THE CAUSE OF MAN’S SALVATION – GOD’S MERCY AND LOVE
What was it that first led the Lord to bring you and me into the covenant at all? It was mercy, pure mercy. We were dead in sin. We had not any merits to recommend us, for some of us used to curse and swear like infidels; some of us were drunkards, sinners of the deepest dye. And why did God save us? Simply because he has said, “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy.”
“What was there in you that could merit esteem,
Or give the Creator delight?”
‘Twas mercy. Well, then, if mercy made God choose me, if he chose me from no other motive than mercy, if that mercy always is the same, he always will choose me, and always will love me. Do you not know it is a rule which none can dispute, that the same cause must always produce the same effect. We are told that the volcano is caused by certain fires within the earth, which must find their vent. Now, as long as there are those inward fires, and they are in a condition to require the vent, the vent they must have. When the cause is the same, the effect must be the same.
The sole cause then, of the salvation of any man is the mercy of God, and not his merits. God does not look at you whether you are a good man or a bad man; he does not save you because of anything in yourself, but because he will do as he pleases, and because he loves to act mercifully: that is his only reason. Oh! my God, if thou lovedst me when I had not any faith, thou wilt not cast me away because my faith is weak now. If thou lovedst me when I had all my sin about me, thou wilt not leave off loving me now thou hast pardoned me. If thou lovedst me when I was in my rags, and beggary, and filth, when there was nothing to recommend me; at least, my God, I am not further fallen than I was then, or, if I am, the same boundless mercy that loved me when I was lost, will love me, lost though I be even now. Do you not see it is because the basis of eternal love is that on which we build we derive this inference, that if the base cannot move, the pyramid will not. “The mercy of God endureth for ever: the Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.”
Note the very words of the text: “Thy mercy, O Lord.” David brings his confidence into the court of Divine inspection, in order that it may there be proved. He says, “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.” It is very well for you and I to speak thus here this morning, but dare we go up to the very temple of God, and there, feeling his presence, actually present our confidence before him, and ask him to try it. There are many hypocrites in the world that would tremble to play the hypocrite if they felt that they were in the presence of God. But here we have a man that dares to bring his faith to God’s tribunal; he puts it in the scales of infinite justice, and waits the decision. “Thy mercy, O Lord.” Can you do the same? Who among us can cry out with Toplady—
“The terrors of law and of God,
With me can have nothing to do,
My Saviour’s obedience and blood,
Hide all my transgressions from view.”
Can you come into God’s presence and say this, or, to quote Hart’s words, can you say
“Great God I’m clean,
Through Jesus’s blood I’m clean.”
He that can say that is blessed indeed; the Lord shall perfect that which concerneth him.
Ah, what if God’s mercy towards men should change? Blessed be his name it cannot; it endureth for ever. But what if he should remove his mercy from one man to another? That also he will never do; it endureth for ever. But suppose we should sin so much that God’s mercy should give way? It cannot give way; it endureth all the weight of sin; it endureth for ever. But what if we should live in sin so long that at last God denied mercy to us even though we believed in him? That cannot be; we cannot sin longer than for ever—his mercy cannot be tried longer, and even if it could be tried for ever it would endure for ever. All the weight of my trouble, all the weight of my backsliding, all the weight of my evil heart of unbelief—all these the everlasting arches of divine mercy can and will sustain. Those arches never shall rock; the stone never shall be crumbled; it never shall be swept away by even the floods of eternity itself. Because his mercy endureth for ever, God will most assuredly perfect the work of his hands.