Psalms 85:1-3 ESV
“Lord, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin. Selah
You withdrew all your wrath;
you turned from your hot anger.”
Under the New Covenant, Jesus Christ made it possible for us to have our sins forgiven and for us to escape the wrath of God. Jesus, who is God the Son, died on a cross in order to put our sin to death with him so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.
By God’s grace, through God-given faith in him, we can be saved from our slavery to sin and have eternal life with God. This faith is from God and Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith. It is not of ourselves lest we should boast. And we obtain such faith by the righteousness of God. And we can only believe in Jesus if God the Father first draws us to Christ.
[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1]
Because our faith is not of ourselves but it is of God, thus by faith in Jesus we will submit to Christ as Lord (Master), we will forsake our former lives of living in sin and for self, and we will follow Jesus in obedience to him and to his commands. It doesn’t mean we will never sin again (1 Jn 2:1-2), but it means we will no longer be enslaved to sin, under its power and control.
For, Jesus Christ did not die on that cross merely to forgive us our sins and to withdraw his wrath from us, but he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God so we would honor God with our lives.
Psalms 85:4-7 ESV
“Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.”
Many people today are professing faith in Jesus Christ who have never surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ. They have not died with Christ to sin and they are not living to Christ and to his righteousness. According to Scripture, they are not among the saved, but they are still under the wrath of God. They need to be genuinely converted to Christ.
But then there are those who did die with Christ to sin and they were living to Christ and to his righteousness, but somewhere along the way they got entrapped by the world again and they drifted away from their pure devotion to the Lord and so they need to be brought back to walking in purity of devotion to the Lord again. They need to be revived and restored.
If we have drifted away from our pure devotion to the Lord we are in a dangerous state of mind especially if we remain there. For the Scriptures are real clear that we are all going to be judged by our deeds, and if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal 6:7-8).
So, revival is not optional. It is not just a nice thought or a good idea and one that we can just dismiss and then continue on in deliberate and habitual sin. For the Scriptures are very clear on this subject, too, that if we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh that we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. So, repent and obey today!
Psalms 85:8-9 ESV
“Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.”
And here we have a warning to not return back to folly, to sin, to doing what is senseless and foolish and self-indulgent. Why? Because his salvation is near to those who fear Him. And to fear God is to honor, respect, revere, and obey him. And this is not just Old Covenant teaching, but this is New Covenant teaching, too.
So, what this is saying is that the Lord’s salvation is for those who honor, revere, respect and obey him, who make him Master of their lives and who do what he says to do. Again, this is not saying we will never sin, but that sin should no longer be our master, but now God should be our only Lord. We should no longer be enslaved to sin but now to righteousness.
For, if sin is what we practice, if we are walking in darkness (sin), if we are deliberately and habitually doing what we know is wrong, then we do not have eternal life with God but we will die in our sins because we did not die with Christ to our sins. We must walk now according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh if we want eternal life with God.
[Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co 6:9-10; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:1-17; Jn 15:1-11; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rev. 2-3; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27]
Psalms 85:10-13 ESV
“Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.”
When Jesus died for us on that cross it was so he could put sin to death in our lives so that we would no longer be slaves to sin but so that we now will be slaves of his righteousness in his power and strength. So, we are to no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. But now we are to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands.
We are to love our Lord with our whole being and to love God is to obey him. And we are to walk in righteousness and holiness, and we are to be faithful to him in all that we do. And we are to love other humans the way our Lord loves us and as we love ourselves. So, we aren’t going to deliberately and habitually sin against other humans to cause them harm.
If we truly love the Lord our God we will not be looking for loopholes to try to find ways around what the Bible teaches about sin. We will not be looking to excuse away sin or to justify habitual and deliberate sin. But our hearts will long for our Lord, and we will want to obey him, and we will want him to have mastery over our lives because we love him.
Angels We Have Heard on High
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echo back their joyous strains
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing,
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
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(Matt and Savannah Shaw, father-daughter duet)