There are many wonderful aspects to our salvation. We could spend a lifetime studying the Scriptures, and still not fully understand all the gifts that God has given us in salvation. Fortunately, we will have all of eternity for God to teach us more about His marvelous works. For now, we will limit our study to Psalm 51, in which we find 15 Gifts God Gives Us in Salvation. Today, we begin with the first gift: mercy.
Please read Psalm 51:1.
Before David even mentions His sin, his eyes are drawn to God’s character. His heartfelt plea is for mercy. There are more than a dozen blessings which he expresses in this psalm, but the one with the highest importance in the author’s mind is mercy. Above all else, the sinner desires mercy.
Why is mercy so important? Because we are so undeserving. We wouldn’t dare ask God for justice, because we know that righteous justice would punish us harshly for our sin. We wouldn’t dare ask God to consider all of our good works before making His decision, because we know our evil deeds far outweigh any good works that we have done. We wouldn’t dare come to God in boldness and demand that He forgive us, for we know how great and awesome is our God.
Instead, we come to God in humility, and we ask for mercy. Any time sin is pardoned, it is an act of mercy. The Hebrew word literally means “without cause” or “without paying any price.” David is asking for God to pardon him, even though he doesn’t deserve it.
If David doesn’t deserve God’s mercy, then on what basis should God show mercy? The psalmist's answer is: “according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy.” We do not ask for mercy based on anything that we have done; we ask for mercy based solely on the character of God.
God is merciful by nature; God is loving by nature; God is faithful by nature. Before David even mentions his sin, he turns his eyes to the nature of God; he writes of the goodness and mercy of God. In another one of his great psalms, David writes “surely your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life” because “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5-6). David rests in the goodness and mercy of God because God is the one who shows goodness and mercy.
As Christians, we should never be so arrogant as to think that we are better than the heathens because of our lofty spiritual position. God has indeed called us "saints," "holy," and "dearly beloved," but this is not because there is something special about us. We are children of God because God saved us; God chose us; God rescued us from the paths in which we once walked. We were formerly great sinners, but God showed us mercy.
It doesn’t matter how sinful you have been—your salvation isn’t contingent on your righteousness, it is contingent on God’s mercy. It’s a good thing we serve such a merciful God! Instead of punishing us for our sin, God punished His Son in our stead. When Christ paid the price for our transgressions, they were blotted out. God no longer sees us as wretched sinners, but as holy saints: not because we deserve it, but because God has mercy on us. Praise God for the gift of His mercy!
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