Key Verse: “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”
WHEN CONSIDERING THE words contained in our Key Verse, we should quickly realize that there is no being in the universe greater and more loving and merciful than the true and living God. The Heavenly Father is given many names and titles in the Scriptures, such as “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” and the source of “every good gift and every perfect gift.”—Matt. 22:32; James 1:17
One of the scribes to whom Jesus spoke, as recorded in Mark 12, responded after hearing about the commandment of loving the Heavenly Father supremely: “Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (vss. 32,33) Indeed, no god of man’s imagination can compare with the one supreme God of love, compassion, mercy, wisdom, power, and justice.
When our first parents fell from their perfection in the Garden of Eden, the penalty for disobeying God was a just one. He had clearly informed them of his commandment in advance as well as the penalty for disobedience. (Gen. 2:17; 3:17-19) However, through his great love and mercy God provided a way of release from the penalty of sin and death that had come upon Adam and Eve and all their progeny. Providing a promise immediately after our first parents fell, God said that in due time the seed, or offspring, of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent.—Gen. 3:15
Many centuries later, Jesus, at his First Advent, made known with clarity just what God meant by that vague promise of so long before, saying, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son [the seed of the woman], that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Through the gift of his only begotten Son, Jesus, “the kindness and love of God … toward man appeared.”—Tit. 3:4
Notice these words from the psalmist concerning the mercy of God: “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear [reverence] him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.” “I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.” (Ps. 103:17; 108:3,4) These verses suggest that we also have a responsibility in order to receive the full benefit of God’s mercy. We are to fear, or reverence, him, and we should show forth God’s praises to those with whom we come in contact.
“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.” (Prov. 3:3) In order for mercy not to “forsake” us, it is necessary that we demonstrate it to others. Having love and mercy toward others means that we will not consider their failings, but realize that they are part of the “world” which “God so loved.” Jesus instructed us, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”—Matt. 5:7