An Open Book

As we prepare ourselves to enter Gods house and worship Him there with His Church, it is important we come with a true heart. All week we sin against our neighbor and God, yet Sunday morning we easily walk into Church with no thought of those sins or we hide them. God knows our hearts and he knows our sins. He doesn’t ignore them and neither should we.

Isaiah 29:15, 16 says: “Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” In verse 15 God gives us a warning  against thinking we can bury our guilt and sin. Perhaps we may succeed in hiding our sins from our brothers and sisters around us but we can never hide them from God. We are created by him and he knows all our inward thoughts and desires. When we come to worship him on Sunday then, He does not turn a blind eye to our sin and only see us setting aside our week’s work and coming to worship him as He has commanded us to in His Word.

Job 34:21, 22 tells us, speaking about God, “For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” God knows the works of all men, whether they are elect or reprobate, yet we, God’s people, have a hope and assurance which the wicked do not have. God gives us this comfort in Psalm 103:10-13. “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, [so] great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”

Before we enter Gods house tomorrow, let’s remember our sins and ask God’s forgiveness for them. With this clear conscience we can join our brothers and sisters in Christ on Sunday morning, knowing our sins are forgiven. We can go before God with a confidence given us by Him.

Kate Doezema

Help for the Destroyed Christian

Hosea 13:9-10 – “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.  I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?”

Think back on your recent behavior.  What have you allowed yourself to be ruled by?  Maybe you have become a bit too interested in making another dollar, driven almost solely by a desire to obtain greater wealth.  Or have you gone out of your way to attract attention, constantly seeking validation from those around you and wanting nothing more than to be accepted?  Has a longing to escape the boredom or the trouble of life led you to the sin of drunkenness?

We all do this.  Whether it is greed, excessive desire for popularity, alcoholism, or any other besetting sin, it makes no difference.  None of these things can save us.  All are sinful and temporary – “vanity,” as Solomon might say.  Yet we have no qualms about making these sinful behaviors our idols; we reject our true King and turn to our own devices.  This is what Hosea means earlier in the chapter when he writes that we have made “idols according to [our] own understanding” (verse 2).  The verses leading up to verse 9 make this a frightening passage for the unrepentant sinner.  God reveals that He “will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them” (verse 8).  Thinking about such things is enough to bring us to our knees in shame and sorrow.  We confess that Hosea’s words apply to us as much as they did to Israel, if not more so.  We often have refused to repent and have tried to make our own decisions, choosing sin over God, destroying ourselves in the process.

But fret not, fellow Christian – in the midst of these clear reprimands and warnings, there is hope for the child of God.  That hope is God Himself, as is laid out in verse 9 – “[He] is thine help.”  Let us not collapse to our knees in self-pity, but in total confession to God of our own short-comings, acknowledging our complete reliance on the redemptive work of Christ.  Having done so, let us ascend to the house of God tomorrow with joy; we may have spent the last six days destroying ourselves, but in the end, it matters not for the redeemed.  Regardless of who or what you may have made your King as of late, the true King reigns, and by His work, we are made whole.  Our help is in Him; thanks be to God!

Matt Koerner

Samples From Seminary – Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs

1 Corinthians 13 contains the beautiful and poetic depiction of love. Among the various descriptions of love, we read in verse 5 that charity…“thinketh no evil” (KJV).

I forget how it came up at seminary, but it was pointed out that the original Greek verb that is translated in KJV as “thinketh” means “to count” or “to take into account.” The idea is this: love keeps no record of wrongs. In other words, love does not count or keep track of the evils that an individual suffers.

To use an illustration, love does not maintain an account book, in which every wrong committed against us is entered on the debit side, with the expectation that the person who wronged us must somehow repay us in order to make an entry on the credit side. Love does not keep such records of the evils that are committed against us.

It is important to keep this in mind since we are called to love our neighbor. Even though they sin against us, we ought not keep track of such evils with the expectation that they must somehow pay us back.

You may retort: “How is it possible to do this? If only you knew what kind of evils and wrongs have been done to me. I can’t help but keep track of them!”

Well, the power to keep no record of the wrongs committed against us comes from the cross of Jesus Christ. I hope you don’t think this is simply the generic answer to the question: “how is it possible to do this?” It is the answer. But, I bring it up for good reason.

Namely, the Greek verb that has just been explained as meaning “to count” or “to take into account,” is same verb used to describe the pardoning act of God: he does not impute to us the guilt of our sins, but rather imputes to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That’s right, impute is another way to translate this verb. Think, for example, of Psalm 32:2 –  “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity.” Jehovah God’s account book with your name on it has no debts recorded.  How is that possible? Because the righteousness of Jesus Christ has been imputed to us. God counts his righteousness as our righteousness.

Beloved, since God has so loved us, we ought also to love each other in this same way: keeping no record of the wrongs and evils committed against us.

Matt Kortus