Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” –John 14:6-7

To know that “God is love” would be fruitless if we did not also know His pardoning mercy or grace. Adam did not know this pardoning mercy, nor did he have any hope of it, for when he sinned, he ran and hid from God (Gen. 3:18). Pardoning mercy comes by Christ alone. This pardoning mercy is revealed in the Gospel, and in this pardoning mercy God will be glorified forever (Eph. 1:6). Pardoning mercy is not a vague general mercy which overlooks sin. This would be dishonouring to God. Pardoning mercy is God’s free, gracious acceptance of a sinner because satisfaction was made to His justice consistent with His glory. It is a mercy of inconceivable wonder, for God came down from the heights of glory to bring forgiveness to sinners, whilst at the same time exacting justice and severity on sin. …

The main purpose of all the Old Testament institutions was to show the truth that remission and forgiveness is wholly wrapped up in the Lord Christ, and that out of Christ nothing at all can be known of God’s pardoning mercy and nor can the least morsel of it be tasted apart from Christ. If God had not set forth the Lord Christ, all the angels in heaven and men on earth could not have known that there had been any such pardoning mercy in the nature of God. …

Love to sinners and pardoning mercy are the properties of God by which He will be known, and whoever does not know God as the God who loves and shows pardoning mercy to sinners does not know Him at all.  

Passage for Further Reading:

Colossians 3:1-17

About the Author:

John Owen (1616-1683) was an English reformed theologian, pastor, and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Oxford.


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