In 1522, declared an outlaw and under excommunication, Martin Luther was in grave danger. Within that context he preached the following excerpt in a sermon on mercy.
How does God, our heavenly Father, show His mercy? He gives us freely out of sheer goodness all that is good for body and soul, for time and eternity. If He should give us according to our merit, He could give us nothing but eternal condemnation. He sees that we are stuck in death, and He has mercy upon us and gives us life. He sees that we are children of condemnation, and He has mercy upon us and gives us heaven. He sees that we are poor, naked, hungry, and thirsty, and He has mercy upon us and clothes us, feeds us, gives us drink, and satisfies us with all that is good. Thus, all we have in body and spirit He gives us, out of sheer mercy, and pours out all His goodness upon us. That is why Christ says, “Be merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”
The mercy Christians give must not only be those like ourselves or we like, but must be complete and comprehensive, to friend and foe alike, as our Father in heaven does.
And where this mercy is absent, faith is also absent.