Let the wicked man forsake his own way and the unrighteous man his own thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that He may have compassion, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.
I. SIN MEANS SEPARATION - the separation of the soul from its Creator. The distance we can calculate in miles or in degrees is nothing to that which divides one spirit from another; it is nothing to that which separates the erring, guilty soul of man from the Holy Spirit of the living God. We may be in the same room with another of our race or even of our family, and yet feel further apart than if many leagues of ocean came between us. We are always near to him who is everywhere, and yet our ingratitude, our unworthiness, our guilt, may compel us to feel terribly far off from him.
II. REPENTANCE MEANS RETURN - the abandonment by the sinful soul of its evil way, and its return to the righteous God whom it has forsaken. It signifies much more than a change of creed and of profession; or than a passing emotion of sorrow, however violent the feeling may be; or than an alteration in outward habit. It signifies:
1. The aversion of the heart from the thought and love of evil. "Let the unrighteous man forsake his [evil] thoughts."
2. The consequent change of the habit of life. "Let the wicked forsake his way."
3. The return of the soul to God. The man who has neglected, forsaken, disregarded, and disobeyed God, coming back in penitent thought and with the language of confession on his lips to the Father from whom he has wandered.
III. THE WAY BACK IS OPEN. Can the sinner be forgiven? Is the way clear? Are there not insuperable obstacles in the way - grievous transgressions of Law, accumulated guilt, darkening and deepening iniquity? How can all this be removed from the path of reconciliation? The answer is m the gospel statement: "Through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." "He is the Propitiation for... the sins of the whole world."
IV. THE WELCOME HOME IS SURE. There is an assurance, here as elsewhere, which is "doubly sure." The mercy of God is not only enough for our necessities, it is far more than enough. It is not only a lake, it is a deep and wide sea; it is not merely a hill, it is an overtowering mountain; there are not only riches, there are exceeding riches, unsearchable riches of grace; on the repentant and believing sinner God will not only have mercy, he will abundantly pardon him; the returning prodigal will not merely be taken in when he arrives; the Father will run to meet him. and lavish upon him all possible proofs of his parental love. - C.
I. THE COUNSEL: which is to amendment of life.
I. THE CONVERSION OF A SINNER is expressed in three degrees.
Let the wicked forsake his way.1. Here there are apparently two things expressed — a negative and a positive, two lines of conduct expressed — a forsaking one way of living and the adoption of another, but in reality the two things are but one. They are two in thought and expression, but only one in conduct. The forsaking the wicked way and the wicked thought is no other than the returning with all our heart to God. You cannot separate them. If I were to say to a man going out to his day's work. " Now, do not go to the public-house this evening when you have done work, but return straight home to your wife and children," you will see that the two pieces of advice resolve themselves into one, and he would have only to go straight home from work to fulfil both duties. And so we can forsake no evil way or evil thought but by beginning to walk in the right way and cherishing the right thought.
2. There are two methods of forsaking evil ways and evil thoughts. The one by means of self-denial and self-repression when a man's conscience arrests him and sternly forbids him to continue any longer in his evil way of life, and he makes a strong resolve that he will root out the passion or the habit that has hitherto mastered him. Then a tremendous struggle begins between the spirit and the flesh, and by the force of sheer will he holds down the rebellious appetite. The sense of duty gives him strength for a time, but, alas I the tension of the will is too strained to last, and a rebound comes, and he says, " I cannot maintain the strife any longer. I must yield." The other method begins at a different point. Instead of fighting the evil in pitched battles, he seeks to conquer by diverting the mind into a different channel of activity, and awakening within himself a different order of sentiments and affections.
3. You observe that the wicked is not only to forsake his way, but his thoughts also, so that the regeneration is to extend not only to the outward ways, but to the very inward thoughts of the mind, indicating how thorough and universal the change is to be. Now consider how firmly established men are in evil ways and evil thoughts, and how they delight in them, and how completely they are surrendered to their power. They do not want to change, and they do not believe they are capable of it. They say human nature is human nature, and that it is Utopian to expect men to give up ways of living common to all the world and to all the ages; and so they go on beating the everlasting round of human ways and human sin, till at length life becomes weary, and they die, and go we know not where. But there are some who are seized at intervals with better thoughts and nobler desires, who see before them a good in life after which they make Convulsive snatches.
4. I want to point out to any who are lamenting their failures, who have tried to conquer themselves, but have sunk back defeated, what is the Divine method as pointed out in the Bible — both in the Old and in the New Testament. It is what I have called the positive method — not the direct, but the indirect and successful. Here it is called, Seeking the Lord while He may be found, calling upon. Him while He is near, and a returning unto the Lord. Christ calls it a coming unto Him in our weariness, believing on Him so as to come into everlasting life. It is faith, the surrender of ourselves to Him, to His goodness, to His love, to His Spirit, and example, and will.
(C. Short, M. A.)The wicked, whose name, in the Hebrew language, is derived from a word that signifies to be unquiet. This designation will agree with the turbulent dispositions for which people of this character are often remarkable. Unquiet is their name, and unquietness is with them. They cannot cease from sin, which renders them unstable and fluctuating, and ofttimes uneasy to themselves and troublesome to society. In contempt of God and His authority, they are restless and assiduous in the practice of iniquity.
1. In the forsaking of wicked ways.
2. In the forsaking of evil thoughts.
3. In returning again to the Lord.
II. THE CONDITION WHEREIN HE STANDS WHO HATH DONE ALL THIS is no state of merit, but of mercy; no, not so much as a little merit, but even abundant mercy.
1. The act of aversion.(1) For his,, course.. "Let the wicked forsake his" way."(2) As it reaches to a man's mind. The unrighteous man his thoughts." The law of God does reach to our thoughts for ordering and regulating them. The thoughts of men are the proper issue and emanation of their souls, and so for that reason more especially to be rectified in them. The thoughts are such as whereto the Gospel and ministry of the Word does especially extend itself (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Corinthians 10:5). God Himself is a searcher and trier of the thoughts and inward man.
2. The act of conversion. "Let him return unto the Lord." This is the nature of true repentance — it is a turning from sin to God.
II. THE PROMISE or argument to enforce this counsel and invitation. That is taken from God's readiness to the forgiveness of sin upon that condition.
(T. Horton, D. D.)
1. As to matter of opinion. Take a man in his natural condition, and he has many strange conceits in his head, whilst he so remains (Romans 1:21).(1) The thoughts of sin — when a man is converted he forsakes these. In his natural condition, he many times makes nothing of sin. "Fools make a mock of sin."(2) So, also, his thoughts of grace, and godliness and godly men.(3) So again, for his thoughts of God Himself, he must forsake these and think otherwise of Him.
2. As to matter of contemplation, he must forsake his thoughts here also. Take a carnal man, and where are all his thoughts? What is that which his mind does most run on? Why, upon the world, and the things of the world.
3. As to matter of contrivance and design. Wicked men, as they are full of vain meditations, so they are commonly full of sinful devices. And they are still laying a train for future wickedness in themselves — "making provisions for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof."
(T. Horton, D. D.)I. THE COUNSELLOR. The Father of the wicked is here speaking to the wicked. He who speaks knows every wicked man. He who speaks hates evil. He who speaks hath power to destroy the wicked in hell. He desireth not the death of one transgressor, but rather that he should turn unto Him and live. It is the redeeming God who is here addressing the wicked man.
II. HIS COUNSEL. "Let the wicked forsake," etc. We have ways in common; but we have ways that are individual and peculiar to ourselves. Every man has his way of thinking, and reasoning, and imagining, and feeling, and willing, and acting. Now, "the wicked setteth himself in a way that is not good," and God says, "Get out of it, forsake it." This advice is based upon the following facts. The way of the wicked and the thoughts of the unrighteous are absolutely wrong. They are injurious — injurious to the wicked man himself, Further, repentance now is possible; for the Son of the Father now speaking to the wicked man, is exalted to give repentance and remission of sins. Further, God Himself seeks it. This advice requires —
1. Self-inspection. It asks the wicked man to look at his way. It says to him, Look back — it has been a rough way, sometimes covered, it is true, with bright green grass, and with soft enticing moss; but the flints have come through it all, and have made the feet often bleed: so that if the wicked man will look back, he will find blood-marks on his way, an evidence that the way of transgressors is hard. The wicked man is not only to look at his way, but the unrighteous man at his thoughts. He is to consider his purposes.
2. The admission of truth as to the character of the way, and as to the nature of the thoughts. It is quite possible that a wicked man looking back, and seeing his path to be hard, will try to forget it. God says, admit the truth.
3. The resistance of an inclination to go on.
4. Submission to the conviction that the way is evil, and the abandonment of every unrighteous purpose, with actual departure from the path of open and actual transgression. It is just possible that in the midst of a multitude of transgressions, there is one master sin; and that master sin, it may be, the key-stone of all your transgressions. Take that away, and your habits of sinning are broken up. This advice requires appeal to God for mercy, and for help and reconciliation.
III. THE COUNSELLED. If you take a Concordance and look through it at the word "wicked," I think you will be astonished to find how often the winked are recognized in Holy Scripture, and men often talk about the wicked. But God and men do not always mean the same thing. Men unduly limit the application of this word. They call the immoral wicked, and only the immoral. Now hear what the Lord says in describing a wicked man. "God is not in all his thoughts;" so that he is a wicked man who does not recognize God in God's own world.
IV. THE PROMISE OR ASSURANCE BY WHICH THIS ADVICE IS SANCTIONED AND SUSTAINED. It is like the promise made to faith; you must believe in order to realize the promise. It is like the promise made to repentance: you must repent in order to realize the promise. The promise is conditional; and yet, mark, it is sure. The promise is made, further, to characters. There is, therefore, an indefiniteness about it which may well encourage you. It is not necessary I should go into your wickedness, or that I should at all define or describe your thoughts.
I. THE NECESSITY OF CONVERSION. " Right about face!" is the marching order for every sinner.
1. This will be at once evident when I ask, How would it be consistent with the holiness of God for Him to put aside our past sin, and then to allow us to go on sinning as we did before?
2. Neither is there a single case in fact, nor one emblem in parable, that would lead any man to hope that he could keep his sins, and yet be saved.
3. Besides, our common-sense tells us that it would be highly dangerous to society if men were to be pardoned, and yet were not to be renewed in character and lira.
4. Moreover, it would be a serious injury to the man himself, I have come to the conclusion that the very worst form of character is produced in the man who, for some reason or other, thinks himself to be a favourite of Heaven, and yet continues to indulge in sin.
II. THE NATURE OF THIS CONVERSION. How is it described here?
1. It deals with the life. "Let the wicked forsake his way." It is "his way" that he is to forsake; that is his natural way, the way in which he says he was brought up, the way that his natural affections, and propensities, and passions lead him. He must forsake this way, even though it is the way in which he has walked these thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, or even eighty years; he will have to get out of this way, however much he may delight in it. "I will tell you what I will do," says one; "I will still keep to my old way, but I will not travel quite so rapidly in it. I will not live such a fast life as I have done." I tell thee that thou must forsake that old way, of thine altogether if thou wouldst be saved. "That is pretty strong language, says some one. Do you think so? I shall have to use still stronger expressions presently, for the next point concerning the nature of this repentance is that —
2. It deals with the man's thoughts. In thought, is often the very essence of sin. A deed might in itself be colourless; but the motive for doing it — the thought at the back of it — puts the venom, and virus, and guilt into the deed. As that is the case, what sort of thoughts must the unrighteous man give up? He must give up a great many fine opinions of which he is very proud; his opinion about God, for instance. To the ungodly man it is often quite a treat to sit down, and think of what he calls the jolly days of his youth, when he sowed his wild oats. We must also forsake our thoughts in the sense of turning from all purposes of evil. That, indeed, is the main meaning of the Hebrew word used here: "Let the unrighteous man forsake his purposes." You say that you will do this or that, without any thought of whether God would have it so or not. Possibly it is your purpose, as you express it, "to have your fling." You have come up from the country, young man, you are pleased that you have got away from your mother's apron strings, and now you are going to have your own way. Forsake all such thoughts, I implore you.
3. The text further says, "and let him return unto the Lord,- so that this conversion deals with the sinner in his relation to God. He who would find mercy must return to God to obtain it.(1) You must begin to think about God.(2) Then you must yield to Him, give up your will to His will; and, doing that, you must pray to Him, cry to Him for mercy; and then you must trust Him. Especially, you must accept His way of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
III. THE GOSPEL OF THIS CONVERSION. Possibly somebody says, "You have been preaching to us the law, sir." No, I have not. The law says nothing about repentance. The law curses you from the very first moment when you have broken it. That gracious message, Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out," is not the utterance of law, but of the Gospel.
1. The Gospel of it lies in the fact that God has promised that He will abundantly pardon those who turn from their evil ways.
2. Not only does God bid men turn to Him, but He enables them to turn to Him; so the Gospel of this passage is, that God the Holy Ghost is freely given to sinners to turn them, first in their hearts, and then in their lives.
3. Jesus Christ Himself came into the world on purpose that this Divine Spirit might be given in connection with the exercise, by men, of faith in Him.
4. God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to offer a full and complete atonement for sin.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. SOMETHING FOR MAN TO DO. Here are three things the prophet declares to be necessary. They are not three, but one; each merges into the other, and it is only as the final one is obeyed that the former ones are obeyed; and yet let us take them in their sequence.
1. "Let the wicked forsake his way."
2. "The unrighteous man his thoughts.
3. "Let him return unto the Lord." As a matter of fact, the prophet here is beginning in the outer reaches of life, passing to the inner circle, until he comes to the central fact of man's nature. We will begin in this outer court. The Hebrew word translated "way" at this point means a beaten track, the way along which a man habitually walks; and it is used figuratively in Hebrew writings of the general set and direction of a man's life, and the prophet says that the first thing a man has to do if he is to come back into the garden is to leave his way, the outward set, and direction of his life. Then he comes to another word, "Let the unrighteous man forsake his thoughts," and the Hebrew word here means literally a web, figuratively a plan, a conception, an ideal. So that the prophet now has come to something deeper than the outward set of a man's life. He is to give that up by giving up his inward conception of life. And how is a man to give up his outward way and the inward conception, and why is a man to give up his outward way, and his inward conception? He is to give it up by returning, to the Lord, and he is to give it up because it is not the Lord's way and the Lord's thought. Notice what immediately follows this seventh verse. In the Authorized Version, at ver. 8, there is a paragraph mark that we need to dispense with. The paragraph mark is put in to indicate the fact that the prophet there begins a new subject. As a matter of fact, he does nothing of the sort; he goes right on with the same subject. Here we are touching the fundamental question of sin. When the prophet calls a man to forsake his way, it is not that he asks him to give up drinking, or thieving, or lying, or impurity. "All we like sheep have .gone astray; we. have turned, every one to his own way." That is the essence of sin. The essential trouble is not that a man drinks, or swears; it is that he has elected to go his own way, instead of God's way. The underlying root sin of humanity is rebellion against the government of God. That sin may manifest itself in vulgar forms, against which we sign pledges; or it may manifest itself in the cultured and refined paganism that attempts to live without prayer and without worship. I will tell you, in the name of God, what is the trouble in your life! It is godless, that is the trouble. I will tell you why you are in the desert. You have turned your back upon God. I will tell you why you are never satisfied with water or bread. It is because you have left the place of intimate and first-hand relationship to God. Do you want to get from the desert, back to God? Forsake your way; take His. Give up your thought; take His. "But," says some man in his pride, "why should I give up my way, and take God's way? And why should I give up my thought, and take God's thought?" Go right on, and see what the prophet says (ver. 8). God's thought for you is the thought of Heaven. Yours is the thought of earth. God thinks infinitely more of you than you think of yourself. Yours is a degraded estimate of your own life. Will you say, "Yes, that true, I will return to the Lord." Then I know immediately your face is set toward God's high conception, toward God's great highway, the next consciousness will be that of your sin, the wasted years will come sweeping back upon you like an avalanche. If, indeed, thou art at this wicket gate, and thy face is set back toward, God then hear the evangel, "He will" have mercy. He will abundantly pardon.
II. SOMETHING THAT GOD WILL DO. You are to do what He tells you, and He will do what He promises. You arc to obey; that is repentance. You are to trust Him; that is faith. That is the whole programme of salvation.
(G. C. Morgan, D. D.)
Homiletic Review.I. A VIVID PORTRAIT.
1. It introduces the man of evil deeds.
2. We have likewise the portrait of the man of unholy purposes. What a mirror the text holds up to society!
II. AN EARLIEST EXHORTATION.
1. "Let the wicked forsake," etc. The sinner is required to forsake, to abandon his sin.
2. "Let him return unto the Lord." The sinner lives abnormally, unnaturally. He is a prodigal away from home, a wandering sheep beyond the protection of the fold, a lost piece of silver. Hence religion is a return to God, to first relations, to natural courses of behaviour. Sinners are like wandering stars escaped from their orbit. Conversion restores them to their proper place in the onward sweep of the Divine purpose. The text is a disclosure of the nature of true repentance and of saving faith.
III. AN EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISE.
1. "And He will have mercy upon him." Mercy is God's wealth. "Rich in mercy."
2. "Abundantly pardon." What music is in these words!
(Homiletic Review.)μετάνοια find expression — the forsaking of sinful selfishness, and return to the God of salvation.
(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)I. THE OBLIGATIONS TO AN EARLY REPENTANCE.
II. THE TRUE NATURE OF REPENTANCE.
(J. Taylor, LL. D.)
(D. L. Moody.)
Homilist.I. GOD HAS ENDOWED MAN WITH CAPACITIES TO ACT IN SOME MEASURE LIKE HIMSELF, INASMUCH AS BOTH HAVE THEIR "THOUGHTS AND WAYS."
1. God has His thoughts — thoughts about Himself — the universe; about all actualities and possibilities. Some of His thoughts have been embodied and their forms destroyed, centuries ago Some are now embodied in creation, In historical events, in redemption, etc. Some are yet to be embodied in new universes, etc. And some will never take form. There is an infinite ocean of thought in the Divine mind that has never yet taken form, and never will.
2. God has His ways. He has settled methods of action. He has a method of creating, governing, destroying, and saving. Hence science and art, which imply settled methods.
3. Man has his thoughts. He is full of thought, of some sort or other; he thinks by a necessity of his nature; his power to think is the glory of his nature.
4. Man too has his ways. He has his methods of doing things.
II. BETWEEN THE THOUGHTS AND WAYS OF WICKED AND UNRIGHTEOUS MEN AND THOSE OF GOD THERE IS AN IMMENSE MORAL DISPARITY. "My thoughts are not your thoughts," etc. We say moral disparity, for natural disparity must exist by an eternal necessity. We may mention two points of moral difference. One in relation to being in general, and the other in relation to enemies.
1. As to the former, God's thoughts and ways are concerned for the general happiness, those of wicked men for personal ends.
2. As to the latter, God's thoughts are concerned for the pardon of the offender, those of the wicked for punishment.(1) God graciously offers pardon to the offender. Do the wicked do so?(2) God graciously offers pardon to offenders much beneath Him. Do the wicked do so?(3) God graciously offers pardon to offenders who have repeatedly rejected His overtures. Do the wicked do so?(4) God graciously offers pardon through a wonderful sacrifice — His Son. Would the wicked do so?
III. THE MORAL DISPARITY BETWEEN THE THOUGHTS AND WAYS OF WICKED MEN AND THOSE OF GOD RENDERS A CHANGE ON THE PART OF THE FORMER URGENTLY NECESSARY. " Let the wicked," etc. Why? Because "My thoughts," etc. Two thoughts are implied here, and will show the strength of this reason.
1. A moral disparity of thought and way between the creature and the Creator is eternally incompatible with the creature's well-being. God's thoughts and ways are the resistless forces of the universe. He who thinks and acts contrary battles against every wind and wave of being and the mighty Spirit in all. He must be crushed.
2. The removal of this disparity will never take place by any change on God's part. The words imply this, and it is a great truth. God cannot change, and there is no need for Him to change. Here, then, is the argument; if a moral disparity exists, and if the removal is essential to our well-being, and if God cannot change, "let the wicked," etc.
IV. THIS GREAT CHANGE ON THE PART OF THE WICKED IS ENCOURAGED BY THE ASSURANCE THAT GOD WILL MERCIFULLY DEAL WITH HIM ON HIS RETURN. "He will have mercy on him;" "He will abundantly pardon."
(Homilist.)I. WHY, IN SO FAR AS GOD'S NATURE DIFFERS FROM MAN'S, HE MAY BE SUPPOSED LESS LIKELY TO FORGIVE.
1. God knows us more thoroughly than any human being; He knows the worst of us, and He knows the great hidden element of character which is only occasionally betrayed.
2. Ha knows the motives, and knows that there are bad motives even for good actions.
3. He judges our sins by an infinitely higher standard than man's.
II. WHY GOD IS, JUST BECAUSE OF THAT DIFFERENCE, INFINITELY MORE LIKELY TO FORGIVE.
1. Among men the best and purest are not the severest censors and judges, for human goodness is the more merciful in proportion as it approaches nearer to perfection.
2. In God there is no fictional irascibility or resentment. Christ's life on earth was the story of a long, silent, immovable patience, of absolute lifelong superiority to personal feeling.
3. Although to justice or righteousness it is some satisfaction that a bad man should be miserable, yet it is another nobler and sweeter satisfaction that he should become a good man.
(J. Caird, D. D.)
I. AN EXHORTATION TO REPENTANCE. Here, in few words, we are given plainly to understand in what genuine repentance consists.
II. THE PROMISE OF PARDON ANNEXED TO THE EXHORTATION. If the wicked will forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and return unto the Lord, He will have mercy upon him, and will abundantly pardon him. Repentance is here enjoined as a prerequisite to pardon. And do not other passages of Scripture speak the same language? We must not, however. suppose that there, is anything meritorious, in our repentance. It possesses no virtue or efficacy to expiate our guilt. It Is our bounden duty, but it makes no compensation for past failures; no atonement for past transgressions. It is itself the gift of God, who has exalted His beloved Son to be a Prince and a Saviour, in order to bestow it on the rebellious. It can therefore deserve nothing. Nevertheless, it is to the penitent alone that God extends His pardoning mercy. Why? It would be enough to answer, that such is the good pleasure of His will; but we can also add, that the penitent alone is qualified to receive and appreciate the blessing. But it may be asked, How can God be favour-able to the sinner? For an answer we must turn to the Gospel of His grace, which alone informs us how He can be a just God and yet a Saviour.
III. AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO LAY HOLD OF THE PROMISE. What answer do you make?
1. Some one, perhaps, in the brokenness of his heart may reply, "Yes, I must believe that God is indeed merciful and gracious. I perceive also that He can, in the Son of His love, be a just God and a Saviour. But, alas! my sins have been so numerous that, though He may forgive others, I cannot persuade myself He will extend pardon to me." But what saith God? "My thoughts are not your thoughts. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My thoughts higher than your thoughts."
2. " But," says another, "my sins have been not only numerous, but highly aggravated." If you had sinned so often and so heinously against your fellow-creatures, you might well despair of forgiveness. It is too much, alas I our way to retaliate evil for evil. But "your ways are not My ways," etc.
3. I seem to hear a third in anguish of spirit exclaiming, "I am one of those awful characters known in Scripture by the name of backsliders." The words here translated "abundantly pardon," are rendered on the margin "multiply to pardon." The Lord will pardon, not once only, but again, and again, and again. Conclusion: It is painful to think that any one should be so wicked, and so lost to every grateful feeling, as to pervert such a subject. Yet it is a fact that many are guilty of so doing. There are two characters especially who come under this charge. One of them is the hardened and impenitent transgressor, who takes encouragement to proceed in his sinful career from the consideration that God is merciful, and will not fail to pardon him at the last.
2. The other is the antinomian professor of religion, who professes to know God, but in works denies Him, and endeavours to lull conscience to rest by extolling His sovereign and superabounding grace. The grace of God was never meant to embolden us in a course of transgression; nor does it ever produce this effect on those who know it in truth.
(J. R. Miller, D. D.)
He will abundantly pardonI. THE ABUNDANCE OF GOD'S PARDONING MERCY IS EVINCED BY THE REMOVAL OF THE OBSTACLES TO ITS EXERCISE. It was not by annihilating — by scattering our iniquities in the regions of oblivion with no evidence of the Divine abhorrence — that the way is open for their remission But God laid upon His Son the iniquities of us all.
II. THE ABUNDANCE OF GOD'S PARDONING MERCY MAY BE ARGUED FROM HIS BENEVOLENCE. The goodness of God — i.e. His whole character — is intent on the promotion of the greatest good. When this end demands the punishment of sin, this goodness dictates it, and in this consists what we call justice. When this end is the pardon of the sinner, the same goodness dictates it, and in this consists mercy.
III. THE ABUNDANCE OF GOD'S PARDONING MERCY MAY BE EVINCED FROM THE RICHES OF HIS FORBEARANCE AND LONGSUFFERING. Consider —
1. The objects of the Divine forbearance; a world, our whole species in rebellion.
2. Its design; their repentance and salvation with eternal glory.
3. Its circumstances; how easy for Omnipotence to break the thread that holds us over the pit, and yet He spares us — He spares sinners, while He regards them with all the abhorrence that is due to sin — He spares them, while He can glorify Himself in their instant and eternal destruction — He spares them, when in the midst of great and repeated provocations, when, from the very patience of God, they derive only hardihood in rebellion — He spares them that He may use every possible means for their conversion and salvation. He comes to them in His Word and in His providence; by the chastisements and the bounties of His hand; by every moment's preservation; in the counsels and prayers and example of the pious; in visible displays of His eternal power and Godhead; by the heralds of the Cross, who warn them night and day with tears; in the opened gates of heaven, and the uncovered mouth of the pit; in full displays of the beauty and glory and sufficiency of an incarnate Saviour. Why these efforts to bring to repentance, if He has no mercy for the penitent?
(N. W. Taylor, D. D.)
I. GOD DOES ABUNDANTLY PARDON. We will turn that truth over and over, and see it in many lights.
1. The pardon of God may well be abundant, for it wells up from an infinite fountain; "mercy, which endureth for ever."
2. The objects to which this pardon has been extended are abundant too. Well is it said, "He will abundantly pardon," for God has already pardoned sinners more numerous than can be estimated by human arithmetic.
3. His pardon is abundant when we consider the abundance of the sins which the love of God blots out.(1) Sins of thought — rebellious thoughts, proud thoughts, blasphemous thoughts, atheistical thoughts, covetous thoughts, lustful thoughts, impatient thoughts, cruel thoughts, false thoughts, thoughts of ill memory, and dreams of an unholy future; what swarms are there l Moreover, the omission of thoughts which should have been, such as thoughts of repentance, gratitude, reverence, faith, and the like, these are equally numerous: with the double list my roll is written within and without with a hideous catalogue. As the gnats which swarm the air at eventide, so numerous are the transgressions of the mind.(2) Sins of word. What words have vexed the pure and holy ear of God! Words against Himself, against His Son, against His law and Gospel, against our neighbour, against everything that is good and true! Words proud and hectoring, words defiant and obstinate, words untruthful, words lascivious, words of vanity, and words of wilful unbelief.(3) Sins of deed, which in very truth are but the fruits which grow out of sins of thought.(4) Perhaps the sins we do not know are more numerous than the sins we are conscious of. Conscience may not be properly enlightened, and hence many a thing may not seem to be sinful which really is so; but God's clear eye perceiveth everything that is obnoxious to His holy law. Innumerable sins are forgiven by one word from the lips of Divine love.
4. We can see the truth of this in the abundant sin of those sins which are pardoned. Did you ever find a spider's nest just when the young spiders have all come to life, it is a city of spiders; now, such is any one sin, it. is .a colony of iniquities, a living mass of offence. In addition to there being many sins in one sin, I want you to remember how much virus of sin we sometimes manage to stow await in a sin. A man has done wrong and smarted for it, yet he does the very same thing again wilfully, against his own conscience and against the warning he has received. A man will sometimes acknowledge what a fool he has been, and yet play the fool again. Some men sin for no motive whatever — for mere wantonness of sin.
5. The Lord "abundantly pardons," when we consider the abundant means of pardon which he has been ever pleased to provide for sinners.
6. The abundant ease of the terms of pardon. "Let the wicked forsake," etc., that is all! No man can expect to be forgiven if he goes on with his sin.
7. The abundance of this pardon may be seen in the fulness of it.
8. He doth "abundantly pardon," because of the abundant blessings which attend that pardon.
II. THE INFERENCES WHICH FLOW OUT OF ABUNDANT PARDON.
1. There is no room for anybody to despair.
2. There is a loud call to every one who has not repented to do so; for who would be so base as to offend so good, so kind a Lord?
3. If there is anybody in this house the text especially calls, it is the biggest sinner here; because there cannot be abundant pardon where there is not abundant sin.
4. For such a forgiving God we ought in return to have great love.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(D. L. Moody.)
(G. Campbell Morgan, D. D.)
LinksIsaiah 55:7 NIV
Isaiah 55:7 NLT
Isaiah 55:7 ESV
Isaiah 55:7 NASB
Isaiah 55:7 KJV
Isaiah 55:7 Bible Apps
Isaiah 55:7 Parallel
Isaiah 55:7 Biblia Paralela
Isaiah 55:7 Chinese Bible
Isaiah 55:7 French Bible
Isaiah 55:7 German Bible
Isaiah 55:7 Commentaries