Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 12, 1963

Presupposing The Grace Of God

Forrest Darrell Moyer

The mercy of our God is one of his most outstanding attributes. He keeps "mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." (Ex. 34:7) "The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression." (Num. 14:18) The New Testament likewise describes Him as a merciful and forgiving God. He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) Thus, our God is able and willing to forgive the sins of man.

However, there are some essential qualities of heart necessary on man's part to obtain this forgiveness. A humility resulting in sincere repentance is essential. Humility will cause us to empty ourselves of all pride and of all feelings that we are capable of guiding our own selves. Thus, we are to "be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble." (1 Pet. 5:5) This humility lets us realize how incapable we are of making ourselves righteous. A broken heart is evidence of this humility. ....a broken and a contrite heart, 0 God, thou wilt not despise." (Ps. 51:17) "....but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." (Isa. 66:2) This produces repentance: a decision to live no longer in sin and a desire to do God's will. (2 Cor. 7:10) Then by complying with God's law of pardon, His mercy is extended and a man is forgiven of past sins. To the alien, His law requires baptism. (Acts 2:38) To the erring child, there must be confession of sins to Him. (1 John 1:9) God's mercy then removes the sins of the past.

Sometimes we head of those who sin presumptuously by presupposing the mercy of God. That is, a man desires to do something sinful. He knows that it is wrong, and there is not a sudden temptation or overcoming. He plans the sin, deliberately, willfully. He reasons in this way: "I know that this is wrong, but I want to do it. So I will do it and then after it is over, I will ask God to forgive me." This has many ear-marks of the indulgences of Catholicism. This person Is deliberately, willingly, knowingly rebelling against the will of God. His whole heart is turned against God. What could lead a man with this disposition to repent? This is not like the man who commits a sin through weakness of the flesh. Nor is it like the man who is led to neglect his duty. Both of these are wrong but both can be led to repentance.

However, a man who presumptuously plans to commit a sin (or sins) has far more wrong with him than the sin itself. His whole disposition is contrary to God's way. Suppose he sees a way of making a "mint" financially but in a dishonest way. So he plans to defraud. He knows it is wrong but says, "After I have the money, I will repent of my sin and God will forgive me." There is much more to repent of than the getting of the money in the wrong way. He has looked God in the eye and said, "I don't like your way at all.

It is too strict for me. I am going to let Satan tell me what to do in this matter. Of course, I don't want to spend eternity with Satan so after I have followed him in this, I will ask Your pardon and You are so merciful that You will forgive me and let me go to Heaven even though I don't like your way." Do you see what I mean? How can such a person as this be led to repentance? There are not seen the characteristics essential to a man's receiving forgiveness. Where is the humility? the sincerity? How can one be sincere in such an attitude? It is impossible.

Beloved, let us never be guilty of presuming upon the goodness of God. If you have slipped and sinned, God will forgive you. But you cannot plan to live for Satan and expect God's pardon in that disposition.

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