The Mercy of God for a Sinner

7 min readFebruary 16, 2022


mercy , salvation
Jeff segoviaBy: Jeff Segovia
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Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. — LAMENTATIONS 3:22

God is divine being. His being is absolute which means that what and who He is never depends on anything outside of Him. There is no standard for His being, He Himself is the standard. It is for this reason that God is indeed incomparable, that He is the LORD and besides Him, there is no other (Isa. 45:5). God is perfect and His attributes tell us of His glory, that is, the sum and the substance of all that He is. His attributes tell us how weighty He is.

The perfection of God is made known to man by the revelation of His attributes. There is a general revelation of God in which He reveals Himself to all by the creation which He made. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Rom. 1:20)”. Furthermore, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork (Psa. 19:1)”. Therefore, man is without excuse. Man knows God at least in the cognitive sense and it is confirmed by what he sees and by his conscience.

There are also instances in which God reveals Himself by bestowing upon man His goodness, mercy, grace, forbearance, wrath, justice, and righteousness. Every single attribute of God that is revealed to us gives us a glimpse of His infinite worth and there is no other place where we can know Him other than His word. A thorough survey of the Scriptures makes us see that God is merciful, gracious, and at the same time He does judgments as an exercise of His justice. As we go along, we’ll see how these attributes differ and what the Bibles says about God’s mercy for the sinner.


Before diving into the mercy of God for a sinner, it is first important for us to understand the distinction between mercy, grace, and justice. Oftentimes mercy is confused with grace and the way God shows mercy is oftentimes mistaken as an act of injustice. So how do these attributes of God differ from one another?

The justice of God is that which God bestows on sinners for they deserve it. All men sinned and the justice of God demands that the guilty be punished (Exo. 34:7). Men deserve the punishment of death and God is just if He will exercise judgment on the rebellious. The grace of God is that which God gives to the sinner even though they do not deserve it. One example of God showing His grace is when He justified us. The Bible teaches that we are justified freely by His grace (Rom. 3:24). The word “free” then must come to our mind when we hear about God’s grace. Grace is not attained nor achieved; it is only freely given. Now, God shows mercy when He chooses to not give or bestow to sinners that which they deserve. As we go on, we will see why it is not injustice and what the Scriptures teaches about the mercy of God for a sinner.


The Prophet Jeremiah, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, wrote: “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed; Because His compassions fail not (Lam. 3:22)”. Now, don’t we deserve to be consumed, that is, to become undone and die? We do, absolutely! Death is what a sinner deserves. But based on our text, we are not consumed and that means what we deserve didn’t fall upon us. The reason for this is the mercy of God for the sinner. “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed” — God can choose to deal with the sinner according to His mercies. A similar passage can be found in the New Testament: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:4–5)”. The statement “even when we were dead in trespasses” implies that there is something we deserve for being dead in trespasses (slave to sin, sinful) and that is death, that is us being consumed. But through the richness of His mercy, we have been made alive in Christ which means “we are not consumed”.


Now we’ll see why in showing mercy God is not unjust. When God deals with a sinner according to His mercy, His motivation is His love. Going back to our key text, “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not (Lam. 3:22).” God’s compassion is His passionate love for the sinner. God’s love is Himself willing to show His goodness to the sinner. This compassion of God does not fail. Again, in the similar passage in Ephesians we read, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us… (Eph. 2:4)”. There is a divine great love with which God loves the sinner that He is willing to show the sinner the richness of His mercy. David knows this that’s why in one of his gut-wrenching psalms he wrote: “Have mercy upon me, O God; According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. (Psa. 51:1)”. What David was pleading was that God would deal with Him according to His love and mercy and not to give him the punishment he deserved. Therefore, when God shows His mercy, He is not doing something that is unjust. What He is actually showing is who He is, being merciful and loving. The mercy of God is not in conflict with His justice. God’s justice, as portrayed in the Scriptures, is always accompanied by His wrath while God’s mercy, as we have already seen, is accompanied by God’s unfailing compassion or great love.


Those who truly cry for God’s mercy are those who genuinely came to the understanding of their sinfulness and the just punishment that they deserve. God shows His mercy to the helpless — those who can’t find any hope in themselves. David, in his brokenness, wrote, “Have mercy upon me, O God; According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. (Psa. 51:1)”. The tax collector was in absolute despair when he uttered, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner! (Luke 18:13)”. Paul also obtained mercy even though he persecuted the church of God. He wrote, “although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy (1 Tim. 1:12–13)”. These men, among many others, were honest before God. They admitted before Him that they were helpless and that they knew that their only hope is God dealing with them according to His tender mercies and steadfast love. Therefore, the understanding of our sinfulness and that we deserve a punishment far worse than physical death is a gift. It is a wonderful understanding indeed for it makes us run to God to cast ourselves upon His mercies.

All Scripture quotations are in NKJV.

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