Consider the gloriousness of God's mercy in Jesus Christ - Richard Sibbes

Stephen L Smith

Staff member
This is one of the most spiritually edifying statements I have read from Richard Sibbes - the 'heavenly doctor' -

What a comfort this is to sinful man, that in casting himself on Christ and upon God's mercy in Christ, he yields glory to God; that God has joined his glory with our special good; that here is a sweet concurrence between the chief end and the highest good of man! The last end of man is the glory of God, for that is the point from which all came (for he made all for his glory) and in which all ends; so is the chief good.

And so it is vain for some to think, 'Oh, we must not look to our own salvation so much; this is self-love.' That is true if we sever the consideration of the glory of God's mercy and and goodness from it. But we must see that both of these wrapped and indissolubly knit together in our salvation is to God's glory. We hinder God's glory if we do not believe his mercy in Christ to us. So we wrong both ourselves and him. And we wrong him not in a lesser attribute, but in his mercy and goodness, in which he has appointed to glorify himself most of all.

And so I beseech you, let us yield to him the glory of his mercy, and let us think that when we sin we cannot glorify him more than have recourse to his mercy. When Satan tempts us to run from God and discourages us, as he will at such times, then keep this in mind: God has set himself to be glorious in mercy above all other attributes. And as this is the primary moving attribute that stirs up all the rest, God will account himself honoured if we have recourse to him. Let this thought be as a city of refuge. When the avenger of blood follows you, flee immediately to this sanctuary. Think: let me not deny myself comfort and God glory both at once. 'Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more' (Rom 5:20'. Though sins after conversion stain our profession more than sins before conversion, go still to the glorious mercy of God. To seventy times seventy times, there is yet mercy. We beseech you be reconciled, said St Paul to the Corinthians, when they were in the state of grace and already had their pardon. Let us never be discouraged from going to Christ.

Glorious Freedom (Banner of Truth) pp 80-81

This reading is included in a beautiful devotional work by Sibbes recently published by Banner of Truth and aptly named 'Refreshment for the Soul'