Who is a God like to you, that pardons iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?…
For the proof of this we are entirely dependent on revelation. The deist is challenged to produce one valid argument in demonstration of the Divine mercifulness. The light of nature discovers nothing beyond mere forbearance, and forbearance does not necessarily imply mercy.Revelation —
1. Announces to us that God is merciful, and this repeatedly, and in terms the most explicit. The fact is declared that God is merciful; but there is something very peculiar in the manner in which this doctrine is taught. Notice the words that are synonymous, or nearly so, with mercy; such as gracious, long suffering, slow to anger, pitiful. Notice that the inspired writers, not content with the singular, mercy, by a felicitous fault of style, employ the plural form, mercies. They speak of "the multitude of His mercies." Notice that they speak of God as rich in mercy, plenteous in mercy, and full of compassion. Notice that the mercy of God is compared to certain human exercises. "Like as a father pitieth," etc. Notice that it is said of God, "He delighteth in mercy." Some things we do by constraint, some by a sense of duty; others we delight to do. It is not by constraint that God is merciful. See some proofs that God delights in mercy. Infer it from the fact that He has made mercy a part of our moral constitution. He has made it a part of our duty, not merely to show mercy, but to love it: He requires us to delight in it. He expresses the highest displeasure against the unmerciful Infer it from the manner in which God exercises mercy to sinners of the human race.Illustrate by following particulars —
1. He shows mercy without waiting to be asked to do it.
2. He shows mercy at great expense to Himself.
3. He lets us see how it is that He can consistently exercise mercy towards us; discloses to us the plan of salvation, as well as the fact of its possibility.
4. The first moment that sinners manifest a willingness to comply with the terms on which He exercises mercy, they are met by His mercy.
5. The terms of mercy are brought down as low as they could be.
6. To those very terms His mercy brings us. He even fulfils in us the conditions of salvation.
7. He waiteth to be gracious; spares us long, and overlooks many provocations.
8. He makes many offers of mercy.
9. He shows mercy to many sinners.
10. He shows mercy to His enemies. Then what shall we make of this doctrine? Shall we infer that God is not just, not holy, not faithful, because He is merciful? Surely sinners, sensible of their sins, have the greatest encouragement to hope in God's mercy. If God delights in mercy, what can be plainer than that men should?
(W. Nevins, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.