“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.”
One of my favorite movie lines of all times is at the end of “The Princess Bride.” As the narrator comments upon the kiss of Wesley and Buttercup, he states, “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.” That statement, while nothing more than a poetic expression in the film, would certainly be true of the statement the Psalmist makes here.
When the righteousness and mercy of God met together, it was an expression of both the passion and the purity of the love of God. Righteousness speaks of the nature of God that is without sin, and perfectly holy, as well as His demand for justice. Scripture makes clear, because of the majesty of His holiness, sin cannot survive in His presence. Like tissue being consumed in a raging flame, so the sinner can have no place in the audience of a holy God. The purity of His eyes cannot behold evil, and the angelic host ever live to circle His throne, and herald his righteousness.
Coupled with his righteousness, is His desire to pardon. The love of God for humanity produces within Him a burning desire to pardon sin, giving us access into His heavenly domain. How can these two seemingly contradictory characteristics ever be satisfied? The Psalmist declares that it happened when righteousness and mercy kissed. This beautiful statement found its complete fulfillment in the cross. The holiness of God was satisfied when the blood of Christ was shed. Isaiah wrote, “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11).
The righteousness of Christ satisfies the holiness and justice of God. Because He bore our iniquities, God is able to pardon our sins, satisfying His passion for mercy. Paul declared, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2Corinthians 5:21). The passionate love of God for you stirred Him to send His own Son, to make a way for you to live forever. Without trying to sound too strange, allow me to ask, “Have you experienced the kiss of heaven?” Have you allowed mercy and righteousness to meet together, by receiving Christ as your Lord and Savior. Today is that day!
Questions for Psalm 85
- Read again verse 2, how sweet are those words in your ears?
- According to verse 8 God will speak peace to us. How are we to react?
- Think through verse 10 in light of the cross of Christ.
- Verse 13 speaks of making His footsteps our pathway. That only happens when we follow closely. How are you following Jesus closely today?