“The sea of God’s compassion can drown thy great sins” by Thomas Watson

Question: But will God be a Father to me, who have profaned His name, and been a great sinner?

Answer: If thou wilt now at last seek to God by prayer, and break off thy sins, God hath the compassion of a Father for thee, and will in no wise cast thee out.

When the prodigal did arise and go to his father, ‘his father had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him,’ Luke 15:20.

Though thou hast been a prodigal, and almost spent all upon thy lusts, yet, if thou wilt give a bill of divorce to thy sins, and flee to God by repentance, know that He hath the compassion of a father.

He will embrace thee in the arms of His mercy, and seal thy pardon with a kiss. What though thy sins have been heinous?

The wound is not so broad as the plaster of Christ’s blood. The sea covers great rocks. The sea of God’s compassion can drown thy great sins.

Therefore be not discouraged,—go to God,—resolve to cast thyself upon His fatherly compassion.

What comfort is there to such as can upon good grounds call God, Father. There’s more sweetness in this word Father, than if we had ten thousand worlds.”

–Thomas Watson, The Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson, Comprising His Celebrated Body of Divinity, in a Series of Lectures on the Shorter Catechism, and Various Sermons and Treatises (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855), 390-391.

“A most ordinary pastor” by D.A. Carson

“Tom Carson never rose very far in denominational structures, but hundreds of people in the Outaouais and beyond testify how much he loved them.

He never wrote a book, but he loved the Book.

He was never wealthy or powerful, but he kept growing as a Christian: yesterday’s grace was never enough.

He was not a far-sighted visionary, but he looked forward to eternity.

He was not a gifted administrator, but there is no text that says, ‘By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you are good administrators.’

His journals have many, many entries bathed in tears of contrition, but his children and grandchildren remember his laughter. Only rarely did he break through his pattern of reserve and speak deeply and intimately with his children, but he modeled Christian virtues to them.

He much preferred to avoid controversy than to stir things up, but his own commitments to historic confessionalism were unyielding, and in ethics he was a man of principle.

His own ecclesiastical circles were rather small and narrow, but his reading was correspondingly large and expansive.

He was not very good at putting people down, except on his prayer lists.

When he died, there were no crowds outside the hospital, no editorial comments in the papers, no announcements on television, no mention in Parliament, no attention paid by the nation.

In his hospital room there was no one by his bedside. There was only the quiet hiss of oxygen, vainly venting because he had stopped breathing and would never need it again.

But on the other side all the trumpets sounded.

Dad won entrance to the only throne room that matters, not because he was a good man or a great man-he was, after all, a most ordinary pastor-but because he was a forgiven man.

And he heard the voice of Him whom he longed to hear saying, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.'”

–D.A. Carson, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008), 147-148.

“Pardoning mercy” by Thomas Brooks

“Christ gives pardon of sin. And do you know what a mercy that is? Ask the troubled soul, ask the soul that knows what it is to lie under the wrath of the Almighty, and he will tell you that pardon of sin is a gift more worth than a thousand worlds.

Now that pardon of sin is a gift of God, you may see in Acts 5:31, ‘Him hath God exalted with His right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.’ (See also Acts 26:18). Ah, souls! of all mercies pardoning mercy is the most necessary mercy.

I may go to heaven without honours, and without riches, and without the smiles of creatures; but I can never go to heaven without pardoning mercy. A man may be great and graceless, he may be rich and miserable, he may be honourable and damnable, but he cannot be a pardoned soul, but he must be a very blessed soul (Ps. 32:1, 2).

It entitles souls to all blessedness, it puts the royal crown upon their heads. Of all mercies pardoning mercy is the most sweetening mercy; it is a choice jewel. It is a mercy that makes all other mercies to look like mercies, and taste like mercies, and work like mercies.

And the want of pardoning mercy takes off the glory and beauty of all a man’s mercies, and makes his life a very hell. Pardon of sin is a voluminous mercy, a mercy that has many, many precious mercies in the womb of it.

When you can number the sands of the sea, and tell the stars of heaven, then, and not till then, shall you be able to recount the mercies that attend pardoning mercy. He that has this mercy cannot be miserable, and he that wants it cannot be happy: get this and get all, miss this and miss all.

This is a gift conferred only upon Christ’s favourites: ‘Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee,’ (Matt. 9:2). No mercy will make a man everlastingly merry below pardoning mercy. He hath no reason to be sad that hath his pardon in his bosom, nor he hath no reason to be glad, who is upon the last step of the ladder, ready to be turned off without his pardon.”

–Thomas Brooks, The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 3, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 106.

“What sin is” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“The most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the Cross of Jesus. The greatest psychological insight, ability, and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is.

Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of men. And so it also does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness. Only the Christian knows this.

In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner.”

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (New York: Harper & Row, 1954), 118-9.