Summary: It is the desire of the heavenly Father for His people always to experience the full inheritance of His covenant love and mercy. The Apostle John calls such a place of attainment in God “perfect love”.
It is truly amazing to think of the mercy and forbearance that God bestows upon sinners. Undoubtedly, the Lord has the power to cut off our very existence. The Scripture affirms, “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled; thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust” (Psalm 104:29). Nevertheless, the Father still “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).
In his second epistle, Peter reiterates that mercy, not weakness, is the motive for divine restraint toward scoffers. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
It is imperative that we understand that although humanity as a whole – both saint and sinner – experiences the benevolence of God, this is not covenant blessing. The Lord’s covenant blessing is reserved strictly for those who love Him with all of their hearts. “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children. To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them” (Psalm 103:17, 18).
Also, “the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant” (25:14). Fearing God by obeying His commands and keeping His covenant is not an option for believers. Without it, we will not partake of the covenant blessings of God.
There are those today who wrongly believe that because they are prospering and are in good health, they are fully reaping the covenant blessings of salvation. The Laodicean church was a prime example of this mistake. Because it was rich and increased with goods, it felt that it was in need of nothing (Revelation 3:17). However, Jesus, the faithful and true witness (1:5; 19:11), revealed to them the reality of the matter: “thou…knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of they nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (3:17, 18).
It is the desire of the heavenly Father for His people always to experience the full inheritance of His covenant love and mercy. The Word is clear on that subject. It states that “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3) and “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) belong to His children through the blood of the everlasting covenant!
The Apostle John calls such a place of attainment in God “perfect love”. “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected…” (1John 2:5). Knowing that we abide in perfect love is the only true remedy against the dread of judgment. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in the love: but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (4:17, 18).
In order to abide in perfect love there is a holy obligation. Jude, the servant of Jesus, stated, “Keep yourselves in the love of God…” (1:21). the word keep is a military term in the biblical Greek. It means “to guard by keeping the eye upon.” As believers, we must be watchful, ensuring that we are always in the range where God’s love and mercy can reach and bless us.
This can be accomplished by following the message of God through the Prophet Hosea. In Hosea’s day, the people of the Lord had strayed far from the pathway of covenant blessing. “Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies; because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of they mighty men” (Hosea 10:13). Iniquity, as employed in this verse, is derived from a root word that means “a yoke.” In other words, God’s people were subjugated and ruled by their sins. The cords of their waywardness had fully bound them, and now they were slaves of fleshly lusts!
In spite of such rebellion, God’s desire for them had not changed. He still yearned to extend His loving kindness to them. Yet the pathway of holiness and obedience to His Word had to be followed strictly if they were to appropriate covenant blessing. God said, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy, break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you” (v 12).