Antinomy-Psalm 53

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and vile; there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on God. But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread. God scattered the bones of those who attacked you; you put them to shame, for God despised them. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

Antinomy Are you ok with contradiction? Actually, let me put it this way, are you ok with a life that can’t seem to escape contradiction? I can remember when I used to think (my early version of Christianity when I was a whipper-snapper) that life was black and white and that being a Christian meant being good (not-a-sinner) unnamed-3while being a sinner meant, well, just that, being a sinner. But as I grow and understand God’s story better I now see that the problem for many of us is not that the world isn’t black and white but that we can’t fit ourselves into finished categories of what we wish we were or could potentially be. Typically, we don’t like contradiction. We don’t like to think about what we wish we were and then act another way. We don’t like the fact that we would love to do what our hearts love to do, but at the same time make our hearts want what we know that we should do (ummm, ok, if you got that then just wink twice and move on). When I look at a donut, I want it! But what I would love is to make my heart not want it so that I don’t actually eat it. But alas, I eat it. Again and again and again. Confession As I grow to understand Hebrews 10:14 better, “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” I am thankful for the antinomy, the seemingly contradictions of life. As Paul says in Romans 7, “I don’t do what I so desperately want to do!” Ever feel this way? Grasping the gospel is being ok with confession. Grasping the gospel is being ok with not being ok. That doesn’t mean that we get to act like the fool who says, “there is no God.” but it does mean that we are thankful that the essence of grace is that we are given what we so desperately can’t get on our own. For there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! Salvation for a Reason In verse 6 here in Psalm 53 we are reminded that we are saved for a reason. “Oh that salvation for Israel would come from Zion! When God restores his people…” We are both, made perfect and are being made perfect. Our salvation is a gift which restores us to God, by the blood of Christ and this gift of life also works to perfect us even now as we are in the body. We grow and learn and understand that there are times of desperation and unbelief and there are times of great joy and obedience knowing that salvation has come from Zion! We are not overwhelmed with dread because, though yet we are fools, and turn from God, corrupt and vile, we are restored! What grace and beauty comes from this gospel of salvation for those who are in Christ! We don’t have to look at our lives as if we are accepted by God one day and then not the next. The contradiction we feel is good because what it means is that we care about and confess our unbelief and rebellion. As we live in the body, what we do in the body matters and has consequences, but we remember that Christ has redeemed us! Salvation has come from Zion and we are restored and are being restored. We are faithless, yet full of faith. We are broken, yet not broke. We are sinners but not lost to sin. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. We are free, but are learning to live in this freedom. In the meantime… Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad! Salvation has come from Zion! soli deo gloria

Forgiveness-Psalm 32

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night you hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with the songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule who have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart.

Fear of Exposure

Growing up I was always afraid that I was lukewarm in my faith in Jesus (enter spitting sound…now). He gave himself for me and I don’t even want to sing the hymns at church! Well, It was true, I was 574447_10151482366557962_655928704_nlukewarm. But worse than not liking to sing the church hymns, (I’d rather have sung Bon Jovi…hey Bon Jovi even lived on a prayer…am I right?…ok I’ll stop) I didn’t feel like God liked me. I knew that I had sin, but I just couldn’t get it right! Wasn’t that the point of being a Christian? Getting it right so that God would now at least like me?

The affect that this belief had on my heart was that when I did sin I certainly couldn’t tell anyone. Fear of exposure became my worst nightmare. Fearing that we are alone in our sin and struggles leaves us abandoned to isolation, or as the Psalmist puts it “day and night your hand was heavy on me…” And Jesus’ words in John 9:41 remind us that our guilt remains if we claim that we don’t have sin. Truly, confession is still incredibly difficult. I don’t want to, but need to come clean. Confession of sin and exposure to the Lord, and sometimes to friends, what is going on in my heart is essential for growth in Christ.

2 Truths and A Promise

These 2 things are true about sin in scripture, 1. all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and 2. everyone needs forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). I don’t like to confess sin. I don’t like to go to God over and over again with the same struggles. It’s not fun. But when I read Psalm 32 I’m reminded of the Grace of God found in Christ.

Blessed is the one (man in the Hebrew) whose sins are forgiven! What happens to this man if he keeps his sin to himself? The crusting weight of his isolation is too much for him. He has to tell someone. He has to tell his Lord what he has done. But in confessing his sin, he demonstrates faith in who God says he is. And with each demonstration of weakness, his faith grows.

I remember when Brady (our now 9 year-old) came to me one day with tears in his eyes. He had scratched the “treasured” minivan (not this minivan) and just couldn’t live without telling us about it. I can remember times when the guilt and conviction of sin against another person was so strong that there was no activity that I could engage in until I told them what I had done.

We practice a weekly corporate confession of sin in our worship service. It is a message to those who believe that we must take sin seriously. But this time of confession is always followed up with a wonderful promise of forgiveness. This time of confession is also for the unbeliever in our midst. It is a time for them to consider whether or not they believe that there is sin in their lives and whether they have faith to trust in Christ.

The Apostle John reminds us of this promise of forgiveness. “For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleans us form all unrighteousness.” John is repeating what the Psalmist is saying here. But from John and from Psalm 32 we are reminded of how essential it is to acknowledge our sin and then to talk to God about it.

No Blood No Forgiveness

The author of Hebrews expounds on the Old Testament laws and comments on their sacrificial practices. Hebrews reminds us that sin brings death and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sins. No matter what we do, or give up, or try to accomplish, we cannot provide for that sacrifice. The Old Testament sacrifices pointed to the One who would be sacrificed for us. We have that sacrifice in Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest.

The blessing that the Psalmist speaks of in Psalm 32 is the freedom that we have when we are bold enough to stop hiding. Every opportunity to confess what sin does to us if a equal reminder to consider what Christ has done for us.

There is no greater freedom than to be in right standing with our Creator. There is no greater freedom to know that someone fully knows us and that God our Father has forgiven our sins. Do not be the horse or the mule who gets pulled here and there acting as if nothing is wrong.

Remember that the…”Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart” Taste and see that the Lord is good!