Saturday, October 15, 2016, 6:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “For Our Nation.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 50:16-23 (NASB).
Who Hates Discipline? (vv. 16-21)
But to the wicked God says,
“What right have you to tell of My statutes
And to take My covenant in your mouth?
“For you hate discipline,
And you cast My words behind you.
“When you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
And you associate with adulterers.
“You let your mouth loose in evil
And your tongue frames deceit.
“You sit and speak against your brother;
You slander your own mother’s son.
“These things you have done and I kept silence;
You thought that I was just like you;
I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.
Who are the wicked? Well, wicked means “sinful,” so, in one sense, they are all who have rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives. They were born into sin, as we all were, because of the sin of Adam, yet they have not yet been saved from their sins via faith in Jesus Christ, who loved them, and who gave his life up for them so that they could be set free from slavery to sin. Yet, the wicked, in another sense, are all those who actively live wickedly, i.e. who conduct their lives in immorality, hate, deception, and corruption, etc. They are the ungodly, the vile, the crooked and the criminal.
In this Biblical context, they are also the hypocritical who make a profession of faith in God, but yet work against him, and not for him. This is not to say that all who are true Christians never sin. We do, but it should not define us, nor should it be our lifestyle, for if we walk according to our flesh, we will die without Christ, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (See: Ro. 8:1-14; cf. Ro. 6:1-23). Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives for the sake of Christ, i.e. if we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, then our lives will be saved for eternity (Lu. 9:23-25).
The hypocritical wicked who are spoken of in this psalm are those like the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day. They clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. They make pretenses of righteousness and holiness, but it is just a cover-up for greed, immorality and all manner of evil. Among these hypocritical liars are various church goers, preachers and politicians who claim Christianity as their religion, but whose lifestyles and words speak just the opposite.
According to Wikipedia, there are 230 million Christians here in the USA, which represents over 70% of our population. So, if you are a politician in America, and you want to get the majority of the votes in an election, you just might be working a scheme to appeal to the Christian community, and you might even claim to be a Christian just to get elected.
As well, “church” has become big business in our society today, because it is just like any other business selling a product and marketing that product to its customer base, in hopes that the populace will choose their place of business over all competitors. The church has also become a social club and a place to go for good clean family entertainment. People from all walks of life gather together in “churches” to hear a good band play, to enjoy clean entertainment, to listen to feel-good messages (pep talks), and to make friends. So, preachers may be guilty of making a profession of Christ just to build their businesses, all the while they are manipulating the people and are using them, in many cases, to make names for themselves.
But, even though these hypocritical liars profess to know God/Christ, their hearts are far from him. They hate Jesus’ instructions. Well, they hate the messages they don’t like, but will accept the ones that sound good to their itching ears. They pick out a few verses out of the Bible, out of context, in order to build their doctrine of salvation, while ignoring the bulk of teaching on salvation in scripture, because those scriptures don’t fit with their theology. Thus, they water down the gospel to make it more appealing to human flesh, and they teach that God does not require anything of us – no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Christ and to his cross. To them, “faith” in Jesus is just words someone utters in a prayer, which is repeated word-for-word after someone else, after which they congratulate him or her that they now have heaven guaranteed to them, no matter how they live from this point forward.
They also bring God down to our level, as though he is altogether like us. In other words, they humanize God, and they lessen his power, rule, authority, sovereignty and divine nature in order to make him more like Santa Claus, or like a doting grandfather in the sky there to grant our every request, but who will never be angry with us, and who will never discipline us, but who will delight in us even when we are in the process of rebelling against him.
This is what is being taught in many Christian circles, that you can “believe” in Jesus, and have the hope of heaven when you die, but that God requires nothing of you, and he is delighted in you and is pleased with you even when you are rebelling against him and/or are living hypocritical confessions of Christ while you despise his instructions and reject his discipline. But, they are wrong. This is not what scripture teaches. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return.
Who Honors God? (vv. 22-23)
“Now consider this, you who forget God,
Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.
“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.”
Those who think they can claim Christianity and faith in Jesus all the while they continue to live in sin and do as they please need to know that scripture teaches that if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (wickedness), we are liars and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6). If we walk according to our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins, without God, and without hope. We will spend eternity in the fires of hell (or the lake of fire), and we will not see heaven at all. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (Ro. 8:1-14; cf. Ro. 6:1-23). Jesus died in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who have not professed Christ only, but who conduct our lives according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. We who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God.
When we truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). The old has gone. The new has come. When we were slaves to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness, but now that we have become obedient to death to sin, we are slaves of righteousness. This is our sacrifice of thanksgiving to God for what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins. We give of ourselves to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our reasonable and acceptable (to God) worship of God.
As well, we are no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are transformed of the Spirit of God away from sinful lifestyles, to living and walking in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. This is why Jesus died, and this is the true meaning of salvation, that he saved us not just from the penalty of sin, but that he saved us from slavery to sin and he freed us to walk daily in his righteousness and holiness, all in the power and strength of His Spirit now living within us, and all for his glory and praise. Amen!
For Our Nation / An Original Work / September 11, 2012
Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.
Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.