Volume. XXXVI, No. 7
Sunday, 15 August 2021

Blessed are the Merciful

The beatitudes are God's children's characteristics. The fifth beatitude is “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). We are at the midway point on the list of eight beatitudes. The focus changes from here on with the beatitudes.  The first four focus more on inner character changes in our relationship with God while the last four focus on our outward character changes in our relationship with others. The first four beatitudes speak of our hearts, our attitudes, and what we are in our being. Being always comes before doing in the Bible. The last four beatitudes describe the actions that flow out of our hearts. Linking them to our previous study on beatitudes, as believers hunger and thirst after God's righteousness, God will make them to be merciful (5:7), pure in heart (5:8) and peacemakers (5:9). 


What does mercy mean in the fifth beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful…”? Often, we use the words grace and mercy interchangeably. The biblical understanding of mercy is not getting what we rightfully deserve due to our sinful actions. Being sinners, we all ought to go to hell, but God in His mercy saved us and did not give us what we rightfully deserve. Grace is slightly different. Grace is getting benefits or blessings which we don't deserve. Christ died for us and gave us forgiveness through Him; this is His grace unto us. So, when we pray and give thanks for God's mercy, we are saying, 'thank you Lord, for withholding punishment and judgment for what I rightfully deserve due to my sins or failures'. The apostle Paul gives us an example of mercy unto him in 1 Timothy 1:13, “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.” Thank God our God is a merciful God. In the fifth beatitude, God wants this characteristic of mercy to be in us as his kingdom citizens.


Jesus is focusing here on our character and attitude towards others. Are you merciful? Are you lenient, gentle, and kind toward sinners?  In Matthew 23:23, Jesus condemned the Pharisees for not having mercy. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” In this passage, Jesus condemns the Pharisees for neglecting the weightier matters of the law like justice, mercy and faith. The Pharisees were concerned only about ceremonial laws and the letter of the law and they missed the spirit behind these laws. Like the Pharisees, we tend to major in minor issues of life. Is it not true that many churches and fellowships are fighting over trivial matters? Have they forgotten about the core issues of showing mercy and faith?  The fifth beatitude is a reminder not to be boggled in life with trivial matters but to have mercy at the core of our hearts.


Let mercy be also seen in our day to day living. We show mercy to others when we forgive and do not retaliate when offended by others. A merciful person will forgive the sins of others as he knows he has been forgiven of his sins by the mercy of God. Read Matthew 18:21-35, which tells a story of a man forgiven of an enormous debt. But he was unmerciful when it came to forgiving a small debt of less than a hundred dollars. The Master condemns the unmerciful servant: Matthew 18:32, “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest, not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee?” A forgiven person is a forgiving person. One who has received generous mercy must show mercy unto others and forgive them. Are you holding any grudges or bitterness against anyone today? Let us remember it is God's mercy that brought us thus far, and we need His mercy also today and on that day when we stand before Him. 


We need to have mercy if we want to meet the needs of those hurting. So often, we end up judging others and turning a blind eye to their pain and suffering. Jesus taught us to consider others and meet their needs. In Matthew 25:35-46, we find those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, gave water to the thirsty and cared for the sick were serving Christ indeed. Let us dispense mercy with cheerfulness as commanded in Romans 12:8: “he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” Without a merciful heart, we will not show these acts of mercy. Jesus gave an excellent example in the parable of The Good Samaritan. The merciful don't just sit idly by and talk when there's someone in need. They also don't stand on the sidelines, offering up advice to the downtrodden. Instead, the merciful seize the initiative and actively help others. We should also be merciful when sharing the gospel with others. We should lay aside the usual judgemental and condemning spirit. We should plead with them by pointing them to Christ, telling of  His love and mercy unto sinners like us.  


Jesus Christ also promised that the merciful, “shall obtain mercy.” It is almost like the principle of sowing and reaping. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). The merciful one will receive mercy. This teaching is consistent throughout the scriptures. Psalm 18:25 reiterates the same truth, “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.” Proverbs 21:13 shares a practical example of this principle of mercy in action: “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.” The Epistle of James, which emphasizes faith and works, shares the same principle in James 2:13, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” We have also seen this truth in the parable of the unforgiving and unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:23-35). He missed out on the mercy of God because he was unmerciful.


This promise is also for today and our future.  Like the familiar verse in Lamentations 3:23, we need mercy every morning, and our merciful God's faithfulness gives this. “It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” We will also need mercy when we stand before God on judgment day. In 2 Timothy 1:16,18, we find the apostle Paul writing, “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus... The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day.” In Jude 21, the saints are encouraged with this promise, “...looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ...” Mercy-showing is a test of our spirituality. Let us cherish mercy and do good as this is God's desire for us. Micah 6:8 exhorts us, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” As Christ, our merciful high priest (Heb 2:17) lives in believers, we are to become people who are merciful.


“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”


Rev Matthews

More Lively Hope



  • Women of Hope meeting in the Sanctuary after Service today. Sis Myung Ki will be speaking on ‘Raising Godly Kids’.
  • Service Roster Oct-Dec 2021: Please email your availability by 1 September to hopebpcrosterer@gmail.com.
  • Update in COVID-19 restrictions: Singing is permitted with masks on. Sunday School children & families are to sit physically distanced in the Hall, adults in the Sanctuary. Masks mandatory for Year 8s and older.
  • Missions Fair Cookbook: Please submit recipes and photos.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Annual Congregation Meeting
  • 7th Anniversary Thanksgiving of Providence B-P Church (8 August).
  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence for the past week.


Prayer Requests

  • Healing: Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore) & all others who are unwell.
  • Comfort in grief.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041