(5:7) Merciful (eleemones): to have a forgiving spirit and a compassionate heart. It is showing mercy and being benevo-
lent. It is forgiving those who are wrong, yet it is much more. It is empathy; it is getting right inside the person and feel-
ing right along with him. It is a deliberate effort, an act of the will to understand the person and to meet his need by forgiving
and showing mercy. It is the opposite of being hard, unforgiving, and unfeeling. God forgives only those who forgive others.
A person receives mercy only if he is merciful (cp. Mt.6:12; Jas.2:13). Several significant facts need to be noted about mercy.
1. The person who is merciful has a tender heart—a heart that cares for all who have need, seen or unseen. If he sees
the needful, he feels for them and reaches out to do all he can. If he does not see them, he feels and reaches out through
prayer and giving as opportunity arises. The merciful just do not hoard or hold back any kind of help, no matter the cost.
a. They have the love of God dwelling in them.
“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his
bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 Jn.3:17).
“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto
them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those
things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” (Jas.2:15-16).
b. They know that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.”
“I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and
to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to re-
ceive” (Acts 20:35).
2. Every believer can be merciful. Some may not have money or other means to help, but they can be tender and com-
passionate, demonstrating mercy through expression and prayer. In fact, God instructs the believer to be merciful. He charges
the believer to do some very practical things:
a. “Deal...bread to the hungry” (Is.58:7; Jas.2:15).
b. “Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house” (Is. 58:7).
c. “Cover him [the naked]” (Is.58:7; Jas.2:15).
d. Strengthen and comfort the broken and grieving soul (Job 16:5).
e. Pity the afflicted (Job 6:14).
f. Bear the burdens of others—even to the point of restoring them when they sin. But we reach out to them in a
spirit of meekness. (Gal.6:2 cp. 6:1).
g. Support the weak (Acts 20:35).
3. The results of being merciful are numerous.
a. A person is given the mercy of God—forgiveness of sins (Ps.18:25; cp. 2 Sam.22:26).
b. A person does good to his own soul (Pr.19:17).
c. A person is paid back what he gives—by God Himself (Pr.19:17).
d. A person behaves like God Himself (Lk.6:36; cp. Ps.103:8; Joel 2:15).
e. A person is blessed (Ps.51:1).
f. A person is assured of finding “mercy in that day” (2 Tim.1:18).
g. A person shall inherit the Kingdom of God—forever (Mt.25:34-35).
4. The unmerciful are warned by God.
a. They shall face “judgment without mercy” (Jas.2:13).
b. They shall face the anger and wrath of God (Mt.18:34-35).
c. They are not forgiven their sins (Mt.6:12, 14-15).
5. Two opposite attitudes are shown toward mercy.
a. The attitude of shutting up one’s compassion from those in need (1 Jn.3:17; cp. Jas.2:15-16).
b. The attitude of putting on a heart of mercy (Col.3:12).
DEEPER STUDY # 7
(5:7) Mercy: see note—Eph.2:4-5 for discussion.
(5:8) Pure (katharoi): to have a clean heart; to be unsoiled, unmixed, unpolluted; to be cleansed, purged, forgiven; to be
holy; to have a single purpose, that of God’s glory. There are several significant points to note about the “pure in heart.”
1. The person who is “pure in heart” lives a clean life.
a. He “keeps himself unspotted from the world.”
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless
and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (Jas.1:27).
b. He washes his heart from wickedness that he may be saved.
“Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain
thoughts lodge within thee?” (Jer.4:14).
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