I’ve been working through some of Edward’s sermon Great Guilt no Obstacle to the Pardon of the Returning Sinner, based on Psalm 25:11. We’ve looked at three excellent points that serve as reminders on how we must come to God for mercy. His first point is that we see our misery and need for mercy. His second point is that we should be sensible that we aren’t worthy of God’s mercy. His final point is that you can only receive mercy through Jesus Christ. From here, Edwards launches headlong into the beautiful and majestic gospel truth of God’s great mercy offered through his Son. So amazing and encourage it is to meditate on Edwards’ words. Read them and let the magnitude of God’s mercy towards sinners great and small set in.
1. The mercy of God is as sufficient for the pardon or the greatest sins, as for the least; and that because his mercy is infinite. That which is infinite, is as much above what is great, as it is above what is small. Thus God being infinitely great, he is as much above kings as he is above beggars; he is as much above the highest angel, as he is above the meanest worm. One infinite measure doth not come any nearer to the extent of what is infinite than another.—So the mercy of God being infinite, it must be as sufficient for the pardon of all sin, as of one. If one of the least sins be not beyond the mercy of God, so neither are the greatest, or ten thousand of them.—However, it must be acknowledged, that this alone doth not prove the doctrine. For though the mercy of God may be as sufficient for the pardon of great sins as others; yet there may be other obstacles, besides the want of mercy. The mercy of God may be sufficient, and yet the other attributes may oppose the dispensation of mercy in these cases.—Therefore I observe,
2. That the satisfaction of Christ is as sufficient for the removal of the greatest guilt, as the least: 1 John 1:7. “The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin.” Acts 13:39. “By him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” All the sins of those who truly come to God for mercy, let them be what they will, are satisfied for, if God be true who tells us so; and if they be satisfied for, surely it is not incredible, that God should be ready to pardon them. So that Christ having fully satisfied for all sin, or having wrought out a satisfaction that is sufficient for all, it is now no way inconsistent with the glory of the divine attributes to pardon the greatest sins of those who in a right manner come unto him for it.—God may now pardon the greatest sinners without any prejudice to the honour of his holiness. The holiness of God will not suffer him to give the least countenance to sin, but inclines him to give proper testimonies of his hatred of it. But Christ having satisfied for sin, God can now love the sinner, and give no countenance at all to sin, however great a sinner he may have been. It was a sufficient testimony of God’s abhorrence of sin, that he poured out his wrath on his own dear Son, when he took the guilt of it upon himself. Nothing can more show God’s abhorrence or sin than this. If all mankind had been eternally damned, it would not have been so great a testimony of it.