A Short Study of Psalm 86:5

“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”
(Psalm 86:5)

“…but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.”
(Nehemiah 9:17)



God, as He has revealed Himself to us in the scriptures delights to shew mercy and to pardon guilty sinners. He has not left us to guess about His character. David said of Him, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee” (Psalm 86:5). His readiness to pardon is seen in His longsufferings to Israel. God’s dealings with national Israel are very typical of His dealings with spiritual Israel. Though we are no more deserving of mercy than they were, yet God in Christ Jesus has been pleased to choose, justify and pardon His elect (Romans 3:24). God’s readiness to pardon His people is seen in the following points.

1) In His Eternal Purpose (Ephesians 3:8-12)


We must never think that Christ Jesus died to make God merciful. The death of the Lord Jesus is the result of the eternal purpose and love of God (Revelation 13:8). Before Adam’s rebellion ever took place, the remedy and redemption of the sheep of Christ was absolute and certain (1st Corinthians 15:22). Before Adam ever fell, Jesus Christ stood as the Surety and Mediator of the covenant of grace (Hebrews 13:20).

2) In His Gracious Provision (Galatians 4:4-7)


God at great cost to Himself, from His own bosom gave His only begotten, well beloved Son (John 3:16). God in His holiness and strict justice cannot simply give the sinner pardon, without honoring His justice (Ezekiel 8:20). Therefore, God took to Himself sinless humanity. Living as our representative He perfectly obeyed the law for us in all its precepts and penalties (Isaiah 42:21; Romans 8:1-4).

3) In His Satisfying Propitiation (Hebrews 2:16-18)


How can God be just and yet justify the ungodly; be a just God and Saviour? That is the vital question of the hour, which nobody is asking. The only way is for God himself to satisfy His own justice (Isaiah 53:10). This is what happened at Calvary. The Lord Jesus Christ died in the place of His people, as the sinner’s Substitute. Bearing the sin of His people being imputed to Him, He suffered for them to satisfy God’s justice (2nd Corinthians 5:21; 1st Peter 3:18). The atonement doesn’t change the character of God, it honours and glorifies his justice and mercy (Psalm 85:10).

4) In Preaching The Gospel (1st Corinthians 1:17-21)


God in His infinite wisdom has devised very simple means to call out His elect (Romans 10:13-17). God effectually calls out His sheep through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ (John 10:27). Wherever His people are, whoever they are, God will cross their path with the truth of salvation revealed in Jesus Christ (Acts 8:26-40; 1st Peter 1:23-25; James 1:18).


T. Harding

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