An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 147 of 270
Author unknown
Psalm 51 is the sequel to Psalm 32 and there David not only speaks of
'blotting out' his sin from the account before God, but of 'washing' and
'cleansing', referring not only to the legal aspect of his sin, but to its
defilement.  The one cancellation is by Justification, the other by
Sanctification, and both of these blessed aspects of the work of grace are
focused upon the forgiveness of sins (see Justification by Faith, p. 410; and
'Who can forgive sins, but God alone?' (Luke 5:21).
'Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy'
(Psa. 86:5).
'Remission is the creditor's act, not the debtor's, forgiveness is pre
-eminently an act of mercy'.*
So intimately linked are mercy and forgiveness that where Hebrews 8:12
reads, 'I will be Merciful to their unrighteousness', Jeremiah 31:34 reads,
'I will Forgive their iniquity'.  Justice may demand retribution.  Holiness
may not look upon sin, but love will provide the ransom, and mercy prompts
the wondrous scheme of redeeming love.  David knew this blessed truth, as
Psalm 51 reveals.  He opens with a plea for mercy:
'Have mercy ... lovingkindness ... multitude of Thy tender mercies',
but at the same time he declares that his tongue shall sing aloud of God's
'righteousness', for while mercy is the moving cause, man's forgiveness is
not at the expense of righteousness; mercy that prompted the heart of
God, provided also a blood -sprinkled mercy -seat, for it is universally true
'without shedding of blood is no remission' (Heb. 9:22).  The following
extracts will, we trust, justify the space allotted.  First we quote from
Dennison's book, The Sacrifice for Sin:
'Now here is something of the way in which you are in the habit of
regarding the matter.  One friend (you say) having injured another,
comes and pleads -- "I know I have offended you; but do forgive me, do
not be angry with me, and I will never do so again"; upon which the
whole matter is settled and ended.  Very true (I answer), but there is
no law in such a case.  Or (you continue) a son, after all manner of
wandering and offence, returns to his home, saying, "Father, I have
shamefully transgressed; the thought of it cuts me through; but forgive
me this time; do not punish me, though I know I deserve it; but try to
forget the offence, and you will see what a son I will henceforth be to
you".  "Oh, my son", (says the father,) "why speak of punishment now?
Surely you have punished both yourself and me enough already.  Forgive?
forget? of course I do.  Displeased? punish? -- impossible".  And now,
"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that
fear Him".  Again, I answer  -- There is no law in all this.  "No law?"
you say, "why there is surely the law of love; is not that the highest
and most sacred of all law?  Is not God love?  Is He not infinitely
more compassionate, and ready to welcome us, than we can ever be to
welcome ours?  Talk of compensation, indeed!  And what compensation
does the father want on that day, other than he actually gets from his