The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 28:11-20 The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him. When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, But when the wicked rise, men hide themselves. He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people. A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days. A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him. He who walks blamelessly will be delivered, But he who is crooked will fall all at once. He who tills his land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.
There is an old saying in the Navy, “Once over dust, twice over rust.” The idea is pretty simple: when you are painting, slap one coat of paint over a dusty surface, two coats over a surface which has rust. If memory serves, this method of painting onboard the ship was generally employed prior to inspections, when department heads, the Executive Officer, or perhaps the Commanding Officer himself would come through your division spaces and conduct a visual inspection for cleanliness and appearance. Everything was a quick surface glace, and the “once over dust, twice over rust” method typically ensured that your spaces would pass the visual exam. The problem is, unchecked rust onboard a ship is like a cancerous sore. Not only is it unsightly, but it can also impact the structural integrity of the ship if not dealt with properly through rust removal. To deal with the rust in a way that ensured soundness in the metal structure involved the use of sandpaper, wire brushes, grinding wheels, paint primer, a keen eye, lots of sweat, time, and persistence. Likewise, unconfessed sin, sin which we attempt to cover up, sin which goes unrepented of, will be costly to you, your family, and the Church.
Adam, in the garden of Eden attempted this “once over dust, twice over rust method” when dealing with his sin. “Where are you Adam?” asked God. “In the bushes, wearing a fig leaf, hiding from You” replied the man. “Who said you were naked?” God asks rhetorically. What follows is a perfect example of the blame game: “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit, and I ate.” In one breath, Adam managed to blame everything and everyone else in the universe, for his sin. He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Achan sought to conceal his covetousness, and it resulted in Israel's defeat in battle, and he and his whole family being stoned, thrown off a cliff, and set on fire. King David attempted to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba by murdering her husband Uriah, and it cost him his son. Ananias and Sapphira tried to hide their greed behind a veneer of feigned worship, and they were both struck down dead. Whether it is sin committed for everyone to see, or sin that you toy with in the dark recesses of your mind, it all lays bare and exposed before God. Psalm 139:1-4 says:
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
Brothers and sisters, our Heavenly Father knows all of our works, all of our thoughts, and every word we will speak before it is on our tongues, and we will have to give an account for these things on the day of judgement, For God will bring every act to judgement, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil (Ecc 12:14). How can we respond? Shall we be like deathscorts, who seek to hide their blood stained hands behind orange vests? Will we be like the religious masses, who attempt to tilts God’s scales of justice in their favor through the performing of “good deeds”? Will you seek to feign ignorance on the great and terrible day of the LORD, all the while knowing that His Law is written on your heart and you are without excuse? The wages of sin is death, is it not? Jesus said that we must repent or likewise perish. How can we possibly stand before a Holy and Just God whose eyes are too pure to look upon evil, believing that we can somehow cover or hide our sins from Him? Why do you tarry? Why do you seek to test God’s patience? Are your sins too numerous? Are your sins too great? Are your sins too ingrained, too much a part of your identity? Will confessing your sins cost you too much? Brother and sister, you cannot afford not to confess your sins.
Psalm 103:1-18 NASB
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them.
David, in response to his grievous sins, cried out to God “Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgression” (Psalm 51:1). Dear sinner, do you recognize that you are at war with a Holy and Just God this morning as you seek to cover your sins and hide them from His sight? Your attempts will fail. Your ways will not prosper. As you continue in sin, rather than grace abounding, wrath is being stored up.
If God has struck you with a Godly sorrow this morning over the state of your sin tainted soul, won’t you throw yourself upon His lovingkindness and find mercy? Cry out with the tax collector, please be merciful towards me, a sinner! Do not harden your hearts as in the days of rebellion, His word pleads. Or, harden your heart, and join those who will be judged by God without mercy.
Let us kneel and pray to our God, against whom He alone we have sinned.
Heavenly Father, we come before You this morning, knowing in our hearts that we have sinned against You alone, and that at times, our sins are as high as the heavens. Father we plead the blood of Your Son Jesus this morning, knowing that only His sacrifice can atone for our sins. Father please forgive us for seeking to wash away our sins with the filthy rags of unrighteous works. Please forgive us for seeking to hide our sin behind fig leaves formed with human hands. Father, Your Son is called Faithful and is full of Grace and truth. Help us to cling to Him, and look to Him for our righteousness before You, trusting in Him and His finished work. It’s in Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us...For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. | Romans 8:33-34; 38-39
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 12/30/19 liturgy of Sovereign King Church. Written by Aaron Sabie.)