Sunday, January 03, 2010

Mercy and Loving-kindness of God, from “The Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Evans

Notes: (1) “The Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Rev. William Evans, Ph.D., D.D. is a well-respected reference material for Bible students, pastors, missionaries and laymen. You can read the entire book from Google (click the picture of the book cover), or download the complete zipped e-book. (2) Surf to the index of lessons and online quizzes from Evans. (3) The most important ideas and statements from this part of Evans’ book are listed in the “Basic truths” section below.

The Mercy and Loving-kindness of God.

By these attributes is meant, in general, the kindness, goodness, and compassion of God, the love of God in its relation to both the obedient and the disobedient sons of men. The dew drops on the thistle as well as on the rose.

More specifically: Mercy is usually exercised in connection with guilt; it is that attribute of God which leads Him to seek the welfare, both temporal and spiritual, of sinners, even though at the cost of great sacrifice on His part. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us...God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Eph. 2:4; Rom. 5:8.)

Loving-kindness is that attribute of God which leads Him to bestow upon His obedient children His constant and choice blessing. “He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32.)

(I) Scriptural statement of the fact.

Psa. 103:8--“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” For, instead of inflicting pain, poverty, death--which are the wages of sin--God has spared our lives, given us health, increased our blessings and comforts, and given us the life of the ages. Deut. 4:31--“(For the Lord thy God is a merciful God); he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers.” God is ready to accept the penitence of Israel, even now, if only it be sincere. Israel will return and find God only because He is merciful and does not let go of her. It is His mercy that forbids his permanently forsaking His people. Psa. 86:15--“But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” It was because God had so declared Himself to be of this nature that David felt justified in feeling that God would not utterly forsake him in his time of great stress and need. The most striking illustration of the Mercy and Loving-kindness of God is set forth in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Here we have not only the welcome awaiting the wanderer, but also the longing for his return on the part of the anxious and loving father.

(1) How the Mercy and Loving-kindness of God are manifested.

In general: We must not forget that God is absolutely sovereign in the bestowal of His blessings--“Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy” (Rom. 9:18). We should also remember that God wills to have mercy on all His creatures—“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to all them that call upon thee” (Psa. 86:5).

aa) Mercy--towards sinners in particular.

Luke 6:36—“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Matt. 5:45--“That ye may be the children, of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.” Here even the impenitent and hard-hearted are the recipients of God’s mercy; all sinners, even the impenitent are included in the sweep of His mercy.

Isa. 55:7--“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord: and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” God’s mercy is a holy mercy; it will by no means protect sin, but anxiously awaits to pardon it. God’s mercy is a city of refuge for the penitent, but by no means a sanctuary for the presumptuous. See Prov. 28:13, and Psa. 51:1. God’s mercy is here seen in pardoning the sin of those who do truly repent. We speak about “trusting in the mercy of the Lord.” Let us forsake sin and then trust in the mercy of the Lord and we shall find pardon.

2 Pet. 3:9--“The longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Neh. 9:31--“Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.” Here is mercy manifested in forbearance with sinners. If God should have dealt with them in justice they would have been cut off long before. Think of the evil, the impurity, the sin that God must see. How it must disgust Him. Then remember that He could crush it all in a moment. Yet He does not. He pleads; He sacrifices to show His love for sinners. Surely it is because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, and because His compassions fail not. Yet, beware lest we abuse this goodness, for our God is also a consuming fire. “Behold, the goodness and the severity of God.” The Mercy of God is here shown in His loving forbearance with sinners.

bb) Loving-kindness towards the saints, in particular.

Psa. 32:10--“But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.” The very act of trust on the part of the believer moves the heart of God to protect him just as in the case of a parent and his child. The moment I throw myself on God I am enveloped in His mercy--mercy is my environment, like a fiery wall it surrounds me, without a break through which an evil can creep. Resistance surrounds us with “sorrow”; but trust surrounds us with “mercy.” In the center of that circle of mercy sits and rests the trusting soul.

Phil. 2:27--“For indeed he was sick nigh unto death; but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” Here God’s loving-kindness is seen in healing up His sick children. Yet remember that “He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy.” Not every sick child of God is raised. Psa. 6:4--“Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak: O Lord, heal me...Deliver my soul for thy mercies’ sake (v. 4).” The psalmist asks God to illustrate His mercy in restoring to him his spiritual health. From these scriptures we see that the mercy of God is revealed in healing His children of bodily and spiritual sickness.

Psa. 21:7--“For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.” David feels that, because he trusts in the mercy of the Lord, his throne, whatever may dash against it, is perfectly secure. Is not this true also of the believer’s eternal security? More to the mercy of God than to the perseverance of the saints is to be attributed the eternal security of the believer. “He will hold me fast.” (From “The Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Rev. William Evans, Ph.D., D.D.)

Basic truths

[1] “Mercy is usually exercised in connection with guilt; it is that attribute of God which leads Him to seek the welfare, both temporal and spiritual, of sinners, even though at the cost of great sacrifice on His part.” (Eph. 2:4; Rom. 5:8)

[2] “Loving-kindness is that attribute of God which leads Him to bestow upon His obedient children His constant and choice blessing.” (Rom. 8:32)

[3] Scriptural statement of the mercy and loving-kindness of God: Psa. 103:8; Deut. 4:31; Psa. 86:15; Luke 15:11-32

[4] How the Mercy and Loving-kindness of God are manifested.
In general: We must not forget that God is absolutely sovereign in the bestowal of His blessings (Rom. 9:18; Psa. 86:5).

Mercy--towards sinners in particular: Luke 6:36; Matt. 5:45; Isa. 55:7; Prov. 28:13 and Psa. 51:1; 2 Pet. 3:9; Neh. 9:31

Loving-kindness towards the saints, in particular: Psa. 32:10; Phil. 2:27; Psa. 6:4; Psa. 21:7

Further study (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] “The Attributes of God” part 1 and part 2, by A. W. Tozer (Infinitude, Immensity, Goodness, Justice, Mercy, Grace, Omnipresence, Immanence, Holiness, Perfection); read also Knowledge Of The Holy, The Pursuit of God and other works by Tozer.

“If a sermon can be compared to light, then A. W. Tozer released a laser beam from the pulpit, a beam that penetrated your heart. If you have never read Tozer - what are you waiting for? Thirty minutes spent in a Tozer essay is often better than a week at a Bible conference.” (Warren Wiersbe, Bible teacher; General Director, Back to the Bible Broadcast; Former Pastor, Moody Church in Chicago)

[2] Knowing God, by J.I. Packer

“We are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.”

Knowing God study guides: Section 1 Introduction and Chapters 1-6; Section 2 Chapters 7-17; Section 3 Chapters 18-22.

[3] Evidence for God, from Institute for Creation Research
ICR’s popular Acts & Facts free monthly news magazine contains articles and information of current interest dealing with creation, evolution, and related topics. Current and past issues can also be read, and you can sign up to receive future issues in the mail, all for free. Full versions of previous editions can be viewed online in PDF format.

Sermons on the attributes of God
(Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Sermons by Philip G. Layton, Gold Country Baptist Church

[2] Sermons by Pastor Jeremy Stephens, Southview Baptist Church

[3] God is, by David Palmer, East Side Baptist Church

[4] The Doctrine of God - Part A: The Nature and Attributes of God, by Randy D. Starkey, East Bend Baptist Church

[5] SF523 - WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT GOD (Hebrews 11:6), by Timothy McGhee, First Baptist Church – Powell

[6] Materials by Kurt Andree

[7] Praise to the God of Unlimited Power, by Dr. Kelly Randolph, Country Acres Baptist Church

[8] Is It Possible To See God, by Thomas

[9] God The Holy Spirit, by George Toews

[10] Three Forgotten Perfections of God, by Kenneth P. McCaulley

[11] Attributes of God, by Shaun LePage

[12] Attributes Of God: Faithfulness, by Timothy D. Hall

[13] Doctrinal Statement: Theology Proper, by Jason Button

[14] 100 Names of Jesus, by Ralph Andrus, Calvary Baptist Church

[15] What We Believe and Why We Believe It Concerning God 4, by Richard E. Rutherford Jr

[16] The Immensity of God, by Wayne Gropp

[17] Some Things God Cannot Do, by Kenneth W. Burton

Note: This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials.

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