Mercy, Peace, Love and Multiplied
Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
It looks like this verse presents us with a few more Greek words to define. First, there’s the three-word salutation Jude employs: mercy, peace, and love. In Paul’s general epistles, his opening salutation usually only involves grace and peace.1 In the pastoral epistles and 2 John, mercy is added to the mix.2 Now, in Jude, love replaces grace. We then find the Holy Spirit choosing to amplify the blessings of mercy, peace, and love by using the word multiplied instead of given or added— which is breathtaking in its implications. Let’s take a look at each of these.
The word mercy (éleos) refers to “compassion, kindness or goodwill towards the miserable and afflicted; it’s a state of active pity, accompanied by a sense of piety and innate goodness.”3 It’s not getting what we deserve, which is pretty much the opposite of justice.
Some teach that mercy is just another word for grace. But that’s not true. There’s a gulf of difference between these two words. Mercy is when God chooses not to punish us for what our sins rightly deserve (Rom. 6:23). We are spared the chastisement we’ve earned. And grace, on the other hand, is when God chooses to go a step further and bless us in spite of our sins. One is the removal of just punishment, and the other is the pouring out of undeserved blessings.
Next, the Greek word for peace (eirḗnē) means “to be in a state of tranquility, harmony, and accord; it’s the opposite of war and dissension and arises from the reconciliation with God and a sense of divine favor.”4 Psalm 7:11 says “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” But not with us. We are at peace with God due to the sacrifice of His Son on our behalf.
But Jesus spoke about another peace. Jesus promised us this peace when He said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace (eirḗnē) I give to you” (John 14:27). Note, it’s His peace. It’s the very peace He experienced in the midst of His pain and suffering, that He now gives to us.
A few chapters later Jesus said the only peace that can overcome the tribulation of the world is found in Him (John 16:33). And this is just a taste of our inheritance as children of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17).
Then we have agápē, the Greek word for love. Agápē is the love God has for each of us and is not based on performance or perfection. It’s a type of love that doesn’t come naturally, but is imputed to us by the source of that love, which is God. The word means “love, goodwill, and benevolence; it’s God’s willful direction toward man.”5 It’s the highest, most unselfish, and graciously giving form of love imaginable. Especially when compared to érōs (erotic or sexual love) or philéō (brotherly love or friendship).
And just think, Jude begins his letter by praying this trifecta of blessings on each of us, his brethren: “mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you” (Jude 1:2).
Which brings us to the last, and the most encouraging, truth in this short verse. It’s the word multiplied. Not added. Not combined. But multiplied— in greater, ever-increasing proportions. The word multiplied (plēthúnō) means to “make full, increase, to have much or too much, to abound exceedingly.”6 The implication is that mercy, peace, and love will come upon the believer in waves of ever increasing blessings. They will be multiplied upon each other, like compound interest on steroids, and grow to exceedingly abound. It’s a hint of what Jesus meant when He said “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The word for abundantly refers to “more than enough, over and above, surpassing, super-abounding, much more than all.”7
The Father doesn’t say: “Here’s one for you. Oh, let me give you another one. And another one, which makes three.” Instead, He says, “Here is one for you. Then two more. And then four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four”— and on the numbers go!
Jude’s prayer for the children of God is that they would find His blessings multiplied to them, in ever-increasing, super-abounding portions, regardless of what turmoil they may be suffering. And the blessings of God are found in His mercy, His peace, and His love— which are all revealed through His Son and lavishly imparted to us by the Spirit.
How Much Does the Father Love Us?
This is where it gets so exciting it’s hard to grasp, let alone believe. But it’s truth, nonetheless. Jesus, in His last prayer for His disciples, prayed for unity among all believers (John 17:21-22). He then concluded His prayer by saying:
John 17:23 – “I in them, and You in Me (unity); that they may be made perfect in one (unity), and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
Did you catch the last part of His prayer? Jesus wants the world to know that God the Father loves us, His children, as much as He loves His own Son. Let that sink in for a moment.
How much does the Father love you? As much as He loves His own Son? What can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus? According to Romans 8:38-39, pretty much nothing. And when you come to grips with the reality of God’s love, in all its magnitude, intensity, and mercy, it gives you what nothing else can, peace. It’s the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). This amazing peace can belong to you. All you have to do is ask.
Rest today in His mercy, peace, and love for you.
1. See Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; Col. 1:2; 1 Thes. 1:1; 2 Thes, 1:2.
2. See 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4; 2 John 1:3.
3. Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (pp. 564-565). Chattanooga, TN: AMG.
4. Ibid., 519-521.
5. Ibid., 66-67.
6. Ibid., 1175.
7. Ibid., 1151-1152.