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he delighteth in mercy, he will turn again."
by Don Fortner
In Christ and for his sake, the God of glory delights in mercy. It
is his glory and pleasure to be merciful. Mercy is never a mere wish
or dormant desire in God to do something for miserable sinners. Oh,
no! Godís mercy in Christ is ever active, operative, and effectual.
Godís mercy in Christ is gloriously effectual. Look at what Micah
says God will do for sinners, because "he delighteth
pardons iniquity, because "he delighteth in mercy."
He who is our God is the holy Lord God "that pardoneth
iniquity." The word "pardoneth" means that
he lifts up sin and takes it away. He lifts sin up off us and lays
it upon Christ, the true scapegoat who takes it away. That is exactly
what happened at Calvary (Isa. 53:6). This is the good news of the
gospel. God says to every believing sinner, "Behold, I have caused
thine iniquity to pass away from thee" (Zech. 3:4).
God passes by the transgression of his remnant, because "he
delighteth in mercy." There is an elect remnant among
the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, chosen of God unto eternal
life, whose sins were put away by the sacrifice of Christ, "a
remnant according to the election of grace." Having put away
their transgression by the sacrifice of his Son, God passes by it,
taking no notice of it, as if he did not see it, because he does not
see it (Num. 23:21). Therefore, he will never impute sin to his people
nor call them into account for it (Rom. 4:8). Through the blood of
Christ, it is covered, atoned, blotted out, and washed away.
C. H. Spurgeon put it, "Our sins are so effectually
removed that we shall not ultimately suffer any loss or damage through
who is our God forgives sin. His very name is forgiveness (Ex. 34:5-7)
God forgives sin completely, absolutely, irreversibly, and forever,
because he forgives it justly! God forgives sin upon the basis of
justice satisfied. He forgives the sins of those for whom Christ died,
because justice satisfied demands it (Rom. 3:24-26).
ANGER NOT RETAINED
not retain his just anger against his people, because "he delighteth
in mercy" (Isa. 12:1-2). Godís anger, wrath, and justice, being
fully satisfied in the sufferings and death of Christ, are turned
away from his people. Where there is no offense, there is no cause
for anger. Since God has put away our sins by the sacrifice of his
dear Son, he has no reason to be angry with his people; and he never
As we have seen, mercy is always active, working, and effectual. The
instances of mercy, to the objects of it, are many and varied.
Godís election of some to salvation and eternal life in Christ was
a great work of mercy toward us. To be precise, election is an act
of Godís sovereign, everlasting love (Jer. 31:3); and all the blessings
of grace flow to chosen sinners "according as he hath chosen
us in" Christ (Eph. 1:3-6). Yet, God has decreed, according to
his love toward us, to show mercy. He has resolved within himself,
saying, "I will have mercy, and will save."
Thus, "God hath not appointed us to wrath,"
we fully deserve, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ."
Presupposing our need of salvation as fallen creatures, our all-merciful
God chose us unto salvation in everlasting mercy. He created us as
vessels of mercy because he was resolved from eternity to turn to
us in mercy and save us, according to the riches of his grace in Christ.
Our redemption by Christ is a great act of divine mercy. It was the
mercy of God that resolved upon redemption and salvation for us, found
a ransom for our souls, and sent Christ into the world on the errand
of salvation (Job 33:24). Mercy laid help upon one that is mighty
and exalted one chosen out of the people to be our Redeemer. In him,
"mercy and truth have met together." In
Christ crucified as our Redeemer, "righteousness and
peace have kissed each other." In his love and pity,
the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed us (Isa. 63:9).
The forgiveness of sin is a marvelous work of Godís mercy. Forgiveness
must be traced to the mercy seat, the throne of grace, which is Christ
himself. Without Godís free mercy, forgiveness could never be obtained
(Ps. 51:1; Dan. 9:9; Luke 1:77,78). God has promised it in covenant,
as the effect of his mercy; "I will be merciful to their unrighteousness"
(Heb 8:12). The Lord Jesus was set forth Christ in the purpose of
God, and in the Book of God, to be the propitiation for the remission
of sins by the shedding of his blood, that God might be both just
and the Justifier of all who believe (Rom. 3:25-26).
Our regeneration, the new birth, is the result of Godís great mercy,
too (Eph. 2:1-6; 1 Pet. 1:3). It is wonderful and special mercy, which
quickens a sinner, dead in trespasses and sins; enlightens such as
sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to delivers them from
the bondage of Satan. It is mercy, omnipotent, immaculate mercy, which
gives liberty to men long enslaved to sin and Satan, snatches them
as brands out of the burning, and saves them from everlasting destruction!
Mercy found us in a pit wherein there was no water, no relief and
comfort, brought us out and planted us in the garden of grace! It
is the mercy of God that revealed Christ to us and in us, the hope
of glory; and gives them a good hope through grace.