Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com
June 19 Today’s Reading: Psalm 51-59
“The God of my mercy shall prevent me.”
What a sweet, comforting, instructive declaration this is! — “The God of my mercy shall prevent me.” The word “prevent” means “precede” or “go before.” Prevenient mercy is that mercy and grace that precedes and prepares the way for God’s saving grace. God’s goodness and mercy toward his elect secretly go out to them and pursue them, even before God the Spirit comes to them in the saving operations of his grace. Preventing mercies are mercies that go before hand. They are mercies that come to our souls before they are known, sought, or even thought of by us. God is always first. His mercy pursues its object from everlasting, and never gives up its pursuit until the chosen sinner is landed safe with Christ in heavenly glory in the house of God. What a sweet subject for meditation!
In the opening verse of Jude, it is declared as that grace by which we are preserved in Jesus Christ. All who are God’s, because we are from eternity “sanctified by God the Father,” are “preserved in Jesus Christ.” The word “preserved” means “watched over,” “guarded,” “kept from loss or injury.” It is a passive verb. So the sweet message of God to our hearts in these words is this. — Because God has set us apart unto himself in Christ in eternal election, we are absolutely kept from any harm coming to us, because we are in Christ made the objects of his unceasing care. Throughout the days of our rebellion, ignorance, and unbelief, we were preserved in Christ unto the time of our calling by the Holy Spirit at the appointed time of love.
We were preserved from condemnation and the second death. We were not preserved from falling with the rest of mankind in the sin and fall of our father Adam. We were not preserved from the depravity and corruption of human nature, which all men have by birth from Adam. And we are not preserved from iniquity, transgression, and sin. We are all, by nature, “children of wrath.”
Yet, even in those days gone by, though fallen, depraved, hell-bent “children of wrath,” Jude tells us, and all of Scripture teaches us, that we who now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and all who shall yet believe on him were so completely and absolutely preserved, watched over, guarded, and protected by our God, by virtue of our union with Christ, that it was not possible for us to suffer any real loss or injury by all that we experience in time! We were, even in our wrathful state of unbelief, so preserved that the law could not execute the sentence of condemnation on us, sin could not damn us, and Satan could not destroy us.
“Preserved in Jesus Christ!” — What blessed words! What unspeakable blessedness! What unknown wonders are here described! Only in eternity will we be able to see them. Yet, there are some things plainly revealed in the Book of God about the meaning of these words. — “Preserved in Jesus Christ!”
Prevenient grace is providential grace, the secret operations of grace that precede and prepare the way for God’s saving grace. According to his purpose of grace, God ordered all the affairs of our lives, forming us as he would, molding our personalities, to prepare us for his mercy (Galatians 1:15; Jeremiah 1:5). In marvelous restraining mercy, he kept us from those things that would have destroyed us, saying, “Hitherto shalt thou go and no further!” Oh, how sweetly “the God of my mercy” went before me, overruling evil for good on my behalf! He sends his angels to watch over and protect his elect unto the time of their calling!
Read Psalm 107 and see how providence obeys God’s command for the salvation of his elect. — “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”
Prevenient grace is preparatory grace. It is that grace that prepares the chosen, redeemed sinner to receive God’s saving grace (Matthew 13:3-9). Sweet, indescribably sweet is that work of God’s providence and grace that precedes his grace, prepares the way for his grace, and brings his grace! Just ask any who have experienced it!
“The God of my mercy shall prevent me!” As he has gone before me, he shall go before me all the days of my life. Therefore, let every heaven-born soul sing to his everlasting praise, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”