“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
The Riches of God’s Mercy, by Randall D. Kittle


“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — Ephesians 2:4–5

The story is told of a gracious king who wanted to bestow a special honor upon his most gallant young soldier. This benevolent ruler decided to give the soldier one of his own precious jewels — an enormous gemstone of great value. Finally the day for the celebration arrived, and the king called the young man before him in order to make the presentation. As the soldier stepped forward to receive the gift, he looked at the costly gem and, realizing that it was more valuable than all of his worldly possessions, exclaimed, “Your Majesty, it is far too great a gift for me to receive.”

Grasping the hand of his faithful servant, the king replied, “That may be true, but it is not too great a gift for me to give.” And with that he placed the gem in the soldier’s hand. Humbled and overwhelmed, the soldier received the gift with tearful eyes of appreciation.

We, too, must confess that as we stood before the throne of grace, each of us were guilty sinners, deserving none of our great King’s love or mercy. The mercy of God was far too great a gift for such unworthy people. But in His never failing love, our heavenly Father who is rich in mercy reassured us, “It is not too great a gift for Me to give.” All we could do was humbly and gratefully receive the gift of God’s magnificent mercy.

God’s Undeserved Mercy
God is so merciful that He loves not to condemn the guilty, but looks to see how He can turn away His wrath and restore us to favor. The Lord does not forgive us on the grounds of justice, but because of His mercy. For this reason alone there is remission of sins. Forgiveness comes to us not through any merit of ours, but only through the tender mercy of our God. He forgives with an intensity of will and readiness of soul, for mercy lies in the very heart of God. His mercy is far reaching, long enduring, and all encompassing. It covers all of His works. “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:9). The Lord is compassionate to the sorrowful, protects the helpless, provides for the needy, and pardons the guilty. He does this from generation to generation, never wearying, because He delights in mercy.

God’s rich mercy is an
undeserved mercy. Indeed, this is true of any mercy, for “deserved mercy” would only be just a misnomer for justice. There was no right on our part to receive the kind consideration of the Most High God. Had our rebellious hearts been sent at once to eternal fire, we would have rightly deserved the punishment. It was only because of God’s mercy we have been delivered from wrath.

God’s Tender Mercy
The mercy of the Lord is a tender mercy. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Who forgives all your iniquities. Who heals all your diseases. Who redeems your life from destruction. Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:2–4). The mercy of the heart of God is a mercy of great tenderness. His mercy carries with it infinite gentleness and kind consideration. With a gentle, loving touch He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He is as gracious in the manner in which He applies His mercy as in the matter that He grants us mercy.

If you think of this tenderness in connection with God, it may strike you as incredible that One so great can be so tender. Since God is all-powerful, we are apt to ascribe to Him an overbearing force, which though able to do great and awesome things can scarcely be thought of as capable of taking into account the small, feeble, and suffering ones. Yet, even among men, those who are truly great are also tender, because they are great in heart as well as in intellect or strength. The truly great spirit is always gentle — and God is infinitely great!

Throughout the Scriptures, we read of God’s gentleness and tenderness toward His children: the tender mercy of God displayed in repeatedly receiving wayward Israel back into relationship, the gentleness of the Lord in training up the disciples, the kindness of the Lord in blessing the little children, etc. Nowhere is the tender-heartedness of God’s mercy displayed more fully than in the gospel of our salvation. Because of His unrelenting lovingkindness the Creator of life laid down His own life so His wayward children could have a way back home to His heart.

God’s Great Mercy
The mercy of God is a great mercy. “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:11). There is nothing little in God. His mercy is like Himself — it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners even after great lengths of time! There is no one beyond the great reach of God’s mercy. No sin is too bad, no mistake is too big to overwhelm the mercy of God. It would be easier to snuff out the sun or drain the ocean dry than to exhaust the mercy of God. His great mercy is sufficient to save the most vile and base person you have ever known or even heard about. Satan cannot make a pit deep enough to keep anyone out of the reach of God’s mercy. God’s arm is not short that He cannot rescue! “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save” (Isaiah 59:1). The mercy of God is so great, no one is beyond His reach. Nothing is too high for its reach, and nothing is beneath its stoop!

Not only does the great mercy of God forgive our vilest offense, it restores what we have lost due to sin. Jesus came not just so we could be forgiven, but to restore to us all that the enemy had stolen.
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Because of God’s great mercy, the Lord forgives sinners, and then gives great favor and great privileges to them. We become the very sons of God, and live our new lives in relationship with our loving, Heavenly Father. We have God’s favor in this life, and some day He will raise us up to great joy in heaven.

God’s Abundant Mercy
God’s mercy is also an abundant mercy. “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You” (Psalm 86:5). Millions have received the riches of God’s mercy, yet it is no more depleted than before time began. The mercy of God is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever.

We, naturally, decrease by giving; our supply is soon spent. But God is not emptied by bestowing mercy, He has the same mercy to do good to us as before. Though He has done great wonders of mercy for us, His mercy remains as ready to bless us as ever. All throughout history, God has saved and blessed His people, for He is abundant in mercy.

The truth that God’s mercy is abundant should be of great encouragement to us — His too-oft wayward children. You may have gone to the utmost extreme of sin, but you have not yet exhausted God’s mercy. Though you have resisted His Spirit, stifled your conscience, and been disobedient to Christ, His mercy still abounds. Perhaps you have indulged every evil passion, broken loose from every bond that should have kept you upon the way of righteousness, yet still His abundant mercy is available to you. God’s mercy will abound undepleted toward your life until the very day you die.

God’s Enduring Mercy
The mercy of God is an enduring, unfailing mercy. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 106:1). God’s enduring mercy will never leave you. If you have made mercy your friend, it will be with you in temptation to keep you from yielding, with you in trouble to prevent you from sinking, and with you when stumbling to bring you quickly back into full relationship.

In Psalm 136 the cry
“His mercy endures forever” is repeated in every verse, twenty-six times! But I would have you know that is not once too often. The enduring mercy of God is the sweetest stanza that one can sing. What joy there is that God is merciful, and that His mercy endures forever!

Can you imagine what it would be like if you had been set free from jail only to find out twenty years later that the case was never closed, and new evidence showed that you were guilty and must return to jail? The mercy of God is not like that. It is not just a delay in sentencing or a stay of execution. It has not merely put off our punishment or postponed justice. God’s mercy has completely forgiven every transgression.

For All Time & Eternity
For the repentant believer, every sin they have committed, every good deed they failed to do, every bad thought and wrong attitude has been justified by the magnificent mercy of God. Each sin has been forgiven — stamped “PAID IN FULL” by the blood-red atoning work of Christ. Mercy did not cause God to tolerate your sin. It made a way to eliminate it! And it is an enduring mercy. The ink they have been stamped with will never fade away nor lose its power, for it is the very blood of Jesus Christ. Nothing and no one — no demon in hell — can remove the stamp of forgiveness which is upon your old sins. God’s mercy endures for all time and eternity. Your case has been closed forever!

The Lord once showed me a vision that illustrates this point. In it, I saw a number of divers carefully exploring the bottom of the ocean. With underwater flashlights they examined a number of old, rusting chests that rested on the ocean floor. Suddenly, one of the divers signaled the others and they brought one of the chests to the surface. Once the chest was out of the water, I noticed there was something written on it. As it was brought into the sunlight, I could read the writing, which said, “Randall D. Kittle.” Suddenly, I began to examine this chest more carefully. There were no hinges visible, but it had what looked like a lock on the front. Written across this heavy clasp were the words “The Mercy of God.” It was then that I noticed there was no keyhole in this clasp. The trunk they had dredged up from the depths was unable to be opened. It was sealed forever. Kept closed by the mercy of God.

The Bible tells us that when our sins were forgiven, it was as if they were removed from us and cast into the depths of the ocean.
“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah7:18–19). While this is great news, it is even better to know that because of God’s enduring mercy our sins are unrecoverable. Despite any attempt of the enemy, they will never come back to haunt us. When our transgressions have been taken away by the perfect blood of Christ, they are gone forever — gone for all time and eternity.

God’s Fresh Mercy
God’s mercy is also a fresh mercy — it is new every morning. “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22–23). God has something new for us every morning. Our God is infinite, and with the greatest ease He sends to the many millions of His people some new blessing each morning. We are ever needing mercy, trying it, praying for it, and receiving it. Let us thank the Lord for His fresh mercy!

The water that is in the cistern may be sufficient for a long time, but it will not remain fresh. It may have been fresh the first morning it flowed into the cistern, but the longer it lasts, the more stagnant it becomes. Water that gushes forth from a spring, however, is always fresh and sparkling. God’s mercy is not a cistern of stored up blessing, but an ever-flowing spring. It wells up from the eternal depths, and is always fresh and new.

How wonderful that we begin each new day with God’s fresh mercy. Though I cannot tell what temptations may come my way, I do know that God’s mercies are new every morning. Therefore, there will be fresh grace to enable me to resist the fresh temptations.
“His mercies are afresh each morning,” because any morning I may slip and commit fresh sins. I hardly find myself awake before offending thoughts and evil imaginations are sent my way. Even though I may watch my eyes, guard my tongue, and try to keep a tight rein on my thoughts, I too often find my thoughts begin to wander, and before long my tongue speaks idle words! Yet God’s mercy is such that with every new sin there always comes a new pardon, for “His mercies begin afresh each morning.” How thankful we should be that mercy is not just something we experienced in the past. It is something we can avail ourselves of today, and will be there if we need it in the future as well.

Put Your Hope In His Mercy
Of all people, believers have been the most richly blessed, for we have been given the abounding and enduring mercy of God. While it lasts forever, it is fresh each new day. God’s mercy is both great in power and yet tender in its application. Since we have been redeemed by such abundant mercy, we now have a sure and eternal hope.

God takes pleasure in those who hope in His mercy, and He tells us that they have captured His gaze.
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy” (Psalm 33:18).

Before the world began God was filled with lovingkindness, and He is unchanging — the same yesterday, today, and forever. From eternity past to eternity future God’s great mercy has been shed abroad from His heart. Let us whose lives are trophies of mercy ever rejoice in God’s great and everlasting mercy.
“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:17).

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