‘LOVING-KINDNESS AND MERCY is a moral attribute of the Godhead, or more properly is an attribute of love: Ps. 86:5; Is. 54:8; 3:22; Ro. 2:4; Ep. 2:4; Jas. 5:11; II Pe. 3:9.
The choice to live lovingly (or in a state of voluntary good-willing) does something to all our relations, for we read, “Love is patient, love is kind” (I Co. 13:4). This is the opposite of allowing the righteous feelings of vindictive justice towards those who have injured us to hold sway in our beings. The loving disposition of the Godhead has completely overcome all feelings of vindictive justice, which man’s rebellion and persistence in wickedness has caused to arise in the Divine Being. Now, instead of this insistence on strict justice, mercy and forgiveness is offered upon certain necessary conditions which will make happy reconciliation possible.
Loving-kindness and mercy is a tendency to be lenient and kind toward the unworthy, which is the meaning of the word “grace” so often applied to the Godhead (Tit. 2:11). This is the quality of humiliation and self-abasement, a willingness to jeopardize proper standing and recognition out of compassion to the undeserving. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” It is the sacrificial impartation of life rather than a conservation of life. It sacrifices its own welfare and just due to grant to other moral beings its storehouse of blessings. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,” wrote the Apostle Paul. Here Paul was describing the willingness of the Son to leave the profound serenity of heaven and enter the area of our humiliation, so that He might give His life in atonement for the sins of the whole world (Phil. 2:5).
Pardon and forgiveness cannot be brought to pass unless God’s righteous obligations as Moral Governor can be satisfied. Nor can it happen unless man is willing to repent and embrace the conditions of mercy. It is here that the blessed atonement of Christ enters as the greatest fact of world history:
- It upholds God’s moral government by showing forth the awful nature of sin and its just due of eternal punishment.
- It reveals God’s inner hatred of sin and how terrifying have been the effects of sin upon the Members of the Godhead.
- It furnishes the crushing force to subdue the tremendous structure of human pride, humbling man to the place where God can pour out His storehouse of blessings in tender kindness.
- It provides the means for man’s complete transformation and affectionate motivation in a newness of life.The only thing left is for man to repent of all sin and stupidity and seek the face of God in proper humbleness. Man must identify himself in a committal of faith to the sufferings of Christ for his sins, as the only hope of his forgiveness and spiritual restoration from a state of ruin. God, then, can become joyful in loving forgiveness, consistent with His righteous obligations, “because He delights in unchanging love” (or loving-kindness) (Micah 7:18-19).’
Source: Gordon Olson, The Truth Shall Make You Free, The Truth About The Nature and Character of God; p 35-36 (Illinois, Bible Research Fellowship Inc., 1980)