Sunday, November 6, 2016, 8:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 130 (NIV).
There is Forgiveness (vv. 1-4)
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Literally, this should read: “If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” The phrase, “mark iniquities” was not clear to me as to its meaning, so I chose the NIV translation, instead, which says, “kept a record of sins.” Yet, does God keep a record of sins committed? Yes, he does:
“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” (Rev. 20:12).
So, then, I looked at what some commentators said concerning verse 3, and I read this: “If you, Lord, should observe them accurately, and punish them severely, as they deserve. Who shall stand in thy presence, or at thy tribunal? No man can acquit himself, or escape the sentence of condemnation, because all men are sinners” (Matthew Poole’s Commentary).
So, it isn’t that God doesn’t keep a record of sins. He does. The point of the statement, I believe, is that if God did not provide a way for us to be forgiven of our sins, who could stand? If he did not provide a way to have our records expunged, who could stand? We couldn’t, because we are not able to acquit ourselves, because not one of us could ever be perfect. Not one of us could obey the law with sinless perfection, which is why Jesus had to die for our sins, so that he would take the punishment for us, so that we could go free from both the punishment of and slavery to sin. Amen!
So, how does this work exactly? Well, when Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on the cross for our sins, he who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). So, what does that mean? It means that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). When he died, our sins also died with him, and were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, though, our sins remained buried. He rose victorious over hell, Satan, death and sin, for our sake. Amen! So, does that mean that everyone is now saved from sin, and none of us have to give an account to God for our sins? No!
We have to believe on Jesus for our salvation, and for forgiveness of sins. So, how do we do that? Well, the Bible says we have to repent of our sins. We have to turn away from living sinful lifestyles, and we have to turn to God/Jesus, to follow him in obedience. When Jesus called Paul to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, he gave him this commission:
“I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (See: Ac. 26:16-18).
When we truly put our trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives, we are, in essence, turned from darkness (sin) to light (righteousness), and from the power Satan had over our lives in holding us in bondage to sin, to God/Jesus, to now walk in his righteousness. Through this heart transformation of the Spirit of God, in which we cooperate fully with God’s work of grace, we are, thus, forgiven of our sins and we are given a place among those who are sanctified (made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ. Believing in Jesus means 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” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14).
I Put my Hope (vv. 5-6)
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, he gives us the promise of life everlasting with him. He promises us that one day our toil here on this earth will be over, and we will no longer suffer temptation to sin, sickness, sadness, pain, decay and death. He is preparing for us a heavenly home, and glorified bodies, which will not be like these fleshly bodies in which we now live. There will be no sin or wickedness where we are going. Everything will be glorious! Righteousness will reign supreme! Amen! We will be with our Lord face-to-face for eternity, which has no end. One day, if we do not die first, Jesus will return for us who are his followers, and we will be forever with the Lord. In that, we rest our confidence.
In the meanwhile, while we wait for our Lord’s return, we walk in his Spirit, and we do not gratify the cravings of our sinful flesh. We walk by faith, and not by sight. We enjoy sweet fellowship with our Lord each day in the reading of his Word, in listening to what he says to us, and in doing what he tells us to do. We talk with him in prayer, and we bring all our requests before him. We give him praise, thanksgiving, honor, respect and reverence for all that he is, and for all that he has done for us in saving us from our sins, and in keeping us in his love and care, here on the earth, until we reach our heavenly home. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his soon return (See: Tit. 2:11-14).
Full Redemption (vv. 7-8)
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
This was a promise of Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah and Lord, who would one day redeem them from all their sins. That day has come and gone. Jesus Christ, God the Son, gave his life up for us to buy (purchase) us back for God with his blood, which was shed on a cross for our sins. So, why did we need to be bought back (redeemed)? Because the first man Adam sinned against God, thus all humans since that time have borne the image of Adam, and are born sinners (See: Rom. 3:23; Ro. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-22, 42-49). And, we all come up short of attaining God’s divine approval, because we are all sinners. So, Jesus Christ died on a cross so that we could be restored to fellowship with God, be forgiven of our sins, and have the hope of eternal life with God from this point on and forevermore.
So, this is a call now for all people everywhere to put their hope in the Lord, so that they might be saved from their sins, be delivered out of slavery to sin, have the hope of eternal life with God, and walk (conduct their lives) now in his righteousness and holiness, for that is why he died.
We must come to God with humble hearts, accept his gift of salvation from sin, turn from our wicked ways, and turn to follow him in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives. For, if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity. But, if we willingly die with Christ to sin (lose our lives), we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). So, if we walk (conduct our lives) according to our flesh, we will die without Christ in our sins, 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). If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6). A saved life is a life that is crucified with Christ in death to sin, and is resurrected with Christ to newness of life, to be lived to him and to his righteousness.
Will you today, if you have not already done so, believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of your life? Will you forsake your sinful lifestyle, and follow him in obedience, and in surrender to his will? Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to our sinful flesh, but who walk according to the Spirit. Will you love Jesus by following him in death to sin, and will you live for him by walking in his righteousness? – all in the power, working and strength of God’s Holy Spirit, who lives within those of us who believe in Jesus Christ.
My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon
My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.