The mercifulness of our verse 7 text is the spiritual fruit of the new nature and new creation born of the Holy Spirit within the surrendered child of God. It is put into practice when we contemplate and consider the wondrous grace, compassion, and long-suffering patience of God toward someone as unworthy as ourselves. The more I consider God’s sovereign mercy to me, the more I think of the forever fire and hell from which I have been continuously delivered – all made possible through the sufferings and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. The more conscious I am of my indebtedness and gratitude for His grace and mercy, the more merciful I am determined to act toward those who wrong me, work to undermine and speak negatively of me. It leads me to pray…
Father, I beg You for a full and righteous heart of mercy towards those who blame and hate me.
Being merciful is one of the undeniable attributes/virtues of the spiritual nature that one receives as a new creation in Christ Jesus. Mercifulness in the people of God is a clear reflection of the endless mercy that is found in the character and nature of our heavenly Father – He is merciful. Being merciful is one of the natural and necessary consequences of a merciful Christ indwelling us. It may not always be practiced or given; it may at times be resisted or repressed by the weakness of our flesh. But when the core character and main traits of a Christian are recalled and spoken of by others it is clear that mercifulness is an unmistakable trait of one who followed and obeyed Christ.
“The wicked borrows, and does not pay back; but the righteous shows mercy, and gives freely.”
- Here are a few Biblical examples of the mercy Jesus taught and blessed…
- It was mercy in Abraham, after he had been wronged by his nephew Lot, that caused him to petition and secure his deliverance from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 14:1-16).
- It was mercy on the part of Joseph, after his brethren had so grievously mistreated him, that caused him to freely forgive them (Genesis 50:15-21).
- It was mercy in Moses, after Miriam had rebelled against him and the Lord had smitten her with leprosy, that “caused him to cry, “Heal her now, O God, I beseech You” (Numbers 12:13).
- It was mercy that caused David to spare the life of his enemy Saul when that wicked king was in his hands (1 Samuel 24:1-22; 26:1-25).
In Romans 12:8 the Apostle Paul gives significant instruction regarding the right spirit in which mercy is to be practiced and shared: “he that shows mercy” is to do so “with cheerfulness.” The context here is of course to giving money for the help and support of poor or those in circumstantial need, but the principle of the merciful really applies to all compassion shown to the afflicted.
Mercy should be motivated out of personal gratitude and shared cheerfully, to give witness that it is not only done voluntarily but that it is also a joy and pleasure. If someone has to ask, “can you please show a little mercy here”, we probably have missed our “blessed are the merciful window.” Mercy cheerfully and lovingly shared considers the feelings of the one needing mercy, and comforts the sorrow of the one who is suffering. To add to that, we must understand it is the sincerity and quality of cheerfulness that gives most value to the mercy given. The Greek word for merciful in this context is eleemon or eleos and carries the meaning of one who is happy, joyful, eager, a contentment or pleasantness that makes the merciful giver like a comforting and warming the heart to the afflicted. The scripture tells us that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7), which is why the spirit in which we respond to His call to becoming merciful a significant one.
The second part of the verse 7 says,
“For they will obtain mercy.”
These words express a principle or law that God has ordained in His lordship and covering over our lives here on earth. It is summarized in that familiar passage in Galatians 6:7: “Whatever a man sows, that will he also reap”. The Christian who is merciful in his dealings with others will receive merciful treatment at the hands and heart of his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
“for with what measure you judge, it will be measured back to you again”
“He that follows after righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor.”
“The merciful man does good to his own soul.”
There is an inward satisfaction in the exercise of benevolence and pity to which the highest gratification of the selfish man is not to be compared.
“Happy is he that has mercy on the poor.”
So this is what mercy must become to us – there is no other way.
“For they will obtain mercy.”
Not only does the merciful Christian grow from the happiness and contentment that is filling and nurturing his or her own soul through the willful practice of this grace – but the promise of Jesus is that a full measure of mercifulness will come back to us when we need it most from those whom we have been merciful.
“With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless.”
On the other hand, Jesus admonished and instructed with these words:
“But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
The apostle Paul would follow in the same context.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
“For they will obtain mercy.”
Like the promises attached to the previous Beatitudes, this one also looks forward to the future and the world to come for its final fulfillment.
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
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