Last updated: Tuesday, 07 January 2014

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Abusing or Receiving God's Mercy 


Take heed of abusing the mercy of God. Suck not poison out of the sweet flower of God's mercy. Think not that because God is merciful, you may go on in sin; this is to make mercy your enemy. None might touch the ark but the priests, who by their office were more holy; so none may touch the ark of God's mercy but such as are resolved to be holy. To sin because mercy abounds is the devil's logic. He that sins because of mercy, is like one that wounds his head because he has a plaster. He that sins because of God's mercy, shall have judgement without mercy. Mercy abused turns to fury. ‘If he bless himself, saying, I shall have peace though I walk after the imaginations of my heart, to add drunkenness to thirst, the Lord will not spare him, but the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy, shall smoke against that man' (Deuteronomy 29:19, 20). Nothing is sweeter than mercy, when it is improved; nothing fiercer, when it is abused; as nothing is colder than lead when taken out of the mine, and nothing more scalding when it is heated. Nothing is blunter than iron, yet nothing is sharper when it is whetted. ‘The mercy of the Lord is upon them that fear him' (Psalm 103:17). Mercy is not for them that sin and fear not, but for them that fear and sin not. God's mercy is a holy mercy; where it pardons it heals.

What shall we do to be interested in [i.e., partake of] God's mercy?

(1.) Be sensible [i.e., aware] of your wants [i.e., needs]. See how much you stand in need of pardoning, saving mercy. See yourselves orphans. ‘In thee the fatherless find mercy' (Hosea 14:4). God bestows the alms of mercy only on such as are indigent. Be emptied of all opinion of self-worthiness. God pours the golden oil of mercy into empty vessels.

(2.) Go to God for mercy. ‘Have mercy upon me, O God!' (Psalm 51:1). Put me not off with common mercy that reprobates may have; give me not only acorns but pearls; give me not only mercy to feed and clothe me, but mercy to save me; give me the cream of thy mercies; Lord! let me have mercy and lovingkindness. ‘Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies' (Psalm 103:3). Give me such mercy as speaks thy electing love to my soul. Oh pray for mercy! God has treasures of mercy; prayer is the key that opens these treasures; and in prayer, be sure to carry Christ in your arms, for all the mercy comes through Christ. ‘Samuel took a sucking lamb’ (1 Samuel 7:7); carry the lamb Christ in your arms, go in his name, present his merits; say, Lord! here is Christ's blood, which is the price of my pardon; Lord! show me mercy, because Christ has purchased it. Though God may refuse us when we come for mercy in our own name, yet he will not when we come in Christ's name. Plead Christ's satisfaction, and this is an argument that God cannot deny.



Thomas Watson


A Body of Divinity (Banner of Truth, 1958), p68