Tag Archives: Mercy

“For those united to Him, the heart of Jesus is not a rental; it is your new permanent residence” by Dane Ortlund

“We cannot present a reason for Christ to finally close off His heart to His own sheep. No such reason exists.

Every human friend has a limit. If we offend enough, if a relationship gets damaged enough, if we betray enough times, we are cast out. The walls go up.

With Christ, our sins and weaknesses are the very resumé items that qualify us to approach Him. Nothing but coming to Him is required—first at conversion and a thousand times thereafter until we are with Him upon death.

Perhaps it isn’t sins so much as sufferings that cause some of us to question the perseverance of the heart of Christ. As pain piles up, as numbness takes over, as the months go by, at some point the conclusion seems obvious: we have been cast out.

Surely this is not what life would feel like for one who has been buried in the heart of a gentle and lowly Savior? But Jesus does not say that those with pain-free lives are never cast out.

He says those who come to Him are never cast out. It is not what life brings to us but to whom we belong that determines Christ’s heart of love for us.

The only thing required to enjoy such love is to come to Him. To ask Him to take us in. He does not say, ‘Whoever comes to me with sufficient contrition,’ or ‘Whoever comes to me feeling bad enough for their sin,’ or ‘Whoever comes to me with redoubled efforts.’

He says, ‘Whoever comes to me I will never cast out.’

Our strength of resolve is not part of the formula of retaining His good will. When my two-year-old Benjamin begins to wade into the gentle slope of the zero-entry swimming pool near our home, he instinctively grabs hold of my hand.

He holds on tight as the water gradually gets deeper. But a two-year-old’s grip is not very strong. Before long it is not he holding on to me but me holding on to him.

Left to his own strength he will certainly slip out of my hand. But if I have determined that he will not fall out of my grasp, he is secure. He can’t get away from me if he tried.

So with Christ. We cling to Him, to be sure. But our grip is that of a two-year-old amid the stormy waves of life. His sure grasp never falters.

Psalm 63:8 expresses the double-sided truth: ‘My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.’

We are talking about something deeper than the doctrine of eternal security, or ‘once saved, always saved’—a glorious doctrine, a true doctrine—sometimes called the perseverance of the saints.

We have come, more deeply, to the doctrine of the perseverance of the heart of Christ. Yes, professing Christians can fall away, proving that they were never truly in Christ.

Yes, once a sinner is united to Christ, there is nothing that can dis-unite them. But within the skeletal structure of these doctrines, what is the beating heart of God, made tangible in Christ?

What is most deeply instinctive to Him as our sins and sufferings pile up? What keeps Him from growing cold?

The answer is, His heart. The atoning work of the Son, decreed by the Father and applied by the Spirit, ensures that we are safe eternally.

But a text such as John 6:37 reassures us that this is not only a matter of divine decree but divine desire. This is heaven’s delight.

Come to me, says Christ. I will embrace you into my deepest being and never let you go.

Have you considered what is true of you if you are in Christ?

In order for you to fall short of loving embrace into the heart of Christ both now and into eternity, Christ Himself would have to be pulled down out of heaven and put back in the grave.

His death and resurrection make it just for Christ never to cast out His own, no matter how often they fall. But animating this work of Christ is the heart of Christ.

He cannot bear to part with His own, even when they most deserve to be forsaken.

‘But I…’

Raise your objections. None can threaten these invincible words: ‘Whoever comes to me I will never cast out.’

For those united to Him, the heart of Jesus is not a rental; it is your new permanent residence.

You are not a tenant; you are a child.

His heart is not a ticking time bomb; His heart is the green pastures and still waters of endless reassurances of His presence and comfort, whatever our present spiritual accomplishments.

It is who He is.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 64-66.

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“When Christ calls me home” by Adoniram Judson

“I am not tired of my work, neither am I tired of the world; yet when Christ calls me home, I shall go with the gladness of a boy bounding away from his school.”

–Adoniram Judson, as quoted in Francis Wayland, A Memoir of the Life and Labors of the Rev. Adoniram Judson, Vol. 2 (Boston: Phillips, Sampson, and Co., 1853), 2: 346.

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“His mercy will live longer than thy sin” by John Bunyan

“Child of God, thou that fearest God, here is mercy nigh thee, mercy enough, everlasting mercy upon thee.

This is long-lived mercy. It will live longer than thy sin, it will live longer than temptation, it will live longer than thy sorrows, it will live longer than thy persecutors.

It is mercy from everlasting to contrive thy salvation, and mercy to everlasting to weather it out with all thy adversaries.

Now what can hell and death do to him that hath this mercy of God upon him? And this hath the man that feareth the Lord.

Take that other blessed word, and O thou man that fearest the Lord, hang it like a chain of gold about thy neck—’As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him’ (Psalm 103:11).

If mercy as big, as high, and as good as heaven itself will be a privilege, the man that feareth God shall have a privilege.

Dost thou fear God?—’Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him’ (Psalm 103:13).”

–John Bunyan, “A Treatise on the Fear of God,” in The Works of John Bunyan, ed. George Offer, 3 vols. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1991), 1: 470.

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“He takes the weak hand of the sinner and places it in His own strong, nail-pierced hand” by Ole Hallesby

“To pray is to open our hearts to Jesus. And Jesus is all that we sinners need both for time and eternity.

He “was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). This gives us the Biblical view of the purpose of prayer, its place and significance in the divine dispensation of salvation.

Jesus said once, “Apart from me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). He knew how literally true these words are, how entirely helpless we are without Him. But at the same time He said, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” All that you need and more besides.

He never grew tired of inviting, prompting, encouraging, exhorting, even commanding us to pray.

The many and various admonitions to prayer in the Bible shed remarkable light upon prayer. They show us that prayer is the heart-throb in the life of a saved person.

Permit me to cite a few of the gracious admonitions to prayer which the Lord has given us:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone; or if he shall ask for a fish will give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (Matthew 7:7-11).

“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

“In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

These three passages from Scripture alone, it appears to me, should be sufficient to show what Jesus meant prayer to be.

If I were to give expression to this meaning in my own words, I would put it about as follows:

Jesus comes to a sinner, awakens him from his sleep in sin, converts him, forgives him his sins and makes him His child. Then He takes the weak hand of the sinner and places it in His own strong, nail-pierced hand and says:

‘Come now, I am going with you all the way and will bring you safe home to heaven. If you ever get into trouble or difficulty, just tell me about it. I will give you, without reproach, everything you need, and more besides, day by day, as long as you live.’

My friend, do you not also think that that is what Jesus really meant when He gave us prayer?

And that is the way we should make use of it. That is the way He desires to answer our prayer, graciously and abundantly.

Prayer should be the means by which I, at all times, receive all that I need, and, for this reason, be my daily refuge, my daily consolation, my daily joy, my source of rich and inexhaustible joy in life.”

–Ole Hallesby, Prayer, trans. C.J. Carlsen (London: InterVarsity Fellowship, 1948), 28-29.

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“Not afraid but full of delight” by Charles Spurgeon

“What is this fear of God? I answer, first, it is a sense of awe of His greatness. Have you never felt this sacred awe stealing insensibly over your spirit, hushing, and calming you, and bowing you down before the Lord?

It will come, sometimes, in the consideration of the great works of nature. Gazing upon the vast expanse of waters,—looking up to the innumerable stars, examining the wing of an insect, and seeing there the matchless skill of God displayed in the minute; or standing in a thunderstorm, watching, as best you can, the flashes of lightning, and listening to the thunder of Jehovah’s voice, have you not often shrunk into yourself, and said, “Great God, how terrible art Thou!”—not afraid, but full of delight, like a child who rejoices to see his father’s wealth, his father’s wisdom, his father’s power,—happy, and at home, but feeling oh, so little!

When we realize this, we are filled with a holy awe as we think of God’s greatness, and the result of that is that we are moved to fall before Him in reverent adoration.

We turn to the Word of God, and there we see further proofs of His greatness in all His merciful arrangements for the salvation of sinners,—and especially in the matchless redemption wrought out by His well-beloved Son, every part of which is full of the divine glory; and as we gaze upon that glory with exceeding joy, we shrink to nothing before the Eternal, and the result again is lowly adoration.

We bow down, and adore and worship the living God, with a joyful, tender fear, which both lays us low, and lifts us very high, for never do we seem to be nearer to heaven’s golden throne than when our spirit gives itself up to worship Him whom it does not see, but in whose realized presence it trembles with sacred delight.

The fear of God also takes another form, that is, the fear of His Fatherhood which leads us to reverence Him. When divine grace has given us the new birth, we recognize that we have entered into a fresh relationship towards God; namely, that we have become His sons and daughters.

Then we realize that we have received “the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15) Now, we cannot truly cry unto God, “Abba, Father,” without at the same time feeling, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” (1 John 3:1)

When we recognize that we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,” (Romans 8:17) children of the Highest, adopted into the family of the Eternal Himself, we feel at once, as the spirit of childhood works within us, that we both love and fear our great Father in heaven, who has loved us with an everlasting love, and has “begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

In this childlike fear, there is not an atom of that fear which signifies being afraid. We, who believe in Jesus, are not afraid of our Father; God forbid that we ever should be.

The nearer we can get to Him, the happier we are. Our highest wish is to be forever with Him, and to be lost in Him; but, still, we pray that we may not grieve Him; we beseech Him to keep us from turning aside from Him; we ask for His tender pity towards our infirmities, and plead with Him to forgive us and to deal graciously with us for His dear Son’s sake.

As loving children, we feel a holy awe and reverence as we realize our relationship to Him who is our Father in heaven,—a dear, loving, tender, pitiful Father, yet our Heavenly Father, who ‘is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him.’ (Psalm 89:7)”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “A Fear to Be Desired,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 48; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1902), 48: 496, 497-498.

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“Children ought to love Jesus Christ above things in the world” by Jonathan Edwards

“The following reasons may be given why children ought to love Jesus Christ above things in the world.

He is more lovely in Himself. He is one that is greater and higher than all the kings of the earth, has more honor and majesty than they, and yet He is innately good and full of mercy and love.

There is no love so great and so wonderful as that which is in the heart of Christ. He is one that delights in mercy; He is ready to pity those that are in suffering and sorrowful circumstances; one that delights in the happiness of His creatures.

The love and grace that Christ has manifested does as much exceed all that which is in this world as the sun is brighter than a candle. Parents are often full of kindness towards their children, but that is no kindness like Jesus Christ’s.

And He is an infinitely holy One. He is God’s holy child, so holy and pure that the heavens are not pure in His sight, so that He is fairer than the sons of men, as the Psalmist says (Ps. 45:2). He is ‘the chiefest among ten thousand,’ (Cant. 5:10) and ‘altogether lovely’ (5:16).

Because of His glorious excellency, He is compared to the sun, that is the brightest of all things that we behold with our bodily eyes. ’Tis He that is called ‘the Sun of righteousness’ (Mal. 4:2).

So He is called the ‘morning star,’ the brightest of all the whole multitude of stars (Rev. 22:16). He is so lovely and excellent, that the angels in heaven do greatly love Him; their hearts overflow with love to Him, and they are continually, day and night without ceasing, praising him and giving Him glory.

Yea, He is so lovely a person, that God the Father infinitely delights in Him; He is his beloved Son, the brightness of His glory, whose beauty God continually sees with infinite delight, without ever being weary of beholding it. ‘I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him,’ (Prov. 8:30).

And if the angels and God himself love Him so much above all, surely children ought to love Him above all things in this world.

Everything that is lovely in God is in Him, and everything that is or can be lovely in any man is in Him: for He is man as well as God, and He is the holiest, meekest, most humble, and every way the most excellent man that ever was.

He is the delight of heaven. There is nothing in heaven, that glorious world, that is brighter and more amiable and lovely than Christ.

And this darling of heaven, by becoming man, became as a plant or flower springing out of the earth; and He is the most lovely flower that ever was seen in this world. (Cant. 2:1)—there ’tis said of Christ, ‘I am the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valleys.’

There is more good to be enjoyed in Him than in everything or all things in this world. He is not only an amiable, but an all-sufficient good.

There is enough in Him to answer all our wants and satisfy all our desires. Children, if they come to Christ and set their hearts on Him, will find that in Him that is better for them and will be sweeter to them than anything that is to had in the presence and company or provision of their parents, and better than anything that is to be found in their parents’ houses.

Christ has the bread of life in Him; their souls may feed and feast upon that which will be much better than anything they are ever entertained with at their fathers’ tables.

Christ is to those that love Him as glorious clothing and excellent ornaments to their souls. Those children that love Him, their souls are clothed with those robes that are a thousand times as beautiful and desirable than the best clothing their parents provide for them.

In Him they shall have that spiritual good which will be as gold tried in the fire, that will make them richer than if they were kings’ children.

Christ is the most suitable good for them. If they love Him, they will find Him sweeter to them than the honey and the honeycomb.

In Him they shall have enough, all that they desire. He will give them rest and satisfaction.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Children Ought to Love the Lord Jesus Christ Above All, (Matthew 10:37),” Sermons and Discourses, 1739–1742 (ed. Harry S. Stout, Nathan O. Hatch, and Kyle P. Farley; vol. 22; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2003), 22: 171–173.

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“Every link in the chain of salvation is wrought and interwoven with free grace” by Thomas Watson

“All the mercy in the creature is derived from God, and is but a drop of this ocean. The mercy and pity a mother hath to her child is from God.

God is called, ‘The Father of mercies,’ (2 Cor. 1:3) because He begets all the mercies in the world. If God hath put any kindness into the creature, how much kindness is in Him who is the Father of mercy?

God’s mercy, as it makes the saints happy, so it should make them humble. Mercy is not the fruit of our goodness, but the fruit of God’s goodness.

Mercy is an alms that God bestows. They have no cause to be proud who live upon the alms of God’s mercy. ‘If I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head,’ (Job 10:15). All my righteousness is the effect of God’s mercy, therefore I will be humble, and will not lift up my head.

Mercy stays the speedy execution of God’s justice. Sinners continually provoke God, and make His fury come up in His face (Ezek. 38:18). Why is it that God does not presently arrest and condemn them? It is not because God cannot do it, for He is armed with omnipotence. It is because of God’s mercy.

Mercy gets a reprieve for the sinner, and stops the speedy process of justice. God would, by His goodness, lead sinners to repentance. It is only mercy that saves the sinner.

I might shew you several species or kinds of mercy: preventing mercy, sparing mercy, supplying mercy, guiding mercy, accepting mercy, healing mercy, quickening mercy, supporting mercy, forgiving mercy, correcting mercy, comforting mercy, delivering mercy, and crowning mercy.

God’s mercy is free. To set up merit is to destroy mercy. Nothing can deserve mercy, because we are polluted in our blood. We may force God to punish us, not to love us: ‘I will love them freely,’ (Hos. 14:4).

Every link in the chain of salvation is wrought and interwoven with free grace.

Election is free: ‘He hath chosen us in Him… according to the good pleasure of His will,’ (Eph. 1:4-5).

Justification is free: ‘Being justified freely by His grace,’ (Rom. 3:24).

Salvation is free: ‘According to His mercy He saved us,’ (Titus 3:5).

Mercy is free. If God should show mercy only to such as are worthy, then He would show none at all.

God’s mercy is an overflowing mercy. It is infinite: ‘Plenteous in mercy,’ (Ps. 86:5); ‘Rich in mercy,’ (Eph. 2:4); ‘Multitude of Thy mercies,’ (Ps. 51:1).

The vial of wrath doth but drop, but the fountain of mercy runs. The sun is not so full of light as God is full of mercy.

God hath morning-mercies: ‘They are new every morning,’ (Lam. 3:23). God hath night-mercies: ‘In the night his song shall be with me,’ (Ps. 42:8).

God hath mercies under heaven, those we taste of; and in heaven, those we hope for.

God’s mercy is eternal: ‘The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting,’ (Ps. 103:17). It is repeated twenty-six times in one psalm, ‘His mercy endureth forever,’ (Ps. 136).

The souls of the blessed shall be ever bathing themselves in this sweet and pleasant ocean of God’s mercy. God’s anger to His children lasts but a while (Ps. 103:17), but His mercy lasts forever.

As long as He is God He will be shewing mercy. As His mercy is overflowing, so it is everflowing.”

–Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity Contained in Sermons Upon the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1692/1970), 95-96.

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