MICHAEL’S MONDAY MEDITATIONS, MON., Oct. 12, 2015
SINCERITY AND THE MERCY OF THE FATHER
(From William Gurnall’s “The Christian in Complete Armour, Vol. 2)
How Sincerity Covers the Saint’s Uncomeliness
Pardoning mercy eagerly embraces sincerity. Christ is the One who covers our failures and sins, but He throws His garment of righteousness only over the sincere soul: ‘Blessed is he…whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.’ Everyone likes to believe this, but notice the requirement of receiving this mercy: ‘…in whose spirit there is no guile’ (Ps 32:1,2). Thus Christ’s righteousness covers the nakedness of our shameful unrighteousness, but faith is the grace which puts this garment on.
God approves of the sincere man as holy and righteous even though he is not totally free of sin. And just as God does not mistake the saint’s sin for sincerity, neither does He unsaint him for it. For instance, Scripture recorded that Job fell into the pit of sin, but God saw sincerity mixed with his transgression and judged him perfect.
Sincerity does not blind God so He cannot see the saint’s sin, but makes Him consider it with compassion instead of with anger. This is like a husband who knows his wife is faithful to him so he pities her weaknesses and cherishes her as a good wife. ‘In all this,’ God said, ‘Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly’ (Job 1:22). And at the end of the combat God brought Job through with the favorable testimony that His servant had ‘spoken of me the thing that is right’ (Job 42:7). Job saw his own earnestness dashed with failures, and this made him confess his sin rather than presume upon God’s mercy. But God saw the sincerity.
The Father’s mercy for us is much greater than our love for ourselves, however. The prodigal son — a symbol of the convert — did not dare ask his father for shoes, much less for a ring. His request reached no higher than for lowly servanthood. He never conceived of such a meeting with his father at first sight. And he might have expected him to come after him with a rod or a rope instead of a robe.
Even if the father had met his wayward son with harsh words and whippings before taking him back, this arrangement would have been good news to the prodigal in his starving condition. But even as God has strange punishments for the wicked, He has strange expressions of love and mercy for a sincere son. He delights to outdo the highest expectations and kiss, robe, and feast all at once and on the day of His child’s return.
I’m going to let this powerful passage just speak for itself today. God bless you, and may you enjoy the truth that William has written into this book today. With Jesus, we have hope.