Have you ever pondered the attributes of God? It can be a challenge for our small minds to comprehend the defining attributes of an infinite God. For instance, God is omnipresent. He is everywhere, at the same time. There is no place in the universe, where God is not. Or how about the fact that God is omniscient? God knows everything. Every detail of everything, since day one of creation, and before that. These two attributes alone will melt your brain, especially if you attempt to consider all the implications of these abilities.
If God is everywhere and knows everything then that spells trouble for us. We all know that we have done and said sinful things that we would prefer to keep hidden. God knows our complete history of thoughts, statements, and deeds. Fortunately, God has another attribute that is equally powerful as his others, and that is His mercy.
God’s mercy is both limitless and eternal. In Ephesians 2:4-5, Paul writes, “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.”
God’s mercy is defined as: “God not giving us what we deserve.” Our sinful condition and our capacity to return to our sinful behaviors creates an eternal need for God’s mercy. His mercy is the only thing that keeps us from what we deserve, the eternal punishment and separation from God.
Deuteronomy 4:31 states, “For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” The prophets and writers of the Old Testament wrote volumes about God’s mercy. They saw ‘first-hand’ God’s mercy applied to the people of Israel when they did nothing but reject God to his face. Their experiences and history prove God’s capacity to supply mercy to our soul, and draw us back to him.
King David in Psalms 103:8 writes, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” David was no stranger to breaking God’s laws and fulfilling his own wicked desires. David was also open to God’s spirit, and he was quick to turn from his sin and seek repentance. David and others wrote extensively on his bad choices, but also about how God extended him mercy despite his failures.
Another picture of God’s mercy is displayed in the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke chapter 15. The son demanded his inheritance early, left his Father’s home, and then wasted his inheritance with sinful living. When the son realized his desperate life condition, he decided to ask his Father for mercy. Luke 15:21-24 recounts the Father’s response, “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”
This is a perfect picture of how God sees us when we turn to him and repent of our sin. When we place our faith in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, we are forgiven for our sins and saved from the fear of punishment. We become God’s sons and daughters. He welcomes us with open arms and pours out his mercy on our lives, removing the guilt and shame of our actions.
Spend some quiet time this week pondering the greatness of God’s mercy. What has God’s boundless mercy done for you?