The terms “mercy” and “truth” appear together in twenty-two verses of the OT. In many ways we can certainly say that they are inseparable concepts. The MERCY of GOD and HIS TRUTH are met together in CHRIST and HIS MERCY is manifested in HIM who is the TRUTH, just as HIS TRUTH is demonstrated in HIS MERCY. Moses asked to see the LORD’s glory, when he met with the LORD on Mount Sinai, for HE was hidden from Moses’ view by the clouds, fire, and smoke which surrounded HIM.
HE chose to reveal HIS glory to Moses by showing him HIS backside as HE passed by, for the undimmed glory of the SOVEREIGN RULER of the universe cannot be looked upon by mortal men. “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” (Exo 33:20-23)
The LORD was in no wise obligated to shew HIMSELF to Moses, and we see that the revelation which was given to Moses, (even though it was in part; see I Cor. 13:9-12) was, in itself, a demonstration of HIS mercy to an unworthy sinner. In fact, the very thing which the LORD defined as “HIS glory” is HIS mercy. “And he (i.e.; Moses) said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he (i.e.; the LORD) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” (Exo 33:18-19)
The “glory of the LORD” is seen in HIS “goodness” (i.e.; HIS delight, joy, and blessing). HIS “goodness” is manifested in HIS willingness to show mercy to the sons of men. Nothing can prevent HIS bestowal of that mercy, as HE declares HIS sovereign right to dispense that mercy as HE sees fit. And who could bring any accusation against HIM if HE withholds mercy from some. Mercy would not be mercy if it is not sovereignly dispensed according to HIS pleasure and not the merits of the recipient. For then it would be the payment of a debt, of which the LORD has none.
Therefore, when we discuss the mercy of GOD; any such discussion must be attended with the truth which the scriptures declare concerning that mercy and the ONE who is pleased to show it according to HIS own prerogative. The LORD prepares the hearts of those to whom HE will show mercy by causing them to confess that apart from HIS mercy they will surely perish. The publican who went up to the temple to pray went down to his house “justified”, not because of something he said or thought, but because he was an object of the LORD’s mercy which was manifested by the convicting work of the SPIRIT of GOD which moved him to cry out to the LORD. “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13) That man who is shown his need for mercy is already a recipient of that mercy, for no man will seek the LORD on his own. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” (Rom 3:10-11) We praise HIM for HIS mercy.
David manifested the work of the SPIRIT of GOD in him, when he was confronted with his sin by the prophet Nathan. Those words, “thou art the man”, went into his heart like a dagger, and he was in a moment brought down to that same condition of which Daniel writes, “there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” (Dan 10:8) We read David’s confession and desperate plea “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psa 51:1-5) None who seek HIS mercy will be turned away, for it is GOD which works in them both to will and to do of HIS good pleasure, according as HE dispenses HIS mercy.
Thus, it is the confession of all who have tasted that the LORD is gracious, that HIS mercy is “everlasting”. We cannot trace its beginning and HIS promise and faithfulness ensures that it will have no end. Nothing about HIS mercy in anywise depends upon the recipients of it. “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1Thes 5:24) “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Psa 86:15) “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jer 31:3) The objects of HIS love (i.e.; HIS elect, the called according to HIS purpose) are the recipients of HIS “everlasting mercy.”
John tells us, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John 1:17-18) JESUS CHRIST is the only manifestation of GOD by whom a man may have knowledge of HIS TRUTH. Apart from seeing the MAN CHRIST JESUS, a man can neither see nor know the TRUE AND LIVING GOD, besides whom there is none else.
HE is that ONE who is the BEGINNING and THE END by whom all things were made, and without HIM was nothing made. “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me.” (Jer 27:5) “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Col 1:16-17)
Thus, when HE told HIS disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6); HE was not merely claiming to be speaking truth, but that HE is the very embodiment of TRUTH. No man can know the truth apart from knowing HIM who is that “TRUTH which endureth to all generations.” HE is that ONE who is the SAVIOR of HIS people even before the world was created and sin enveloped Adam and his offspring. No man has ever been justified nor been received into the presence of GOD apart from being found in CHRIST.
HE is that “covering” which was given to Adam and Eve. HE is that SEED which would bruise the head of the serpent. HE is that ARK in which Noah and his family rode upon the flood. HE is that BOW which was set in the CLOUDS. HE is that RAM caught in the thicket when Abraham would sacrifice the PROMISED SEED upon Mt. Moriah. HE is that ROCK which followed the children of Israel in the wilderness. HE is that CITY not made with hands, which those confessed that they sought as strangers and pilgrims in the earth. HE is that ONE who has come in the end of the age to pour out HIS soul as an offering for sin in the behalf of all of that “generation” which are HIS. HE is that ONE who rose victorious over sin, death, and hell and made a show openly of all of HIS enemies, triumphing over them and giving gifts unto those whom HE loves.
HE is the TRUTH which endures; HE who shall come again in flaming fire taking vengeance on all who know not GOD, and who have not received a love of the TRUTH that they might be saved. What a glorious SAVIOR is HE. Full of mercy to all who call upon HIS NAME. “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” (Rev 15:3-4) Let us exalt HIS NAME together.