The Lord Longs to be Gracious

The other day I began to read a book called “The Institutes of Christian Religion” by John Calvin. In Book 1, The Knowledge of God The Creator, chapter 1, I read a statement that just struck me hard. It was one of those aha moments when you get something. My mind is always on evangelizing the gospel, therefore I related this statement to the proclamation of the gospel. The author said; "But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which, as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy will be condemned as the most miserable impotence."

When men compare themselves to men they feel alright about themselves, they look pretty good when compared to other men. There has been a push in evangelism a few years back on using the Ten Commandments to bring the knowledge of sin. The law used correctly does have this effect, because when you are comparing your deeds to God’s perfect standard we all fall woefully short. Psalm 96:3 says; “Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” And that is what John Calvin was saying in the quoted statement. That until a man has knowledge of his Creator he will think he is a pretty good person, and that is what the Law does, and the purpose for preaching it, to bring knowledge of the Creator God. When man sees God, when he comes to the knowledge of who the Lord is, he cannot do anything but what Moses did in (Exodus 34:8 NASB). “Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.” The Law says, this is God, this is His standard, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness is, the Law declares the glory of God.

My pastor, Phillip Dancy of Sylvania church in Tyler, Texas, was preaching on Isaiah 30:18-26 today. While expositing this passage he read God’s Name from (Exodus 34:6-7 NASB) ; “Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."

That is our God! A man would never come up with a God like this God; who is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He is just. Isaiah 30:18 says that the Lord longs to be gracious to you and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. This God of justice who will not leave the guilty unpunished longs to be gracious to you, all I can say is Wow!!! And because He is both just and gracious He crushed His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ in our place to prove it. Wow!!! All you need do is cry out to Him in repentance and faith; “He will hear it, He will answer you.” (Isaiah 30:19 NASB) “And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:6 NASB) Wow, Amazing!!!

So what should we do? Preach the Law to bring the knowledge of sin, declare the glory of the Lord, the Lord of Exodus 34:6-7, then preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father. Amen!!!

Mike Peek a slave of Jesus Christ