We Never Move On
Most 21st-century Western people would say that human beings are, overall, good.
One day’s worth of news, however, will quickly call such a notion into question. And one day in our own company should also undermine the claim. For, if we’re completely honest, we must admit that our own hearts are unruly and out of control—and popular solutions to this problem, such as greater education or changes to social circumstances, never seem to fix things. Humanity continues to be a mess.
When we turn to the Bible, we discover an ugly truth about ourselves: the reason we feel alienated from the people around us—the reason I sometimes feel alienated from myself—is because we’re alienated from God. Our horizontal alienation is indicative of a far more serious vertical alienation. God made us so that we might have a relationship with Him, yet our minds are turned away from Him. We don’t think of Him. We don’t love Him. We don’t even look for Him.
There is, however, good news. As followers of Christ, while we were once wasting away, we’ve now been renewed. We were alienated, but now we’ve been reconciled. We lived in a dark place, and now we’ve been brought into the light. We were trapped, and now we’ve been set free. We were dead, and now we’ve been made alive with Christ. That’s the experience of those who know God as He has revealed Himself through His word.
This transformation isn’t simply the result of a decision to revamp life. At some point, most of us have thought, “I’m turning over a new leaf and making a change. I’m going to be more thankful this year than I was last year.” And good! There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Our friends and family would probably be thrilled to hear it. That alone is not the end goal for a Christian though. Rather, change in the Christian’s life is motivated and initiated by the saving grace of God. We go on as we began: by grace.
The good news of the gospel is the fact that Jesus of Nazareth came on our behalf to bring an end to our alienation. He, and He alone, has done what we most need but could not do for ourselves. So the call to us is very simple: to “continue in the faith … not shifting from … the gospel.” We never need to move on from the simple gospel of Christ crucified, risen, and reigning; in fact, we dare not. And yet how easy it is for us to grow cold to these truths; for familiarity to breed if not contempt, then complacency. So consider your heart honestly. Acknowledge your sin. And come back to the gospel once more, in awe “that thou, my God, shouldst die for me.”
Blessed Are the Forgiven
A Maskil1 of David.
1Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up2 as by the heat of summer. Selah
5I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
8I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
10Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Get the Program, Devotional, and Bible Reading Plan delivered daily right to your inbox.