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.”
In New Testament times, God the Father sent his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to the earth to be born as a human baby to a human mother, conceived of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ lived on this earth as both fully God and fully man. And during his 3 years of ministry on the earth he performed many miracles. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered people from demons, fed the hungry, and he comforted the sorrowful.
[Jesus Christ is God: Heb 1:8-9; Jn 1:1-18; Jn 8:24,58; Jn 10:30-33; Col 2:9; Tit 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1; Rom 9:5; Jn 20:28-29]
But Jesus wasn’t on this earth just to be a good deed doer. He began his ministry with the message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). And to repent is not merely to have a change of mind, but it is to have a change of heart, to turn away from our lives of sin to now follow Jesus Christ with our lives. It is like making a spiritual U-turn in a road. We were walking one direction, and now we are going the other way.
[Matt 3:8; Matt 11:20-21; Matt 12:41; Matt 21:28-31; Mk 1:15; Lu 5:32; Lu 13:3; Lu 15:2-8; Lu 24:47; Acts 3:19; Acts 5:30-31; Acts 8:22; Acts 11:17-18; Acts 17:30-31; Acts 20:21; Acts 26:20; Rom 2:4; 2 Co 7:8-10; 2 Co 12:21; 2 Tim 2:24-26; 2 Pet 3:9; Rev 2:5; Rev 2:16; Rev 3:19, etc.]
And Jesus taught that we must follow him with our lives if we want to have eternal life with God and salvation from sin. And he said that if we want to follow him that we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. He made it quite clear that there is a cost to following him with our lives, and it involves death to self and making him the Lord and Master of our lives, and then following him in obedience.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 10:37-38; Lu 9:23-26,57-62; Lu 14:25-33; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 8:51; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; See also: Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
But even though Jesus was God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – not many recognized him as such, and not many followed him in truth with a desire to forsake their lives of sin and to follow him in obedience. And many of the rulers in the temple of God hated him and fought against him continually, and eventually they had him put to death on a cross. But God the Father raised him from the dead.
Now this was in God’s plan that Jesus should die on that cross, for in his death he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our bodies (2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20).
So, when we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, which requires God-given faith, which is not of our own doing, but which is a gift of God, this is not just about escaping hell and getting a free ticket into heaven. This is about having transformed lives of the Spirit of God away from living in sin and for self to now walking in holiness and righteousness, in obedience to our Lord, in the power of God’s Spirit living within us (Eph 2:8-10; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2).
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.”
But in our day and time, at least here in America, the people who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives have largely gotten away from the teachings on repentance and obedience and the cost of following Jesus with our lives. And they have largely diluted the gospel to make it nothing more than a verbal acknowledgment of him or a verbal profession of faith in him which requires no repentance and no obedience – no changed lives.
And this is because so many people who call themselves pastors of churches and ministers of the gospel are not teaching the true gospel of Christ, but they are teaching a gospel of men. They are not teaching commitment to Christ but to men. They are not honoring God, but they are honoring men. And they are not looking to please God but to please all humankind.
Their concept of God’s grace is for him to merely forgive us our sins so that when we die we get to go to heaven and to escape hell. But God’s grace, which brings salvation, trains us to renounce (to say “No!” to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. For Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:10).
But sadly what most are teaching is a “fast food” gospel to get people “saved” so that when they die they go to heaven. And they will even coddle the people in their sins by calling sin something less than what it is, like “I messed up,” as though all one did was spill a glass of milk. But the Scriptures do not deal with sin lightly. They teach that if we continue in sin, in deliberate and habitual sin, and if sin is our practice, and if obedience to God and righteous living are not what we practice, that we will not inherit eternal life with God, and Jesus is going to say, “I never knew you!”
[Matt 7:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10, etc.]
And so the vast majority of those professing faith in Jesus Christ today, at least here in America, are in great need of revival and/or of genuine salvation to begin with. And the bulk of the church here in America definitely needs revived and restored to God for they have gotten so far away from the Lord and from the Scriptures and from what Jesus taught about himself and what is required of us if we are to be his followers.
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.”
But when you come to genuine faith in Jesus Christ, and you do repent of your sins, and you do follow the Lord in obedience, know that you must continue in this walk of faith steadfast to the end if you want to be saved from your sins and to have eternal life with God. So guard your hearts and your minds against going back to living in sin, for our Lord’s salvation is near for all who fear him, who honor him with our lives, who forsake our sinful practices, and who follow our Lord in obedience to his commands.
[Rom 8:24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 2:24-25]
Be with Me, Lord
By Thomas O Chisholm
Be with me, Lord – I cannot live without THEE,
I dare not try to take one step alone.
I cannot bear the loads of life, unaided,
I need THY strength to lean myself upon.
Be with me Lord, and then if dangers threaten,
If storms of trial burst above my head,
If lashing seas leap ev’rywhere about me,
They cannot harm, or make my heart afraid.
Be with me Lord! No other gift or blessing
THOU COULDST bestow could with this one compare –
A constant sense of THY abiding presence,
Where’er I am, to feel that THOU ART near.
Be with me, Lord, when loneliness o’ertakes me,
When I must weep amid the fires of pain,
And when shall come the hour of “my departure”
For “worlds unknown,” O Lord, be with me then.
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