You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins.
You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger…
Mercy and truth are met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
Psalm 85:2-3, 10 (NIV)
The Psalmist is clearly marvelling at how mercy can deal with the truth that a holy God forgives guilty sinners. John Newton beautifully portrays the conversion of a person in the following hymn. May its words reflect your own experience of God’s grace in your life.
Read this hymn thoughtfully, slowly and, if appropriate, with thanksgiving because it describes your relationship with the Lord. If this experience described in the hymn is unknown to you then it is time to seek the Lord for what He “freely” gives.
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopp’d my wild career:
I saw One hanging on a Tree
In agonies and blood,
Who fix’d His weary eyes on me.
As near His Cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath,
Can I forget that look:
It seem’d to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke:
My conscience felt and own’d the guilt,
And plunged me in despair:
I saw my sins His Blood had spilt,
And help’d to nail Him there.
Alas! I knew not what I did!
But now my tears are vain:
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain!
–A second look He gave, which said,
“I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou may’st live.”
Thus, while His death my sin displays,
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.
With pleasing grief, and mournful joy,
My spirit now is fill’d,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I kill’d!