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M’Cheyne on Ps. cxxx. 7-8

May 10, 2008

Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. – PSALM 130:7-8

In these words we have a believing Israelite inviting all his people to come to the same Fountain where he has found pardon and peace with God. He had been himself awakened by the Holy Spirit to feel the awful “depths” of sin and misery in which he was sunk by nature, and by practice. On his knees, beneath the heart-searching eye of God, he felt that he was “under sin”, that his “mouth must be stopped”, and that he could not be just with God” (verse 3). “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” But even in these depths the free mercy of god was reached forth to him; the scales were made to fall from his eyes by the eyesalve of the Spirit, and the glorious discovery was made to his soul, that there is a way of forgiveness open to the vilest of men, verse 4. “But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” With intensest anxiety did this believing soul now wait for the Lord. Those only who have experienced the dawning of the Sun of righteousness on their own soul, can know what it is to “wait for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning”. More anxiously than the sick man on his bed, “full of tossings to and fro”, longs for the first gleam of morning light coming in at his window; more anxiously than the weary Levite, keeping watch upon the temple wall, turned his eye toward the east, to see if the day began to break over mount Olivet,– more anxiously far did this believing soul now wait for fuller discoveries of the fair face of Immanuel, and for a richer experience of the power of Jesus to purge the conscience, and purify the heart.

But no man can be contented to go to the Well of salvation alone. Joy in Christ is not a selfish joy. A man may have gold without wishing others to share with him. A man may have earthly learning, and be proud to keep it to himself. But the moment a man has found Christ, his cry is, “Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did”. O! that all I love but knew Him. “Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption, and he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” O sinner, whoever thou art, here are three amazing reasons why thou shouldest hope in the Lord. Satan would drive thee to despair, as if there was no hope that such an one as thou art could be saved. But as God is true, here is a door of hope for thy perishing soul.

1. “With the Lord there is mercy.” God is such a God that with Him there is mercy. Mercy dwells in Him as in a fountain. All the mercy that is in the universe flows from Him. Mercy is compassion to those who deserve no compassion, but infinite wrath. It was mercy that made God spare fallen man, and not cast the world speedily into hell. It was mercy that made Him give His only begotten Son. It was mercy that made Him choose, awaken, and draw any sinner to Christ. He never saved any but out of free sovereign mercy. There is none so vile but God can save him without prejudice to His justice, truth, holiness, or majesty. God has saved as vile wretches, in time past, as any vile wretches that need now to be saved. Manasseh, once a monster in human form, is now a white-robed saint before the throne. The dying thief is this day with Christ in paradise. The murderers of Jesus are now tuning their harps of gold, and singing, “Worthy is the Lamb”.

This is good news for thee, O vilest of men – for thee who has sinned against light and against convictions. I do not know that God will save thee, but I know that if He does, it will be in perfect accordance with His nature. “He delighteth in mercy.”

2. “With Him is plenteous redemption.” When the manna fell upon the face of the wilderness round the camp of Israel, there was a plentiful supply for the many thousands of Israel. “He that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack.” So it is with Christ. He is freely offered to every creature. We are not straitened in Christ, but in our own hearts. “With him is plenteous redemption.” No sinner ever came to Christ, and found the Fountain of forgiveness dried up. One of the texts that was instrumental in the conversion of John Bunyan was this, “Yet there is room” (Luke 14:22). Undone sinner, let this text lead thee to Christ. Many have come to Christ since the days of Abel. Thousands have entered through the strait gate, and are now His believing people on earth, or His glorified people in heaven. “But yet there is room.” There is room for thee under Christ’s wings. “With him is plenteous redemption.” Brainerd once asked one of his converted Indians, “Do you see enough in Christ for the greatest of sinners?” She replied, “O enough, enough, for all the sinners in the world, if they would but come”. And when he asked her if she would not tell others of the goodness of Christ; turning herself about to some poor Christless souls who stood by, she said, “O there is enough in Christ for you, if you would but come. O strive, strive to give up your hearts to him.” Sinner, let the words of this poor believing Indian sink into thy heart. There is enough in Christ for thee, for with Him is plenteous redemption. O! take up the words of the returning prodigal, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger; I will arise and go to my father”.

3. “He redeems from all iniquities.” If you drop a pebble into the bosom of the ocean, it is covered out of sight in a moment. But if you were to carry an immense rock and plunge it into the same ocean, it would be equally covered. So is it with the least of sinners, and the chief of sinners, when they come to Christ. There is no difference. The ocean of the blood of Jesus covers both equally. All sinners that come to Christ are equally justified in the sight of God. He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Christ is no half-saviour. His work is perfect. Dost thou believe in Christ? Then “all the transgressions that thou hast committed shall not be mentioned unto thee”. Canst thou say the sweetest words that human lips ever uttered, “My Beloved is mine?” Then on the authority of Him who cannot lie, I say to thee, “As far as east is from the west, so far hath he removed thy transgressions from thee”. But perhaps thou sayest, However far removed, God’s all seeing eye may still be fixed on them. This cannot be; for thou canst say with Hezekiah, “Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back”. Nay, they are not only behind God’s back, but out of sight, for it is written, “Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea”. But are they not to be found in God’s book of remembrance? Listen to His own gracious declaration, “I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins”. But God can remember my sins, even though He has blotted them out of His book. Here again His own word, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”. But surely if God were to search out my sins He would find them somewhere, and condemn me in the judgment. Fear not, O troubled soul, this cannot be; for it is written, “The iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found”.

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