(Article for publication week of 8-24-2011 AD)
“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” (Romans 9:15).
Some of our readers may have noticed that we have had several articles entitled “sinners in the hands of God”, inserting the particular attribute of God with which we have been dealing. You may also have remembered Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, a sermon used of the Lord in the Great Awakening in the eighteenth century. I have deliberately entitled the concluding articles on some of God’s attributes this way to try to get some to see that they may not have had a Biblical understanding of what God is really like. One thing for sure, God is not like most people, including most professed Christians imagine. The only way that we can know what God is like is to read His Word. It will do you no good to worship a God of your imagination. You must worship the only true God, the God of the Bible.
Now it is very true, as Jonathan Edwards preached, that God is an angry God. He is angry with the wicked every day. But some of you may have never heard of any of Jonathan Edwards’ other sermons. If you spend some time with him, you will see that he actually preached more on the love, mercy, grace, etc. of God than on His wrath. Brother Edwards had a well-balanced, Biblical understanding of the attributes of God, and preached the whole counsel of God.
This is what I am labouring to show you friends, that God is a God of justice and mercy at the same time. He is a God of wrath and a God of love at the same time. It is a great mistake to take one of God’s attributes, and cling to that without any consideration for everything else the Bible says about God.
Our present day pulpits (to my mind) are much over balanced to the mercy, grace and love of God, without much emphasis on the justice, wrath, anger and hatred of God. Therefore, I have tried to present all these things to the reading public of our county (and our other readers).
And so, I conclude our short series on God’s mercy by commending you to that mercy. Praise the Lord! He will show mercy! Here is your warrant to come to God through His Son for salvation, for God has said, “I will have mercy.” God is able to show mercy to you poor sinner, through the justifying work of His Son. He maintains His strict justice, while showing mercy to the truly contrite, who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Poor sinner, you are in the hands of an angry God, as Jonathan Edwards so rightly preached. But you are also in the hands of a merciful God. Make no presumption of God’s mercy, but flee to the Sin Bearer, the Lord Jesus Christ. In and of yourself, you can only face God in His justice. But, the sinner who is joined to Christ by faith alone will find the Lord to be most merciful. You are in the sovereign and all-powerful hand of Jehovah, Who has power to save, and power to damn. Cry out for mercy now, and beg God to save you by the merits of His Son. He is rich in mercy.