What is one of the most important attributes of God? There are so many that we can point to including His love, holiness, and graciousness, but one that is essential for us to understand is His mercy.
When we describe God as being merciful, we’re talking about the compassion He shows to humanity.
Naturally, you might ask, how does He show compassion to us? There are at least two ways.
The first is God’s withholding of something from us. From a day-to-day perspective, that can look like us not getting what we wanted because sometimes what we want, even a really good thing, isn’t actually what’s best for us, so God withholds it for our good. But on a spiritual level, God withholds something more significant: punishment for sin. From the beginning, God said that the consequence of sin is death. But from the beginning, this death has been delayed. When we sin, we don’t typically drop dead immediately. Instead, we keep living, though we do experience other consequences.
So why does He do this? That speaks to God’s mercy to us in what he offers us: the gospel, the forgiveness of our sins. In His mercy, God sent His son, Jesus Christ, into the world to take the punishment our sin deserves, dying in our place for our sins, so that by faith, we can have life in Him.
God doesn’t show compassion to us because He has to. His mercy can’t be earned, and it isn’t deserved. He shows compassion because He chooses to, freely and gladly showing compassion to all for our good and His glory.