The Mercy & Truth of God to Unworthy Sinners

Genesis 32:10

I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant.

COTTON MATHER (1663-1728): When Thomas Hooker was dying, one said to him, “Brother, you are going to receive the reward of your labours.”  He humbly replied, “Brother, I am going to receive mercy.”

AUGUSTINE (354-430): No one is redeemed except through unmerited mercy.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Mercy is not a right to which man is entitled. Mercy is that adorable attribute of God by which He pities and relieves the wretched. To speak of deserving mercy is a contradiction of terms.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Those are the best prepared for the greatest mercies that see themselves unworthy of the least.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies”—Here is mercies in the plural number, an inexhaustible spring, and innumerable streams. There is an inexhaustible fulness of grace and mercy in God, which the prayers of all the saints can never draw dry.  Whatever we may ask, or think to ask, still God is still able to do more, abundantly more, exceedingly abundantly more.

MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): What a God is ours!  He loves to pardon, and delights in mercy.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth, Psalm 86:15.  What a wonderful character of God is given in this verse!

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): He is a God of compassion, and of mercy, and of kindness—Yes, but He is still a holy God, remember.  He is still the righteous God.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): We have spoken of mercy—but not of judgment…Establish it in your mind as a fixed principle, that God is a God of justice as well as of mercy; and that the same everlasting counsels which laid the foundation of the bliss of Heaven, have also laid the foundation of the misery of Hell.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): You cannot paint an angel upon light: so mercy could not be represented—mercy [itself] could not be, unless there were judgment without mercy, a ground of deep darkness lying beneath, to sustain and reveal it.

A. W. PINK: Even the casting of the reprobate into the Lake of Fire is an act of mercy. The punishment of the wicked is to be contemplated from a threefold viewpoint.  From God’s side, it is an act of justice, vindicating His honour.  The mercy of God is never shown to the prejudice of His holiness and righteousness.  From their side, it is an act of equity, when they are made to suffer the due reward of their iniquities.  But from the standpoint of the redeemed, the punishment of the wicked is an act of unspeakable mercy. How dreadful would it be if the present order of things, when the children of God are obliged to live in the midst of the children of the devil, should continue forever!  Heaven would at once cease to be heaven if the ears of the saints still heard the blasphemous and filthy language of the reprobate.  What a mercy in the New Jerusalem, “there shall in nowise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither worketh abomination,” Rev. 21:27!

Lest the reader might think in the last paragraph we have been drawing upon our imagination, let us appeal to Holy Scripture in support of what has been said.  In Psalm 143:12, we find David praying, “And of thy mercy, cut off mine enemies, and destroy all of them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.”  Again, in Psalm 136:15, we read that God “overthrew Pharaoh and his hosts in the Red Sea; for His mercy endureth forever.”  It was an act of vengeance upon Pharaoh and his hosts, but it was an act of “mercy” unto the Israelites.

DAVID DICKSON (1583-1662): Neither justice against the wicked, nor mercy toward the godly is idle, for God’s Word and works speak mercy to the one and wrath to the other, every day, Psalm 7:11.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): God is as faithful in His menaces as in His promises.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Much injury is done by separating what the Scripture has joined together. Some view God’s mercy as separate from His justice, and some His justice as separate from His mercy: the one of these partial views genders presumption, the other despair.  These extremes would be avoided by our considering God as at once the righteous Governor and the tender Father.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): The name Jehovah carries majesty in it; the name Father carries mercy in it.

ADAM CLARKE: God shall send forth his mercyand his truth, Psalm 57:3. His truth binds him to fulfill the promises or engagements His mercy has made, both to saints and sinners.

JOHN TRAPP: His mercy is ever bounded by His truth.

WILLIAM ARNOT: Mercy and truth meet in the person and sacrifice of the Son. Without the Saviour, we cannot conceive of mercy and truth being displayed by God to the rebellious. We could at least conceive of mercy without truth; but then it would admit the unclean into heaven: we could also conceive of truth without mercy; but then it would cast mankind without exception into hell. In order that there might be mercy and truth from the Judge to the sinful, Christ obeyed, and died, and rose again. God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son; but God so hated sin, that He gave Him up to die as an expiation to justice. Mercy reigns, not over righteousness, but through righteousness.

MATTHEW HENRY: In Him who is both our salvation and our glory “mercy and truth have met together;” God’s mercy and truth, and His “righteousness and peace, have kissed each other, Psalm 85:10; that is, the great affair of our salvation is so well contrived, so well concerted, that God may have mercy upon poor sinners, and be at peace with them, without any wrong to His truth and righteousness. He is true to the threatening, and just in His government, and yet pardons sinners and takes them into covenant with Himself.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The gate of mercy is opened, and over the door it is written, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” 1 Timothy 1:15—for the particular mercy of justification and pardon, the blood of the Mediator is the only plea.

RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): Cast yourself into the arms of Christ—if mercy is to be found anywhere, it is there.

WILLIAM JAY: Neither should a sense of our unworthiness weaken our expectation from Him: we were unworthy when He first took knowledge of us; and He deals with us not according to our desert, but His own mercy and grace.

C. H. SPURGEON: You never have to drag mercy out of Christ, as money from a miser.

JOHN TRAPP: Because He delighteth in mercy, Micah 7:18. And hence He pardoneth iniquity of free grace…If God so delight in mercy that He will save for His name’s sake, who or what shall hinder Him?


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