DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, AUGUST 28, 1870,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-5
First, I see in the text as the source of all the rest, ABUNDANT mercy. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope.”
No other attribute could have helped us had mercy refused. As we are by nature, justice condemns us, holiness frowns upon us, power crushes us, truth confirms the threatening of the law, and wrath fulfills it. It is from the mercy of our God that all our hopes begin. Mercy is needed for the miserable, and yet more for the sinful. Misery and sin are fully united in the human race, and mercy here performs her noble deeds.
My brethren, God has vouchsafed His mercy to us, and we must thankfully acknowledge that in our case His mercy has been abundant mercy. We were defiled with abundant sin, and only the multitude of His loving-kindnesses could have put those sins away. We were infected with an abundance of evil, and only overflowing mercy can ever cure us of all our natural disease, and make us fit for heaven. We have received abundant grace up till now, we have made great drafts upon the Exchequer of God, and of His fullness have all we received grace for grace. Where sin has abounded, grace has much more abounded.
Will you, my fellow debtor, stand still awhile and contemplate the abundant mercy of our blessed God! A river deep and broad is before you. Track it to its fountainhead, see it welling up in the covenant of grace, in the eternal purposes of infinite wisdom. The secret source is no small spring, no mere bubbling fount, it is a very geyser, leaping aloft in fullness of power, the springs of the sea are not comparable therewith. Not even an angel could fathom the springs of eternal love or measure the depths of infinite grace.
Follow now the stream, mark it in its course. See how it widens and deepens, how at the cross foot it expands into a measureless river! Mark how the filthy come and wash, see how each polluted one comesup milk-white from the washing! Note how the dead are brought to be bathed in this sacred stream, and mark how they live the moment that they touch its wave, mark how the sick are laid upon the bank, and if but the spray of the river falls upon them they are made whole! See how on either bank rich verdure clothes the land! Wheresoever this stream comes all is life and happiness. Observe along the margin the many trees whose leaves never wither, and whose fruits in season are always brought to maturity, these all draw their life from this flood, and drink from this river of God, which is full of water.
Fail not with gladsome eye to note the thousand barques of fairest sail which scud along the mighty river with colors flying, each vessel laden with joy. Behold how happily they are borne along by the current of mercy to the ocean of infinite felicity! Now we reach the mighty main of mercy, dare you attempt with wings of faith to fly over that glassy sea? No shore gives boundary to that great deep, no voice proclaims its length and breadth, but from its lowest deeps and all along its unruffled bosom I hear a voice which says, “Herein is love.” “Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out,” but this we
know, that His love towards His elect surpasses all conception, even—
“Imagination’s utmost stretch
In wonder dies away.”
Turn to the words of the text a moment, for there is great suggestiveness in them. It is God’s great mercy that is spoken of herein. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy.” Everything in God is on a grand scale. Great power—He shakes the world, great wisdom—He balances the clouds. His mercy is commensurate with His other attributes, it is Godlike mercy! Infinite mercy! You must measure His Godhead before you shall compute His mercy. My soul, think for awhile, you have drank out of this exceeding great and wide sea, and it is all yours to drink from forever. Well may it be called “abundant,” if it be infinite. It will always be abundant, for all that can be drawn from it will be but as the drop of a bucket to the sea itself. The mercy which deals with us is not man’s mercy, but God’s mercy, and therefore boundless mercy.
But note again, it is the mercy of the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is the mercy of God in Christ. God’s mercy is always special, but His mercy in Christ is especially special. I know not how else to describe it. His mercy in nature is bright, His mercy in providence is conspicuous, but His mercy in His dear Son, His mercy in the incarnate God, His mercy through the perfect sacrifice, this is mercy’s best wine kept to the last, mercy’s “fat things full of marrow.” When I see Jesus descending from heaven to earth, Jesus bleeding, Jesus paying all the debts of His people, I can well understand that
the mercy of God in Christ must be abundant mercy.
Note carefully another word, it is the mercy of “the Father.” You have read this last week, I dare say, and felt sickened as you read, the fearful stories of the wounded and their sufferings on the battlefield. You have read also descriptions of how the wounded when they are brought into the divers German towns, are met by their compatriots, who rejoice in their victories, but at the same time lament for the valiant men who are maimed for life. You stand on the platform of the railway station, a stranger, and you see a fine young man with an arm shot away, looking sickly and pale from pain and hardships, and you pity him. I know you pity him from your heart, but an elderly man rushes before you, it is the father, and as he looks upon his son, whom he sent to the war so manly, so strong, so full of health and vigor, now reduced to the mere ghost of what he was, he pities as a stranger cannot. His inmost heart is moved with compassion for his son.
The mercy of the Lord to us is not the mercy of a stranger to a stranger, but the mercy of a Father towards his own dear children. Such mercy has the Lord had on me, and I weep for joy as I tell of it. “Like as a father pities his children,” so has He pitied me. I know if He had not loved me He could not have treated me so tenderly. Such pity, such mercy has He had on you, and He is still the same. Do you not rejoice to think that you participate in abundant mercy, divine mercy, the mercy of God in Jesus Christ, a Father’s mercy, the mercy of our God and Father?
O reach to the height of the text, one more step will do it, the Father who is thus tender to us, is also the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and therefore such a Father as can be found nowhere else. The Father of Him who is the perfect and the ever-blessed, is also your Father, and all His mercy belongs to you. Let us congratulate each other, my brethren in the faith let us shake off all thoughts of our poverty and all tremblings because of our trials, we are rich and abound, for heaven’s “abundant mercy” belongs
to us. “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”
To be continued in Part 3