August 2007

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” Psa.25:14

To understand the secret things of the LORD, we must fear him. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Pro.1:7

“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” Isa.28:9-10

“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Pro.2:1-6

Jeremiah 3:12-15 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

The scriptures make it plain that all people are sinners and sinners have a death sentence against them (Rom.3:23, 5:12-14, 6:23 et. al.). Sin is simply the transgression of God’s law (1Jn.3:4), however small or great.

Notice that God issues the call of repentance to Israel, and if they would simply repent he would withhold his anger and be merciful to them. So it is with us today when we are not walking uprightly before God. When you hear the gospel preached and realize that you are a filthy sinner, a rebellious and disobedience child walking in darkness, you should REPENT and be baptized, and God will be merciful to you. You cannot wash away your own sins, but Jesus Christ did wash away the sins of all of his people and those who believe that and turn from their wicked ways manifest that they are the children of God for whom he died.
Israel had committed adultery with other gods (vv.1-11) but if they would just repent God would be merciful to them. The first call of the gospel is REPENT. God is more interested in obedience than he is in sacrifice (1Sa.15:22; Heb.10:5-6). To offer sacrifices to the Lord in the hopes that he’ll overlook our continued transgression will certainly not appease him. He does not want 98% obedience anymore than he wants 50% obedience. He does not give us his commandments and say, pick eight of these ten and obey them. He does not say, obey me most of the time. He does not say, obey me when you think it’s best. He does not say, obey me when it’s convenient. He did not tell the apostles to preach most of what he taught them. He does not want us to be faithful to our spouse most of the time. God demands perfect obedience! If you fail to keep one of the least of his commandments you have failed to keep God’s law and you deserve to die (Rom.6:23). God doesn’t take it lightly and neither should we.

God sacrificed his only begotten Son to save us from our sins. Did you get that? He had his own son killed so that you wouldn’t have to be! Did you get that? He had him brutally slain, hung up alive on a cross in public with sinners, mocked and ridiculed until he breathed his last. Did you get that? GOD, manifest in the flesh, hung up with sinners and left to die. Why? Why? Why would Almighty God allow such a terrible thing to happen to his own son who had never done anything wrong, never transgressed a single commandment, never had even a single wicked thought? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn.3:16) But why did he love us, when even all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa.64:6) and in our best state we are altogether vanity (Ps.39:5)? He chose us “according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Eph.1:5-6)

God didn’t have to save a single one of us. He would have been perfectly justified to condemn us all to hell — that is what we deserve. But one of the characteristics of God is grace and his election and adoption of sinners is to the praise of the glory of his grace. Quite simply, God is glorified in his electing grace.

To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.