Summary: The message deals with mercy. 1. The Principle of Mercy, 2. The Provider of Mercy, 3. The Power of Mercy, and 4. The Person of Mercy

Blessed Are the Merciful

Matthew 5:7


Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

We are now halfway through the beatitudes. The first four beatitudes deal with the inner attitudes of the heart and mind. We are to be "poor in spirit" or humble. We are to "mourn" over the destruction and loss caused by sin in our life and in the lives of others. We are to be "meek". Meek is a quality of strength under control much like a tamed horse that obeys its master. We are to "hunger and thirst for righteousness". Our drive and our need to survive is righteousness, acting right before Almighty God.

These are to be our character traits or be-attitudes if we are to live a blessed or happy life. The blessedness comes from seeking, knowing, trusting in, and obeying the Lord. All of the attitudes are needed if a person is to accept Christ as Lord and follow Him.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

1. The Principle of Mercy

This beatitude could be called the out flowing beatitude, for mercy must be shown. You can not be merciful without someone knowing its effects. Mercy is an outward expression, a manifestation of an inner attitude.

Rabbi Gamaliel is quoted in the Talmud as saying, “Whenever thou hast mercy, God will have mercy upon thee, and if thou hast not mercy, neither will God have mercy on thee.”

One word study said the word mercy (hëåïò) emphasizes the relief of misery with which grace covers. Webster’s gives a very clear picture of mercy. Mercy is defined as compassion or forbearance shown to an offender or subject, a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion, relief of distress; and compassion shown to victims of misfortune.

Bengel has said, “Grace takes away the fault, mercy the misery.” As you can determine from the definitions, mercy is an action word. It is an action that must be taken. Mercy can not be rendered unless there is decisive action taken to give it.

Some have described the practice of mercy or being Christ-like as a pond. There are outlets at both ends. God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy, and blessings flow in one end and we in turn are to allow those blessings to flow out to others. If we block one end our life will grow stagnant or worse, dry up.

2. The Provider of Mercy

The provider of mercy is God. He has the authority and right to give mercy. He is holy. He has been wronged by the sins of man and only He has the right to show us grace and mercy and forgive us those sins. You can not pay for your own sin with good works when the penalty is death. We can not possibly do enough good.

From Genesis to Revelation God has shown us His mercy. He showed His mercy by withholding His judgment. He showed His mercy with His chosen people by putting up with their grumbling and murmuring and even when His judgment came He kept a remnant of the faithful. God’s greatest act of mercy is His sending of His Son and in so doing allow us the choice to be forgiven, rid of sin and death forevermore.

Donald Barnhouse writes, "When Jesus Christ died on the cross, all the work of God for man’s salvation passed out of the realm of prophecy and became historical fact. God has now had mercy upon us. For anyone to pray, “God have mercy on me” is the equivalent of asking Him to repeat the sacrifice of Christ. All the mercy that God ever will have on man He has already had, when Christ died. That is the totality of mercy. There could not be any more…. The fountain is now opened, and it is flowing, and it continues to flow freely." (Romans [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983], 4:4)

The Lord has shown us mercy on the cross once and for all. He has forgiven our sins once and for all and in His mercy He has pardoned us completely and paid the account fully. We have no ability to redeem ourselves. We are hopeless and helpless against the power of sin. Scripture says we are objects of God’s wrath because of that sin. What hope is there? Titus 3:5 says,

He (the Lord) saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing or rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. (parenthesis mine)

3. The Power of Mercy

The mercy of God is manifest by Jesus on the cross. This great, grand act of mercy brings healing to a broken relationship between man and God. The mercy of the cross breaks the power of sin and death and instead gives us the opportunity of everlasting life. Ephesians chapter 2 says we go from being objects of wrath to object of unconditional love.

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