This week I have spent a few days "alone," far away from home. The idea was to get away from the normalcy and routine of life in order to listen to God for a while. It is amazing how much clarity can come from solitude. I posted some random thoughts the other day, but there is one recurring truth that keeps coming to me again and again, and I need to share a bit more about it. Before I do, read Palm 51 for me ...
Psalm 51 is one of the most popular songs from David. See if any of this sounds familiar:
- "Create in me a clean heart, O God" (vs. 10)
- "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation" (vs. 12
- "My sacrifice, O God, isa broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise." (vs. 17)
Great verses, all of them, but there are 3 words that have thundered through my heart the last few days:
- "According to"
It is really easy to rush past these words in the first few verses of Psalm 51, but don't do it. These two words are the essence of the Gospel (that will be the next post). Read it again...
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions."
According to your unfailing love. According to your great compassion. Not according to what I've done. Not according to what I've earned. Not according to me at all. In fact, according to absolutely nothing I can ever say, do, or be, but according to YOUR unfailing love and great compassion.
For us, that's the Gospel. That's everything. God's kindness is so great, His compassion so immense, His love is so wide and high and deep and long. According to what HE has done; according to who HE is. It is only according to God's character that we can be forgiven ... made pure ... be redeemed. (The word used for "pure" in Hebrew literally means "un-sin." How cool is that?! God makes us "un-sin.") Put simply, the Gospel begins with God's character and ends with God's action - His compassion causes Him to make us "un-sin," or pure.
So according to who He is, we are given a new, clean heart. The joy of salvation is restored to us. The presence of the Holy Spirit is graciously given to us. This leads to the next word:
"Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you." - Psalm 51:13
Because of who you are, because of what you've done, as a response to You, THEN, I will act. I will proclaim. I will praise. I will tell everyone about who you are and what you've done! Because of your Gospel, I vow to praise you through action.
So here's how this works for me:
- I can continue to try to manufacture redemption through my efforts, or I can accept purity according to His character.
- I can sit on redemption and do nothing with the Gospel, or I can live a "then" faith that puts the Gospel in action.
- I can continue to think that the Gospel only saves me and miss out on the truth that it also sanctifies me, or I can grab hold of the Gospel with both hands and let it consume every part of my life.
- I can put my confidence in this life, or I can put my confidence in Christ.
What about you? Where is the Gospel in your life?