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letthewordreveal

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us….

Month

May 2014

I. Don’t Make Broken Promises…v 33-37

Ever made a promise you couldn’t keep? Chances are we all have at some point, we are all human after all, and despite our best efforts and intentions at times, we can think of when we have let others down.

 

Jesus here builds on another command from the Law that had been not so much blown out of proportion,  but had been certainly twisted to mean all sorts of things it most certainly didn’t.

 

The original instruction was not to break an oath you make before God ( Ex 20:7, Lev 19:12, Numbers 30:2, Deut 23:21-24), but Jesus tells His followers that it’s better that you don’t even make oaths at all! Not that we shouldn’t take oaths full stop, that itself would be missing the very thing that Jesus is trying to point out. God Himself makes promises, and commands His people to take oaths in His name. Paul calls God as his witness on many occasions in his epistles, and clearly we in our relationships in whatever form they may take, require certain promises to be made in order for the relationship to not only be valid, but meaningful and purposeful. But His point is that we would not make promises based on our fleshly desires and to avoid being dishonest in order to gain earthly goods or power. To be people of our word by not saying meaningless things, by speaking only truth.

 

So what kind of promises are wrong to make? How can we avoid this danger of not making promises we can’t keep or speaking untruth?

 

The teachers of the law had made mockery of promises by defining when you could keep a promise and when you could renege.( Matthew 23:16-22). They had denigrated honesty and truthfulness to inconveniences that could be done away with if you felt so inclined. They had placed value on things they valued and devalued what God valued.Oaths made under those sort of pretenses weaken truth and promote deception.

 

Promises made on faulty premises are broken before they are even spoken!

 

In a court of law, lawyers must be so careful in their questioning because even though a person might be ‘under oath’, word play can be the difference between truth being evident or deception hiding guilt.

 

“Were you ever alone with the victim?”, could ‘honestly’ be answered as, “No”, because in the person’s mind they can say, “ The victim was with me, so I wasn’t alone.

 

There are a couple of different ways of making false promises.

 

One is by making frivolous ones that you either have no intention of keeping or just say for the sake of saying, either out of obligation or repetition of honorable things that come to mean nothing to you, ie, “ I looooove that car!” “ I looooove those shoes….”, “ I looooove this meal….’, “I loooove that movie….”…..when you are constantly saying things like this, “ I love you” can sometimes seem so limp, “ You love me like you love that cake?”.

 

Another option is that we make foolish oaths that are evasive and non-committal…like, “Yes,dear”…..

 

Another more dangerous way of make foolish promises is ‘swear’ by something that is not even your’s to swear by. Especially if you are going to use God’s name and not even consider His holiness or power by just using Him like a stamp of approval on your actions, plans or words. There is no greater irreverence than to take the name of God and use it to your own ends. Don’t force God to affirm your ideas or ideals. Don’t invoke His name where it doesn’t belong. You do not own Him, in fact, you do not truly own anything. All things are under His Sovereignty.

 

You can’t swear by Heaven – that where He is! You have no claim to His throne!

 

You can’t swear by the Earth -that’s His footstool!

 

You can’t swear by Jerusalem – He is King there also!

 

You can’t swear by yourself, because you have no control over your own life and death. You can’t even make hair grow, let alone turn a different color. Who are you to think you can use God’s Sovereignty to your advantage? 

 

Every oath you take, you take against something that is not under your control. In some way, God is behind everything. From a universal to a personal perspective, there is no escaping the point Jesus is making. You cannot make a promise based on authority you do not have.

 

It’s not the promise that’s the issue, it’s the heart behind the promise and what holds the promise. 

 

Your only option is to simply let the confession of your mouth be truth, and held by truth if we are mistaken. Don’t trust in external things to hold your promises. It is your heart that you must promise with, and if that is God’s, you will be seeking to honor Him, not discredit Him by deception.

 

Don’t add anything to your yes or no. Anything else is simply pride. You can’t claim anything in the eyes of God, Who sees the heart. If you allow pride to enter your promises, you’ve already deceived yourself. Deception and pride come only from one place. The father of lies and the most prideful of all, the evil one.

 

Satan right from the beginning of time has made promises he can’t keep with authority he doesn’t have. 

 

He was kicked out of Heaven for promising to ascend to God’s throne, which was never his to claim. He got Adam and Eve kicked out of Eden for promising them they would ascend to be like God also. Satan is liar, and all lies and pride descend from him.

 

This revolutionizes our lives because with this kind of integrity in mind, we live honestly and forthrightly. We are trustworthy people, with no pretense, whose words are known to be true and edifying.

 

“ The heart of the person who trusts The Lord will express itself in words that are true and edifying.” – Boice

 

  1. Paying It Backwards…v38-42

 

You may have heard of the concept of ‘paying it forward’. Or of suspended meals or coffees paid in advance for someone who would come after you to enjoy.

 

That is a very generous concept, one we should embrace to show charity to others. The concept Jesus outlines here though goes a lot further.

 

More than doing to others what you would have done to you, that can be easy before you know the response of the other person, but when you have been harshly treated, it’s not so easy to react with that ‘golden rule’ mindset. We just figure they are operating on that principle where they want to be treated the way they treated us, so we respond in kind. Jesus says NO! Don’t pay back evil for evil. Don’t just pay back what you get… Pay it backwards. Give someone who is mistreating you the opportunity to see your genuine love for God.

 

The famous law He builds on here is from Ex 21, Lev 24 and Deut 19. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Without going into the arguments for and against capital punishment, we can put aside our own ideal of self-justification and preservation, seeing that the standard God commanded was bring an end to violence, not to encourage it. One life in payment for one other life was supposed to end possibility of all out warfare and blood feuds that extend through generations. Of course this had been twisted, both by bloodthirsty mankind, but also by teachers of the law to be prescriptive rather than restrictive. Open to interpretation, in became something you could use in personal vendettas, and fostered cruel justice, bitterness, and hatred.

 

Without going into v43-48, what can we learn from Jesus’ words here?

 

Firstly, repaying evil for evil can say much more about us than it does about the person we seek personal retribution against. Who are we to take on evil, anyway? When we judge and execute others for evil they have done against us, we are placing ourselves above them, and above the consequences of our own just-as-evil actions. We say we are better than they, but only by our own authority on the issue. If this is the case, where we all just commit to this cycle – where does it end? Generations time? We pass on our feuding. Be careful in what you instill in the next generation about those who have mistreated you. Call them out for what they are, but commit them to the judge as well.

 

How would Jesus have us respond instead to personal attack?

 

He outlines the strategy of non-resistance, which is a progression from not only not retaliating in violence for violence, but leads to giving yourself completely in self-sacrificial acts of love.

 

1- Turning the other cheek: this is a commonly recognized phrase that even non-believers are familiar with. But what does it even mean? It’s the first step in self-sacrifice, of being willing to choose vulnerability over strength, dishonor over personal satisfaction. Giving up your pride and personal reputation in order to show greater love.It’s not a rejection of justice, it is pointing to a greater justice than we are capable of dispensing to those that have wronged us. It is not subjecting yourself to acts of oppression and violence, it’s placing yourself ultimately in the hands of the only Just One, Who will never forsake you….

 

2 – Giving your cloak as well as your tunic: this generosity is only possible because you have first grasped the fact that nothing is really your’s to begin with. You give freely, not because it doesn’t cost you something, but because it does cost you, it should cost you to give. ‘If you have enough to spare, you have enough to share.’

 

3- Going the extra mile: this is the distance you must go to show you are willing to go with people, not because they demand, but because you love them with a love that transcends their demands and even abuse.

 

All of these things show us that your identity, meaning and purpose in this life as a follower of Jesus is not wrapped up in what men do to you, ask of you or beg of you. 

 

“Kingdom citizens expect little from this world, and place their trust wholly in God.” – Osborne.

 

What do you have that is truly your own? What do you have that has not first been given to you by the grace of God?

 

Jesus is teaching us deference to others, that we would seek to give rather than take.

 

Has anything been held back from us? Romans 8:32

 

Has God not fulfilled all His promises? Has He not been faithful even when we have not, even when we have been His enemies?

 

It is fitting as we would consider The Lord’s Table that we consider the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises, and being faithful in His covenant. Because when we pause to think of His faithfulness, and what He has done, we soon realize that in Him, we have not only the greatest example of faithfulness and promise-keeping, but also the greatest example of not returning evil for evil.

 

Genesis 15 shows us the covenant between God and Abraham and his seed. Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness ( v.6), but he still had questions. How could he know for certain that God would fulfill?Especially knowing within himself that he was prone to human failings?

 

God did something amazing. He walked through the death for both sides of the covenant.

 

His Word is sure, because His Word is more than mere sentences, or contracts written up, it’s flesh and blood. It’s Jesus, His Son, The Word made flesh. His Word fulfills all promises, for both side of the covenant, that all who would hear and see, and would believe, can have life.

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Wholly Holy In Jesus – 1 Peter 1:13-16

If you were to sum up what God requires of those who follow Him as His children, what word would you use? Obedience? Faith? Trust? Dedication? Holiness may just be a word that sums all those up, but what is holiness? Is it enough for us to think that it is that God requires us to do certain things, and not do others?

 

In our time and generation it seems we have lost not only our definition of holiness, but our desire for it also. We love the Gospel, and the freedom it brings, but we neglect the fact that holiness that is meant to go hand-in-hand with salvation. We treat holiness as an elective rather than a calling or requirement.

“There is a gap between our love of the Gospel and our love for holiness.” – Kevin DeYoung

Holiness is more than a set of rules to govern our behavior. It’s more than outward expressions of inward efforts, it’s outward and Godward expressions of an inward change of heart. Without heart change, there is no true holiness.Heart change only comes through faith in Christ, so we shouldn’t think that our holiness would come from anywhere or anyone else. Holiness for the child of God, is a privilege. We don’t ‘have to’, we ‘get to’.

 

  1. HOLINESS – as a state of mind v13.

 

Any outward action is usually initiated by an inward thought process to begin with. Some may beg to differ, and cite examples where people clearly didn’t think before they acted!

 

Holiness, for the follower of Jesus, begins in the mind before it can be acted out in life in a genuine way.

 

There are two ways to prepare your mind for an event or a goal you want to accomplish.

 

The first way is to seek a proper understanding of all that you are getting yourself into, studying it out and knowing what is required. Many of us have known that feeling of studying our syllabus and knowing what is required seems far and above what we think we are capable of.

 

The second way to prepare your mind goes beyond just studying something out purely for your own intellectual benefit, but to do it to be ready for action. Our thinking is not done just so we can feel accomplished in that alone, but so that we can act on what we know.

 

In preparing our minds, Peter points out, we show that are not contenting ourselves with blind faith. We’re not settling for a faith that is purely based on emotion or experience, but we have processed what it means for us.

 

This teaches us we should never belittle the place of our intellect in faith and discipleship, and that we should never settle to profess a faith we do not own ourselves. We should not be happy with an ‘unexamined faith’ or a faith that has not costed us anything.

 

In preparing our minds for action, we become sober-minded, disciplined and self-controlled about what we think about, which leads us to the same sort of action. We plan to act with purpose, and we can only plan with purpose when we know what our purpose is, and as believers, the purpose of our salvation is holiness. ( Ephesians 1:3,4).

 

Self-discipline, control, sacrifice, all lead us to live like we know that our hope is completely secure in the grace that is found in Jesus, and when we live like that, we are being controlled by the Spirit, and not under the influence of the flesh.This is what sober-mindedness means, to be controlled by the Spirit, and not being swayed back and forth by every wind of insecurity or temptation of the flesh.

 

 

 

  1. HOLINESS – as obedience to God in ALL we do v14-15.

 

The call of Peter’s epistle is to living hope (1:3), but what happens when life seems to distort our calling? How should we live when hope fades and the world, the flesh and the devil seek to defeat us at every turn when we start to tire of the race or holiness?

 

Holiness as a way of life can be overwhelming if we approach it wrongly. It can tire us in a world that rewards selfish living, but our call is to selfless obedience of God’s Word.

 

Holiness, submission, obedience. These are all ‘dirty’ words to us it seems. We don’t like to hear about them or talk about them. We don’t even want to read about them in the Bible either. We have an aversion to be asking to do anything that might open us up to persecution. Besides, we’ve only ever seen holiness taught and presented wrongly, and there is no right way to do it in a human sense, and any mention of it makes us call out “LEGALISM!”.

 

The call of the gospel cannot not be obeyed if we wish to enter the kingdom of God. We can’t be saved without that obedience firstly. That’s a big enough step to take for some. Then to realize that being in Christ makes you set apart and holy is confronting. We are called to transformation, not conformation, and our transformation comes about by obedience.

 

Peter says we can no longer obey the passions we used to give ourselves over to. That we should be wise, not only in our thinking, but also in our actions and conduct in everyday life.

 

We used to be ignorant of what God desired for us, and what was available in Him, but now, as His children, we are aware and alive to all that we have been granted access to by faith in Christ. We being called to be wise in the Gospel, and not ignorant in our sins and weaknesses.

 

We have choices to make every day, but Peter’s instruction isn’t to cripple us into making no choices at all, for fear of making the ‘unholy’ one, but he simply pointing out, in your own heart, you know what you have been saved from, you know your sin, you know your weaknesses, don’t think they are not still sinful just because Christ has made you righteous. Put those former things to death, and if you can’t kill them in thought, kill them in action by being holy in your conduct. Kill your former passions by submitting to the work of the Spirit in your life. Don’t think that you’ll win all your battles with your former passions in an instant either, sanctification is a process as well as a declaration.

“Holiness is not measured in one mighty act of valor or martyrdom. It is of small things of which a great life is made up.” Horatio Bonar

Victories in your battle for holiness will only come from the transforming power and wisdom that God provides, not by obeying human standards or traditions, but by obeying God’s commands.

 

Maybe holiness for you might mean giving up some vices, but that’s not to say that your vices will be my vices or vice-versa!

 

It’s common to equate holiness with the prohibition of certain things that we consider ‘exceptionally’ sinful.

 

When I grew up, holiness meant you didn’t drink, smoke, swear, or have sex. You went to church, obeyed your parents, and didn’t question authority. For a young kid, all those things seemed very attainable, and holiness was within my grasp as a pre-teen. Then I grew up, and when ‘life’ comes at us with all it’s tests and temptations, we soon realize holiness doesn’t fit into our box as neatly as we thought it did.

 

It’s not that all those things previously stated are good or bad things in themselves that defines whether they are ‘holy’ or not, it comes down to what Scripture says, what God says. Obeying what God says leads to holiness, and we must obey the Gospel first before the rest will ever make any sense to us at all.

 

God says getting drunk is sinful. So is abusing your body in any way, whether by excessive consumption of drink or food, or by engaging in sexual activity outside God’s ordained boundary of marriage.

 

Going to church, obeying your parents and listening to authorities are all great things,but they won’t save you, and they won’t make you holy. They may make you a ‘goody-two-shoes’, but holiness isn’t achieved by our personally enforced or any humanly enforced inhibitions or prohibitions, but by inward change of heart that comes from personal faith and relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

 

Salvation leads us to godly repentance and godly obedience. We place ourselves willing under God and His Word. Nothing else matters. His graces saves, and leads us to obey.

 

Thought. Speech. Deed.Every area of our life should now be under His juristic control.

 

The reason we don’t want to change our behavior sometimes is not because we doubt the fact of the availability of salvation, but because we do not understand God’s holiness. His whole purpose of saving us was to make us holy, not to make us comfortable in sin or to be free to sin. He saved us to set us free from sin, and to make us blameless before Him. ( Ephesians 1:3-4). We weren’t saved to glorify ourselves, but for the praise and glory of God.

 

We need to start living like what we do matters. Not that we work to be saved, but the salvation of our souls creates a lot of work. Transformation can be hard going, but it’s God who is working in you, so you can work it out.

 

We live holy lives, because holiness is eternal. We are called to it from before the foundation of the world, and in this life, all that we do, if done in holiness as a result of our salvation, will last, we are planting the seeds we have first received. ( 1:22-23)

 

3. HOLINESS – as the nature required for God’s children. v16

God is Holy, and He can’t not be holy. It is His very nature, so any holiness that exists can only come from Him.

 

Peter quotes from Leviticus 11:44-45, “Be you holy, for I am holy.”, and again, we might just be prone to dismiss this whole notion of holiness as a requirement. Surely God didn’t really mean that?!

 

But then we stop and see what He actually says, He doesn’t say ‘Be holy LIKE I am holy’, that would be impossible. But He says, because He is holy, we should be holy.

 

Why?

 

Because we have been adopted into the family of God. We are His children, and being His children, we now have been given something of His nature. But far more than that, we stand as His children, because we stand ultimately in Christ, Who was the only completely obedient and holy child of God.

 

Because we stand in Christ before God, we are declared as righteous, and holy before Him, and this is the only way for us to be truly and completely holy, to be completely in Jesus.

 

All the power you need to do so comes from Him Who calls you to begin with – He does not call us to something we cannot accomplish. He knows what we need and provides what we need. ( 2 Peter 1:3-11).

 

“ There is a gap between our love for the gospel and our love for godliness. This must change. It’s not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It’s the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a Holy God.” – DeYoung

 

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God In Our Pit – Psalm 130

 

Ever get that feeling like you’re in over your head? You haven’t just bitten off more than you can chew, it’s more than you can swallow or stomach? New job? Wrong subject choice at uni?

 

My wedding day was a little like that, for a brief moment, just before Rachel walked down the aisle, I suddenly realised what a big moment it was!! Thoughts rushed through my mind like – what am I doing? More to the point – what is SHE doing, marrying me??

 

Moments in life that overwhelm us can be so daunting, we feel completely helpless, hopeless and lost. What does your heart turn to in those moments? The object of your attention in the pits of despair reveals not only your heart, but what you are trusting in to save you.

 

The great Australian theologian, Colin Buchanan put it like this:

 

When you’re in the pits, or out for a duck

If you’re long in the tooth, or short of a buck…Remember the Lord.

 

Being in the pits is rough, and we naturally cry out for help, and we are right to cry out for the mercy of God, but how do we escape the situation we are in? Psalm 130 is rich in reflection, and as we meditate on it, we find it all so relevant to us, that is, if we want help.

 

  1. The Depth of Our Need. v1-2

 

How low can you go?’Is the tagline for limbo. Some push the boundaries of human dexterity in their attempts at going lower than anyone else.

 

The ‘depths’ in the times of the psalmist though, was often was a reference to the depths of the sea. The unknown, unreachable, out of your depth, depths. If you went that deep, chances are you were not coming back. Hence it was also used as an way of saying you were close to death.But ultimately, it is a picture of oppressive despair. More than sorrow, it’s an intimate acquaintance with depravity and sin’s curse.

 

“There is a difference between sorrow and despair. Sorrow is pain for which there are sources of consolation. Despair, however, is inconsolable, because it comes from losing an ultimate thing. When you lose the ultimate source of your meaning or hope, there are no alternate sources to turn to. It breaks your spirit.” – Keller

 

Despair is when you are at the end of yourself, and find no comfort in all the things you hoped in. No fulfillment in all the things you trusted in. No life in what you given your heart to. It leaves you alone, comfortless, unfulfilled and brokenhearted. It’s in this pit of despair, the writer calls out to the only thing he has left to call upon, his most base instinct.

 

There is no place where your cry cannot be heard by God. If anything, sometimes the only place we will call out to God from is when we have reached the end of ourselves.

 

We tried the god of self, and came up selfish and narcissistic. We gave ourselves to others and worshiped the god man’s opinion and came up fearful and anxious. We gave ourselves to pleasure and became addictive and depraved. We gave ourselves to love and found we loved ourselves too much, others too little and hated the God Who made us this way.

What is the way out? Will God hear our cry for help? Will He attend to our desperate prayers?

 

Above the waves and billows, the storms of life’s stormy sea, will we give up a cry of faith in our only hope of salvation, or just give up? The way out is only by extraspection, certainly not introspection.

 

  1. The Greatness of Our God. v3-4

 

“Deep places beget deep devotion.” – Spurgeon

 

What makes up a prayer in this situation? The psalmist will show us in following verses, a God worthy of not only of our call for help, but of our worship.

 

I’m sure you know that song, “ O be careful little eyes what you see….” ? It’s more than a kids ditty. You are being watched, and your sins are noticed.

 

God does marks our sin, and none of us get a passing grade so long as we remain outside of Christ, not accepting the redemption that’s available.

 

There are no credits, passes, distinctions, high distinctions. You can’t study to get a higher mark, you can’t work to get a higher mark. You can’t even stand before God to get your grade, because you are not even worthy of the very privilege of standing – that’s how far short we are. We have all fallen ‘flat on our face short’ of God’s glory. There is none righteous, no not one. Not even the ones that say they are.

 

Before God, no amount of repenting will do, because even the Psalmist couldn’t stand, and he had a repentant, penitent heart. God’s grace is the only cause by which we can enter into His presence.

 

But how do we get the grace of God? How will we stand before Him? We need someone who can go before God on our behalf – but Who can stand for us? We’d need someone like us, who understands us, but isn’t us. Someone acquainted with our griefs and sorrows, and is yet unaffected by them. Someone who can be with us, and for us, but still be completely Holy.

 

v4 Points us to the answer. Forgiveness is WITH God. Forgiveness comes from Him, through Him. He has to stand in for us, before Himself. We need a God-man.

 

God’s very nature is to forgive. It’s his habit to be merciful and provide a way to not only stand before Him to receive judgement, but to receive pardon.

 

Do not think that you stand before God by your own efforts. No one can. Don’t try to enter His presence and demand His forgiveness, it might be in His nature, but He only accepts those who come through Jesus.

 

It’s like you are in the dock. Perry Mason has just laid out all the evidence. You are guilty. The judge holds your life in the balances. But instead of declaring you as you are, he instead chooses to look at you at your sins through the lens of someone else who is perfectly innocent and accepts their innocent over your guilt, as they stand in your place.

 

God’s holiness is overwhelming. No one can stand before Him. Isaiah knew he was undone in His presence ( Isaiah 6), and Peter knew his sinfulness in the presence of the Lord ( Luke 5:8). No one can endure that level of exposure or scrutiny. But His holiness manifests itself in love and mercy, in Christ. In this fact, we like the psalmist, see that He is to be feared, not out of terror, but out of awe. ( 4b) He is, ‘looking down in love’ and not to ‘squish us like a bug!’

“ None fear the Lord like those who experience His forgiving love” – Spurgeon

 

  1. The Earnestness of Our Hope. v.5-6

 

Waiting is not my favorite pastime. As kids we wait for Christmas and birthdays. As teens we wait until the time we can be ‘grown up’, and when we grow up, we’re waiting for EVERYTHING. Traffic. Wives to do their make-up. Kids to brush their teeth. Husbands to take the rubbish out. Pay rises. For our team to win some games. On and on…

 

There is a theme of watching in this Psalm, not only that God watches/marks our sins, but there is a waiting for us in just the same emphasis for the Lord and His Word.

 

Our soul – our very being and essence, who we really are, is made to wait on God and His Word. This points us to the opposite of our position in the pit where we most likely had been waiting on ourselves to get us out of there. Instead, there is calling, a vocation, like night watchmen, we wait for the Lord.

 

The night watchmen and nightshift worker no doubt eagerly waits for the first hint of dawn breaking. Peering into the darkness, keeping eyes open with matchsticks, they earnestly hope for the end of the shift. That’s just a small picture of what our hope should be like, hence the repetition. ( v6)

 

This expectancy cannot even come close to the certain hope that God’s redeeming Word to come to us as His people in their ‘dark night of the soul’. – Alter

 

If God is to become real to us in our lives, we not only have to cry out to Him, and then rest in His grace alone, we have to live expectant lives. Hopeful lives that look for His revealing.

 

“If He is to become real to me, it will be as He speaks to me and makes Himself known through His Word.” – Michael Wilcock

 

We look not only to His Word for His revelation, but also to His coming. The psalmist spoke of the coming redemption, of the Messiah’s coming to Israel, the first coming of Jesus. We look forward also, for His second. When He appears all our hopes will be purified. ( 1 John 3:1-3)

 

How earnest is our hope? Do we live with the revelation of Jesus as the Christ as part of our daily lives, or do we run that as background noise to the busyness of life and our own fixations, hobby horses, rituals and traditions?

 

The hope of the Gospel is for the people of God, not just to be shared when we stumble over a non-believer to evangelise. We should never ever think the Gospel no longer reveals anything to us about ourselves once we have accepted God’s free grace by faith.

 

We need to be expectant, not complacent. We need to be made aware of the danger that sometimes we base our justification on our sanctification, instead of the other way around. Hope is only pure when it is on, in and from Christ alone. We need to cast off the sleeping pills of tribalism, blind ritualism, liberalism and legalism. Wait for the dawn. Light has come, and is coming.

 

 

  1. The Effectiveness of Our Redemption. v7-8

 

Not only is He coming, but He bringing with Him His three constant companions:

forgiveness, covenant love and redemption.

 

Israel, as God’s chosen people, awaited the Messiah to redeem them from all their sins. The psalmist hoped in God’s covenant love, mercy, and His plenteous redemption. We look back and see all was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, making redemption not only possible for Israel, but for all nations. People could be sons and daughters of Abraham by faith. ( Galatians 3:7-9).

 

This redemption that is available through Jesus is not only plenteous, but completely effective and full – all iniquities are redeemed. All!

 

Not just washed, pardoned, excused. Redeemed. Someone paid a price to take them away from us, to free us.

 

We were enslaved in our pit of despair and sin. We were children of wrath. We were in no position to come up, out of it.Helpless. Hopeless. We could not ascend. We needed someone to condescend to us. Someone to come down to our pit and be with us, then pay the price to get us out.

 

God came to us, Immanuel. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. God came into our pit.

 

He has established a way for us to be certain of our hope in our redemption. He is intimately invested in us, we are His people, His children.

 

What does the revelation of Jesus as the Word of God made flesh mean for you?

 

Unbeliever – it means you have to call out Him for salvation, then for believers to glorify God with your lives, and to live alone by His mercy, seeing He has come to you in your deepest distress and pain. Believers – this is for your assurance, and to move you to praise, not cause anguish and grief. Do you feel like your whole Christian life has been spent trying to crawl out of the pit? Stop crawling, and start waiting on the Lord and resting in His Word. We have a God Who speaks, listen to His voice.

 

“ Out of the depths of anguish to heights of assurance. See the pearl of salvation, hidden in the depths.” – Spurgeon 

 

 From the depths of woe I raise to Thee, a voice of lamentation. 

Lord, turn a gracious ear to me, And hear my supplication. 

If Thou iniquities dost mark, Our secret sins and misdeeds dark, 

O who shall stand before Thee? 

To wash away the crimson stain, Grace, grace alone availeth. 

Our works, alas! are all in vain; In much the best life faileth. 

No man can glory in Thy sight, All must alike confess Thy might, 

And live alone by mercy. 

Therefore my trust is in the Lord, And not in mine own merit. 

On Him my soul shall rest, His word upholds my fainting spirit. 

His promised mercy is my fort, My comfort, and my sweet support. 

I wait for it with patience. 

What though I wait the live-long night, And ’til the dawn appeareth. 

My heart still trusteth in His might, It doubteth not nor feareth. 

Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed, Ye of the Spirit born indeed, 

And wait ’til God appeareth. 

Though great our sins and sore our woes, 

His grace much more aboundeth. 

His helping love no limit knows, Our upmost need it soundeth. 

Our Shepherd good and true is He, Who will at last His Israel free, 

From all their sin and sorrow.

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