Attributes of God’s Mercy

Taken and adapted from, “A Body of Practical Divinity,” Volume 1: The Mercy of God (sermon) Written by Thomas Watson,(1620 – 1686), pp. 101-107.  Published, London, 1869. Material sourced from, “The Dead Poet Society” hosted by Paul D.


“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”   –Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)

God’s mercy is free

To set up merit is to destroy mercy. Nothing can deserve mercy, because we are polluted in our blood; nor force it. We may force God to punish us, but not to love us. ‘I will love them freely.’ Hos 14:4. Every link in the chain of salvation is wrought and interwoven with free grace. Election is free. ‘He has chosen us in him, according to the good pleasure of his will.’  Eph 1:1. Justification is free.  ‘Being justified freely by his grace.’ Rom 3:34. Salvation is free.  ‘According to his mercy he saved us.’  Titus 3:3. Say not then, I am unworthy; for mercy is free.  If God should show mercy to such only as are worthy, he would show none at all.

God’s mercy is an overflowing mercy…

God’s mercy is infinite.  ‘Plenteous in mercy.’  Psalm 86:6. ‘Rich in mercy.’ Eph 2:2. ‘Multitude of mercies.’  Psa 51:1: The vial of wrath drops, but the fountain of mercy runs.  The sun is not so full of light as God is of mercy.  God has morning mercies.  ‘His mercies are new every morning.’ Lam 3:33.  He has night mercies.  ‘In the night his song shall be with me.’  Psalm 13:3. God has mercies under heaven, which we taste; and in heaven, which we hope for.

God’s mercy is eternal. 

‘The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.’  Psalms 103:37. ‘His mercy endures for ever,’ is repeated twenty-six times in one psalm, Psalms 136.  The souls of the blessed shall be ever bathing themselves in this sweet and pleasant ocean of God’s mercy.  God’s anger to his children lasts but a while, ‘but his mercy lasts for ever.’ Psalms 103:3.  As long as he is God he will be showing mercy. As his mercy is overflowing, so it is ever-flowing.  Use one: We are to look upon God in prayer, not in his judgement robes, but clothed with a rainbow full of mercy and clemency.  Add wings to prayer.  When Jesus Christ ascended up to heaven, that which made him go up thither with joy was, ‘I go to my Father;’ so that which should make our hearts ascend with joy in prayer, is, ‘We are going to the Father of mercy, who sits upon the throne of grace.’  Go with confidence in this mercy; as when one goes to a fire, not doubtingly, saying, perhaps it will warm me, perhaps not.

Believe in God’s mercy. 

‘I will trust in the mercy of God for ever.’ Psalms 52:2. 

God’s mercy is a fountain opened.  Let down the bucket of faith and you may drink of this fountain of salvation.  What greater encouragement to believe than God’s mercy?  God counts it his glory to be scattering pardons; he is desirous that sinners should touch the golden scepter of his mercy and live.