Scripture Reading: “…according to thy lovingkindness…” (Psalm 51:1)
Notice, David’s plea for mercy is predicated upon God’s lovingkindness. David knows the only possibility of his prayer being answered and his sins being forgiven is found in God’s unconditional love. Unlike others who love us conditionally—according to who we are and what we do—God loves us unconditionally—in spite of who we are and what we do. If God’s love was conditional like man’s, no sinner would have any hope of receiving a divine pardon before the heavenly bar.
God’s love for us in Christ, which the Apostle Paul teaches is incomprehensible (Ephesians 3:19), is not just incomprehensible because of the fact that God became a man in the man Christ Jesus in order to die in man’s place on the cross of Calvary, but also because Christ died for us “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8). He who is “altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:16) gave Himself for us, the unlovely. It is this incomprehensible act of Christ’s unconditional love that gives the penitent sinner hope of God’s mercy.
The Hebrew word translated “lovingkindness” really has no English equivalent. It denotes a stedfast love that won’t let go. In the New Testament, Paul explains this stedfast love of the Savior by teaching us how nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39). There is nothing you can ever do to change the way God feels about you. Therefore, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, even if you are a murderer and adulterer like David, there is still hope of God’s answering of your plea for His mercy.
“In lovingkindness Jesus came
My soul in mercy to reclaim,
And from the depths of sin and shame
Through grace He lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me,
With tender hand He lifted me,
From shades of night to plains of light,
O praise His Name, He lifted me!” (Charles H. Gabriel)