God Loves Us

MEMORY VERSE: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” —Psalm 103:8

PSALM 103:8-14

GOD’S mercy is a manifestation of his love, and the Bible abounds in assurances of God’s mercy toward his people, and toward all mankind. “The Lord is merciful and gracious,” wrote the psalmist and, according to the Revised Standard Version, is “abounding in steadfast love.”

“He will not always chide; neither will he keep his anger forever.” (vs. 9) God’s wrath, or disfavor, is now manifested toward the human family in the sentence of death which was passed upon our first parents. But this will not last forever, for God has made provision through the death of Jesus, the Redeemer, to set aside the sentence of death and show his grace, his favor, his mercy, toward all mankind.

God’s mercy is shown toward his people in that he has “not dealt with us according to our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” (vs. 10) When Jeremiah contemplated this aspect of the Creator’s character he exclaimed, “Great is thy faithfulness.”—Lam. 3:22,23

David further wrote, “As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear [reverence] him.” (vs. 11) Here we have described a measureless degree of mercy, and very vast.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (vs. 12) If one travels straight south he will eventually reach a point where, without changing his direction, he will find himself traveling north. But David’s east-west illustration does not permit this limitation of distance. One may travel east continuously; and if he wants to travel west he has to change his direction. What a comprehensive illustration of the distance God has placed between us and our transgressions!

The last two verses of this segment of the lesson are beautiful and reassuring: “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear [reverence] him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

In Psalm 136 we have a further illustration of the far-reaching mercy of God. It speaks of the smiting of Egypt’s firstborn; the overthrow of Pharaoh and his hosts; the destruction of great and famous kings—all wicked people —and the psalmist explains that God destroyed them all, “for his mercy endureth forever.”

Many would be inclined to write that God destroyed all these wicked enemies of his and of his people “because he had no more mercy on them forever.” But this would not have been the proper viewpoint. God’s mercy for the wicked extends beyond the past and present ages, even into the Millennial Age, when all the “unjust” shall be awakened from the sleep of death, enlightened concerning the divine will, and given an opportunity to accept Christ, obey the laws of the messianic kingdom and live forever.

JOHN 3:16, 17

Here we have what some have referred to as the Bible’s most precious text. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God loved the fallen race, and he gave his beloved Son to redeem the people from sin and death. The benefit of this redemption is on the basis of belief in God’s loving provision. Those who do believe when the opportunity is given to them will not perish, but obtain everlasting life.

Many would limit this opportunity of believing to the present short span of life, but God does not thus limit it. Paul wrote that God “will have all men to be saved” from the sleep of death, that they might come to a “knowledge of the truth” concerning Jesus and his ransom work. (I Tim. 2:3-5) It will be in that time of awakening from death that the vast majority of mankind will have their first real opportunity to believe.

Verse 17 informs us that “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” The world was already condemned, through father Adam; and it was salvation from this condemnation that was provided through Christ.


Does God have mercy for any except his devoted people?

When will the vast majority of mankind receive their first real opportunity to believe on Jesus?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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