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"Because he delighteth in mercy, he will turn again."
Micah 7:19-20
by Don Fortner

Part 1

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 in mercy."

He will 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).

The Lord 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.

As C. H. Spurgeon put it, "Our sins are so effectually removed that we shall not ultimately suffer any loss or damage through having sinned."

He 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).

God will 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 is!


Part 2

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," which 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.


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