I will be merciful to their unrighteousness - In order to be their God, as mentioned under the preceding verse, it is requisite that their iniquity should be pardoned; this is provided for by the immolation of Jesus Christ as the covenant sacrifice. By his blood, redemption has been purchased, and all who with penitent hearts believe on the Lord Jesus receive remission of sins, and God remembers their iniquities no more against them so as to punish them on that account. All spiritual evil against the nature and law of God is represented here under the following terms: -
3. Iniquity, ανομια, lawlessness, not having, knowing, or acknowledging, a law; having no law written in their hearts, and restrained by none in the conduct of their lives. All these are to be removed by God's mercy; and this is to be understood of his mercy in Christ Jesus.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness - That is, the blessing of “pardon” will be much more richly enjoyed under the new dispensation than it was under the old. This is the “fourth” circumstance adduced in which the new covenant will surpass the old. That was comparatively severe in its inflictions (see Hebrews 10:28); marked every offence with strictness, and employed the language of mercy much less frequently than that of justice. It was a system where law and justice reigned; not where mercy was the crowning and prevalent attribute. It was true that it contemplated pardon, and made arrangements for it; but it is still true that this is much more prominent in the new dispensation than in the old. It is there the leading idea. It is what separates it from all other systems. The entire arrangement is one for the pardon of sin in a manner consistent with the claims of law and justice, and it bestows the benefit of forgiveness in the most ample and perfect manner on all who are interested in the plan. In fact, the uniqueness by which the gospel is distinguished from all other systems, ancient and modern, philosophic and moral, pagan and deistical, is that it is a system making provision for the forgiveness of sin, and actually bestowing pardon on the guilty. This is the center, the crown, the glory of the new dispensation. God is merciful to the unrighteousness of people and their sins are remembered no more.
Will I remember no more - This is evidently spoken after the manner of men, and in accordance with human apprehension. It cannot mean literally that God forgets that people are sinners, but it means that he treats them as if this were forgotten. Their sins are not charged upon them, and they are no more punished than if they had passed entirely out of the recollection. God treats them with just as much kindness, and regards them with as sincere affection, as if their sins ceased wholly to be remembered, or which is the same thing, as if they had never sinned.
Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. He will cleanse them from all defilement if they will let Him. But if they cling to their sins, they cannot possibly be saved; for Christ's righteousness covers no sin unrepented of. God has declared that those who receive Christ as their Redeemer, accepting Him as the One who takes away all sin, will receive pardon for their transgressions. These are the terms of our election. Man's salvation depends upon his receiving Christ by faith. Those who will not receive Him lose eternal life because they refused to avail themselves of the only means provided by the Father and the Son for the salvation of a perishing world (Manuscript 142, 1899). 7BC 931.1
Personal Character of Christ's Intercession—Christ is watching. He knows all about our burdens, our dangers, and our difficulties; and He fills His mouth with arguments in our behalf. He fits His intercessions to the needs of each soul, as He did in the case of Peter.... Our Advocate fills His mouth with arguments to teach His tried, tempted ones to brace against Satan's temptations. He interprets every movement of the enemy. He orders events (Letter 90, 1906). 7BC 931.2Read in context »
The most striking feature of this covenant of peace is the exceeding richness of the pardoning mercy expressed to the sinner if he repents and turns from his sin. The Holy Spirit describes the gospel as salvation through the tender mercies of our God. “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,” the Lord declares of those who repent, “and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12). Does God turn from justice in showing mercy to the sinner? No; God cannot dishonor His law by suffering it to be transgressed with impunity. Under the new covenant, perfect obedience is the condition of life. If the sinner repents and confesses his sins, he will find pardon. By Christ's sacrifice in his behalf, forgiveness is secured for him. Christ has satisfied the demands of the law for every repentant, believing sinner.... AG 138.4Read in context »
The blessings of the new covenant are grounded purely on mercy in forgiving unrighteousness and sins. The Lord specifies, I will do thus and thus unto all who turn to Me, forsaking the evil and choosing the good. “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12). All who humble their hearts, confessing their sins, will find mercy and grace and assurance. TMK 299.2Read in context »