Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Salvation is Not Through the Perfection of My Repentance, but by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus

It is not in the perfection of our repentance in which our salvation lies, any more than it is in the perfection of our faith. Rather, it is in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that our salvation lies, so it is objectively and divinely secured for us by our Savior, our Master, our God.

The reality of my soul's sin is that I am constantly finding myself trusting in things other than the Lord. I trust my intelligence, my morality, my own sense of being right, and I am always finding more contrition, more repentance, constantly turning away from putting my faith in myself. The Romans 7 reality of my struggle against the idolatry of my own heart and the sin which so easily entangles me must lead me to distrust even the perfection of my own repentance.

If I am trusting in the perfection of my repentance, where then does this lead me? Joy? Hope? No! Into utter fear and despair that my contrition might not be good enough and God's wrath may still be upon me! I am tossed about fearing that I may still not be good enough, contrite enough, repentant enough to earn God's mercy.

However, if my trust is not in the perfection of my repentance, but rather is in the death of Christ on my behalf, then I take great joy in HIS perfection of obedience and His atonement for my sins agaisnt God. HE has removed the wrath of God from me, which was justified because of my sins and has put His righteousness, the very righteousness of God, upon me. I trust in Him. God substituting Himself for sinners, of which I am coming more and more to understand my heart's propensity to join! What kind of grace is this?! Holy amazing grace of God, that You should die for me.

How vastly different from the pagan understanding of the gods is this? God appeasing His own just and righteous hatred of sin by becoming weak, so weak as to die under His own wrath. The pagan gods demanded sacrfices from humans. The biblical God demands sacrifice, and then pays it Himself!! The reality of our salvation is this concept of this self-substitution. John Stott says this,

“The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.” (taken from The Cross of Christ)

There is joy! There is freedom from fear! There is hope! Jesus is my SAVIOR! He is my SECURITY! The Cross is my righteousness and by faith I will never be turned under God's wrath. To the repentant heart, with knowledge of the severity of his sin in light of the holy justice of God, this is truly GOOD NEWS! My debt is actually paid! My sins are actually cleansed! My life is actually secure because Jesus, my God, has removed the Father's righteous wrath and made me an acceptable son.

The blood of Jesus takes my sins away (1 John 1:7)!! Praise Jesus for His immeasurable kindness and unfathomable love!

Hebrews 10:19-22
"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."

Let us draw near to the Lord with great hope and assurance that Jesus has opened the way for us into the holy place of the Father. Draw near to Him, for He has drawn near to you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Meditation on Psalm 32

Happy is the forgiven sinner who knows he's a sinner and knows that he is forgiven! There is no joy like the guilty shown mercy, the prisoner set free, the condemned delivered justly!

Happy is the man who has seen his iniquity and has not deceived himself about it. He has felt its weight and its severity. He hates it within himself and knows that God is righteous in judgment and holy in all His ways. He is not self-deceived, but grieves in reality, and then has found the LORD has not counted it against him! Mercy strong and vast and free!

SELF_DECEPTION: Hiding my sin consumed me and stole my joy. It sapped my strength and my soul wasted away. My life's juices dried up like a peach in the summer heat. The dryness of death overtook me. Wrinkled woe wasted up my thoughts in tossings upon my bed. My soul did not rest because of my sin hidden from You.

REPENTANCE: I declared my sin to you, and did not hide my iniquity any longer. I came clean concerning the hideous hidden sins and the destructive way of my own will. I will confess my transgressions to the LORD and you lifted up the inquity of my sin. You lifted up Your Son in the place of my sin! MY sin. Hidden no longer, Your holy light illumined the Cross and I weep in joyful sorrow.

RESTORATION: I can hide in you, O Lord. You are the stable rock of preservation and deliverance. We should cry out to You at all times, while we still have days on earth. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

ADMONITION: The Lord instructs me. He guides me in the way. I come to Him as the learner, the weak one, the ignorant, and the broken-hearted over my sin. He calls me to learn without stubbornness and insistence on MY way, as if I needed a bit and bridle to be turned from my rebellion. I don't want to be a stubborn beast, a brute to You. I want to follow Your ways, and not be turned by discipline and judgment. How good to me You are. Oh, so good. Lead me in Your ways and I will follow You all the days of my life.

REJOICE: Rejoice, you righteous! Be glad and sing for joy for you have been redeemed from your sins! The salvation of the LORD of all the Universe has come to meet you in your brokenness! Be glad for He has made you clean! Repent and Rejoice for the Lord is near to the contrite and dwells with the lowly in spirit!