cor.13:1, Jas.2:12-14)

James 2:13. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Extending mercy attracts men to Christ.  Extending mercy provides a platform to present the gospel of Christ to them.  Being merciful is a good witness, and a powerful witness to the saved and the unsaved.

Mercy is like the gentle answer that turns away wrath.  Mercy is a gentle trait that attracts similar responses from others.  It is hard to be angry with a merciful person, especially if they are extending mercy to you or to your family.  You reap what you sow. (Hos.10:12)

Extending mercy glorifies God.  And this is our chief delight.  And He promises us that He will give us what delights our heart – Himself!

Beloved recipient of God’s mercy in Christ, someday very soon God will give you your reward.  You will be in the presence of your merciful Savior, basking in His mercy, forever! (Gen.15:1, 2 Jn.1:8, Rev. 22:12-21)

I Chronicles 16:34.  O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. (Ps.110:5, Ps.138:8, Jer.33:8-15)


Study Questions

  1. What does the pattern of God first and man after God seen in the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer teach us? What does this teach us about our attitude and relationship to God? And to our fellow Man?  (Exod.20:1-11, 12-17, Mt.5:2-6, 7-9, Mt.6:9-10, 11-13, WSC 64, 65, WLC 127-131)
  1. What is mercy? Define mercy. What are some related terms or words?   (Rom.9:15-16, Job 6:14, Col.3:12, Ps.25:6, Prov.14:21, Acts 9:36, I Jn.3:16-18, Jas.1:23-27, Jas.2:12-18)
  1. What is natural mercy? What is the mercy of the unconverted non-Christian? Give examples.  Is this mercy blessed by God?  Why?  Why not?  Is this mercy considered by God a good work?  Why?  Why not?  (Rom.1:31, Rom.8:7, Prov.12:10, Rom.3:10-18, WCF 16.1-7)
  1. What is graced mercy? Why or how is this different than natural mercy?  To whom is Christ speaking in the Beatitudes?  What class of persons are blessed by God and why? (Mt.5:1-12, Jn.3:36, Jon.3:16, Lk.6:36, John 1:10-13, Rom.8:7-14, WCF 12.1, WLC 69, WLC 74, Gal.2:20, Gal.5:22-25, I Cor.3:16, I Cor.6:17-20, I Tim.1:1-2, 2 Tim.1:2, Heb.4:16, 2 Jn.1:3)
  1. Interact with the statement by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. “The Christian gospel places all its primary emphasis on being, rather than doing.  The gospel puts a greater weight upon our attitude that upon our actions.  A Christian is something before he does anything.  We have to be a Christian before we can act as Christians.”
  1. How and why are the Triune God and Christ specifically the greatest expressions of mercy? Give Scripture proofs.  Give examples from your own life.  What do we learn by this?  (Titus 3:5, Ps.86:15-17, Lk. 6:36, Heb.8:12, Jas.5:11, Exod.25:17-22, Jn.3:14-17, Rom.8:32, see Phil.2:1-11, Jn.4:34, Isa.60:1-2, I Tim.2:6, Heb.10:7-10, Isa.58:6-11, Heb.2:17-18)
  1. What kinds of people should we extend mercy to? Hint:  What kinds and classes of people did Christ extend mercy to?  What kind of people need mercy?   What kinds of miseries are we trying to alleviate?  (Jn.3:16, Rev.5:9, Gal.3:14-29, Gal.6:9-10, Mt.5:44-48)
  1. What are five or six practical ways we can show mercy? What are some helps for us to be more merciful? (Jn.3:16, 2 Cor.1:1-4, Eph.4:32, Mk.6:34, Neh.1:3-4, 2:5, Mk.5:5, Amos 1:11, Lev.19:17, Titus 1:13, Jude 23, Jas.5:16, Acts 20:9-12, Mt.25:34-35, Jas.1:27, Prov.14:21, 21:13, WCF 26.1-2)
  1. What do we conclude about a professing Christian that is not merciful to others? How should this inform and motivate us?  (Mt.7:12-29, Mt.18:21-25, Mt.6:14-15, Jas.1:26, I Cor.13:1, Jas.2:12-14, Hos.10:12, Gal.6:7-19, I Cor.13:1-3, I Jn.3:10)
  1. What is the blessedness Christ promises for the merciful? How long does divine mercy last? How does this affect and motivate you as a Christian?  (Mt.5:7, Lk.6:35-36, Mt.18:23, 25:31, Rom.15:7-27, 2 Cor.1:3, Eph.4:32, 5:1, Col.3:12, Gen.15:1, 2 Jn.1:8, Rev. 22:12-21, I Chron.16:34, Ps.110:5, Ps.138:8, Jer.33:8-15)



Comments are closed