In View of God’s Mercy

Let all that I am praise the LORD;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the LORD;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
The LORD gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.
The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.

Of the many definitions of God’s grace and mercy, maybe the most insightful definition is this: grace is God giving us something that we can never earn, and mercy is God not giving us something that we certainly deserve. On the one hand, we do not deserve God’s salvation or any of the blessings that come with it. And on the other hand, we surely deserve God’s just penalty for sin. Yet, because of God’s great love and mercy, He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10). So when we repent and believe in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and justified before God. Or, as David writes, God has forgiven us of all our sins, removing them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:3, 12).

The theme of Psalm 103 — the psalm appointed for this week — is the mercy of God. In it, David expresses deep gratitude for God’s abundant mercy. As I’m sure you remember, David had committed adultery and murder, and though he suffered considerable consequences for his sins, God forgave and restored him. In Psalms 32 and 51, he described the extreme effects the guilt of his sin against God had on him. But David does not mention guilt anywhere in Psalm 103. Instead, he describes the benefits of God’s endless mercy and goodness; not only did God forgive David’s sins, He healed him of the afflictions of his sin (verse 12).

Before we can appreciate God’s mercy, we must first understand the seriousness of sin (1 Timothy 1:15–17). When we do, the greatness of God’s mercy becomes clear to us. And whenever we see God’s mercy, praise and thanksgiving fill our hearts and mouths for everything the Lord has done for us (verse 1).

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