A totally Christian Church
Seeing things through different eyes
12th Aug 2018
It was a joy to spend some time with old friends (I mean those who we have known for many years) in their home in Scotland recently, and to talk back over many years, our children, wider families, work, ministries, travels, and everything. It was a quite spontaneous visit, we had no plans to go anywhere, least of all 400+ miles up the road.
But what a summer we've had here in England. So, so hot.
It was refreshing to see grey skies and feel lower temperatures, and some rain. But it was still very good for a British summer. It was good to see the mountains and scenery again, it’s still there even after all these years.
We also met up with our dear friend Ian White, the musician who so brilliantly set many of the Psalms to music in the 80s and 90’s, (Check them out on iTunes) and to hear of his continuing ministry. He says “Hi” to all at the River who remember him.
Psalm 130 is the one I'm thinking of as I write this weeks thought, from the New Living Translation
1 From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for YOUR help. 2 Hear my cry, O LORD. Pay attention to my prayer. 3 LORD, if YOU kept a record of our sins, who, O LORD, could ever survive? 4 But YOU offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear YOU. 5 I am counting on the LORD ; yes, I am counting on HIM. I have put my hope in HIS word. 6 I long for the LORD more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn. 7 O Israel, hope in the LORD ; for with the LORD there is unfailing love. HIS redemption overflows. 8 HE himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.
We all need to feel safe and secure, accepted and valued. Who else can we turn to but the LORD for this, for HE alone can sets us free from all that would unsettle us and make unsafe, insecure, rejected and despised.
The LORD JESUS alone can do this, because HE has been there, HE was subjected to all of this and more - for US. It is our wonderful LORD JESUS, hidden in this Psalm, a 1000 years before HE was born of Mary, in Bethlehem.
Read it again and look at verses three and four in particular. The writer speaks of sin and guilt and all that it can make us feel, the regret, shame, pain, fear, and then the realisation that GOD has wiped away the writers sin - totally and fully forgiven!
At first glance, absolutely anyone reading this could claim that GOD forgives all the sins of all people, that HE turns a blind eye, and keeps no record of wrongs, and all is blotted out.
Not so, for this Psalm was written as a song by one who ‘knew GOD very well’ and ‘lived daily in HIS ways and standards’. This is the key.
Yes forgiveness is there to be received and enjoyed, BUT only for those who humble themselves and plead for HIS mercy and HIS forgiveness through HIS blood sacrifice on the cross.
This is the true gospel of the love of GOD our SAVIOUR LORD JESUS
For those who fail to do this the reality is that GOD does keep a record of our sins pending the judgment HE warns us of
Face the fact that HE does keep the score.
Understand the HE see and hears everything.
Be prepared for the penalties of all recorded sins.
Get ready to spend eternity away from GOD and all the who genuinely love HIM.
As apostle Paul wrote to the Christian church in Ephesus nearly 2000 years ago:
Ephesians 2:4-10 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 But GOD is so rich in mercy, and HE loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, HE gave us life when HE raised CHRIST from the dead. (It is only by GOD’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For HE raised us from the dead along with CHRIST and seated us with HIM in the heavenly realms because we are united with CHRIST JESUS 7 So GOD can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of HIS grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all HE has done for us who are united with CHRIST JESUS.
8 GOD saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from GOD. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are GOD’s masterpiece. HE has created us anew in CHRIST JESUS, so we can do the good things HE planned for us long ago.