What the Bible Teaches



Chapter 110

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110.000.000       Torrey: p53


   In the 17th Edition Torrey stated:

   Preliminary Note: The same Hebrew word is sometimes translated "mercy" and other times translated "loving-kindness". These two words, therefore, mean precisely the same thing. The Hebrew word should have been translated uniformly one way or the other. The word "mercy" in our English translation of the Old Testament is in a few instances a translation of another Hebrew word. This latter word corresponds to the Greek word always translated "compassion" in the New Testament. It covers essentially the same thought as the other word. In fact, in the quotation in Romans 9:15 it is translated by the Greek word for mercy. The primary meaning of the word most frequently used is "kindness", especially kindness exercised toward the suffering or sinning. It is so translated thirty-nine times in the Authorized Version. In thirty-one of these instances it is used of the kindness of man toward man, in the remaining eight of the kindness of God toward man.

   Reviser's Note: Unlike Torrey, I am not trained in either Hebrew or Greek. The excerpts in this New International Edition are mainly taken from the New International Standard Bible, not the 1885 Revised King James Version Torrey refers to. In any given context, the New International translators probably used whichever word sounded better in English; however, I do not know that for certain. The important point is: do not draw inferences from the use of one word rather than the other -- the difference does not exist in the original language.

110.010.010       Torrey: p53, T:I
Topic 10:   The fact that God is Merciful.

110.010.010       Torrey: p53, T:I, P:1
POINT 10:   God is Merciful, full of mercy.

      Psalms 103:8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

      Deuteronomy 4:31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.

      Psalms 62:11-12 [11] One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, [12] and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.

      Psalms 145:8-9 [8] The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. [9] The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

      Psalms 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

110.020.000       Torrey: p54, T:II
Topic 20:   Toward whom is the mercy of God manifested?

110.020.010       Torrey: p54, T:II, P:1
POINT 10:   God shows mercy as He sees fit. He is absolutely sovereign in the exercise of His mercy.

      Romans 9:15, 18 [15] For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." [18] Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

   But it should be remembered that while God is absolutely sovereign in the exercise of His mercy, while no one can dictate upon whom He shall have mercy, in point of fact He wills to have mercy on all upon whom He can have mercy.

      2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

110.020.012       Torrey: no
POINT 12:   No man can order, command, or demand God's mercy or blessings, as some New Age practitioners claim.

   Some New Age preachers, including some Christian clergy who do not recognize disguised New Age practices, proclaim what is being called 'blab and grab' theology: that 'true believers' can call God up at will and demand whatever they want -- riches, power, etc., and He will provide it, indeed He must provide it.

   These people may be calling up spirits, perhaps even spirits who can influence the affairs of men, but as the preceding Point indicates, the 'demanders' have no power over God. Certainly, God's faithful angels are not going to betray Him by influencing men in opposition to His will. For those who succeed in calling up spirits, there is only one other source, and it is not divine:

      1 John 4:1-3 [1] Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. [2] This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, [3] but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

110.020.020       Torrey: p54, T:II, P:2
POINT 20:   God's mercy is manifested toward those who fear or love Him: His servants, who walk before Him with all their hearts.

      Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

      Exodus 20:6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

      Psalms 103:11, 17-18 [11] For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; [17] But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children -- [18] with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

      2 Chronicles 6:14 He said: "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth -- you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue whole- heartedly in your way.

110.020.022       Torrey: p54, T:II, P:2
POINT 22:   "Fear of the LORD" does not mean stark terror. In the Bible it is nearly synonymous with "love of God".

   "The fear of the LORD" does not mean mortal dread of being brutally stricken at any moment for the smallest error. It means a healthy respect for His authority and power and righteousness. It is the "fear" any child ought to have for the good parent: respect for the parent's authority and fear of just and reasonable punishment for wrongful acts.

   As used in the Bible, "fear of the LORD" is almost synonymous with a "love of God". God wants men to be filled with joy. Jesus came so that man may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 Compare the following three excerpts; they look at the same practical attitude toward God from different points of view.

      Proverbs 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

      Proverbs 16:6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.

      1 John 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. ...

110.020.030       Torrey: p55, T:II, P:3
POINT 30:   God has mercy on every man who confesses and forsakes his sins.

      Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

110.020.040       Torrey: p55, T:II, P:4
POINT 40:   God has mercy on those who trust in the Lord. "The LORD's unfailing love surrounds the man."

      Psalms 32:10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.

110.020.050       Torrey: p55, T:II, P:5
POINT 50:   God has mercy on those who call upon Him in faith.

      Psalms 86:5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.

      Romans 10:12-13 [12] For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile -- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, [13] for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

   God isn't a voice-operated appliance that fulfills every request on demand. He requires true acceptance, not mere empty words. In the following excerpt, the demon ignored the exorcists not because they were Jews, but because they lacked faith -- after all, Paul remained a Jew, even after he accepted Christ.

      Acts 19:13, 15 [13] Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." [15] One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"

   Faith is an essential part of calling on God successfully.

      Acts 3:16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

      Acts 3:16 Revised Version reads: And his name [Jesus], by faith in his name, has made this man strong whom you see and know; and the faith which is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

110.020.060       Torrey: p55, T:II, P:6
POINT 60:   God has mercy on His afflicted people.

      Isaiah 49:13 Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

110.030.000       Torrey: p55, T:III
Topic 30:   How is the mercy of God manifested?

110.030.010       Torrey: p56, T:III, P:1
POINT 10:   The mercy of God is manifested in his pardoning sin when confessed and forsaken.

      Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

      Jonah 4:2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.

      Jeremiah 3:12-13 Go, proclaim this message toward the north: "'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,' declares the LORD, 'I will not be angry forever. [13] Only acknowledge your guilt -- you have rebelled against the LORD your God, ... and have not obeyed me,'" declares the LORD.

      Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

      Psalms 51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

      Numbers 14:18-20 [18] 'The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.' [19] In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now." [20] The LORD replied, "I have forgiven them, as you asked.

   The manifestation of God's mercy lies at the basis of many other manifestations. Nevertheless, it is not true, according to Biblical usage, that "mercy is exercised only when there is guilt."

110.030.020       Torrey: p56, T:III, P:2
POINT 20:   The mercy of God is manifested in his bearing long with sinners even when they harden their hearts and persist in sins.

      Nehemiah 9:16-18, 26-27, 30- 31 [16] But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey your commands. [17] They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, [18] even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, 'This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,' or when they committed awful blasphemies. [26] But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they put your law behind their backs. They killed your prophets, who had admonished them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. [27] So you handed them over to their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies. [30] For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples. [31] But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

      Confer: 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

110.030.030       Torrey: p57, T:III, P:3
POINT 30:   The mercy of God is manifested in His delivering from sickness, sorrow and oppression.

      Psalms 6:1-4 [1] O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. [2] Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. [3] My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? [4] Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.

      Philippians 2:27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.

      Exodus 15:13 In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.

110.030.040       Torrey: p57, T:III, P:4
POINT 40:   The mercy of God is manifested in His maintaining the security of those who trust Him.

      Psalms 21:7 For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.

110.030.050       Torrey: p57, T:III, P:5
POINT 50:   The mercy of God is manifested in His acting as a defense and refuge in the day of trouble.

      Psalms 59:16 But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

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