By Henry Law
We are taught the blessedness of sin's pardon through the faith of Christ. O Lord, give us this blessing, and we shall be blessed!
1, 2. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit."
If he alone was blessed whom no sin had ever stained, this world would have a wretched doom! If he alone was blessed, whose feet had never strayed from godly ways, where could we hide our heads? But blessedness belongs to the transgressor PARDONED--to the sinner, whose sins are no more seen by God--to the guilty, to whose account the guilt is no more reckoned. We are transgressors, we are sinners, we are deep-steeped in guilt. Is this blessedness given to us?
Yes, truly, if through grace we have received Christ. There is redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of all our sins. His cross redeems from transgression, iniquity, and sin. His beautiful righteousness so hides all guilt, that God's omniscient eye no more discerns it. His blood wipes out all record of iniquity. For the believer's sins may be searched for, but they shall not be found. Such blessedness is the fruit of faith. Oh, precious grace! Blessed are those to whom it is freely given! From faith's deep roots all virtuous blossoms spring. The honest mind, the truthful heart, the honest purpose, are pre-eminently its fruits.
3, 4. "When I kept silence, my bones grew old, through my groaning all the day long; for day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my moisture was turned into the drought of summer."
Great is the anguish of the soul, when first the Spirit reveals sin. Day brings no joy, and night supplies no ease. An intolerable burden oppresses the mind. This is the Lord's hand. Thus He shakes from security's delusive pillow. Thus He directs the footsteps to the cross. But until Christ is seen, what misery is undergone! Feverish heat dries up the pores. The frame is parched, as plains beneath the sultry sun. The body weakens; the bones are tottering as in extreme old age; the howls of grief betray the tortured mind.
5. "I acknowledge my sin to You, and I have not hidden my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin."
At length relief is found. God is revealed as pardoning all sin in Christ. The glories of the saving cross are shown. The contrite sinner flies in haste. He lies in deep humility. He pours out every secret of his melted heart. He recounts the train of life-long iniquity; He confesses, "Thus and thus have I done." The mass is mountain-high. The stain is deeper than the scarlet-dye. The language of the cross is heard--all is forgiven! all is blotted out!
6. "For this shall every one that is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come near him." Because God is a God ready to forgive, His people throng the mercy-seat. If no mercy could be found, no prayers would plead. But no delays may check. Now God extends the scepter of His grace. But the morrow may proclaim, 'Too late.' Prayer brings security. Floods of trouble may rush in from all sides, but the godly are borne above all in a peaceful ark. A fiery deluge soon will drown the world; but the fierce billows will not reach the ransomed of the Lord.
7. "You are my hiding-place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall compass me about with songs of deliverance."
No trouble can touch those who are securely hidden in God. The preserved shall dwell amid incessant songs. And every song shall testify, "You have delivered us from the wrath to come!"
8, 9. "I will instruct you, and teach you in the way which you shall go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near you."
At each moment we lack wisdom. At each moment God waits to guide. We have large promises. Let us largely plead them. If our eyes are turned to Him, in His eye we shall read His will. Let us with all docility obey. The beasts give warning. Sharp discipline restrains the senseless and the stubborn.
10, 11. "Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, you righteous, and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart."
Many sorrows now--many sorrows forever, must be the sinner's doom. The mouth of the Lord has spoken it. Justice demands it.
In contrast view the faithful. Mercy precedes them. Mercy follows them. Mercy gleams on their right hand. Mercy smiles on their left. They dwell in mercy, and God's mercy is salvation.
We cannot ponder too much the character of God's people. They are righteous. They are sincere. As such they have a right to joy. But all their joy has Jesus as its source. SELF only awakens grief and contempt. But they rejoice in the Lord, and in His finished work. May this delight be ever ours.