Throne of Grace

Healthy, growing Christians are those who are increasingly aware of the presence and depth of their own sin.  But with this awareness, the Lord designs that we should trust and rejoice all the more in His provision for our sin through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ.  What great, living hope believers have in the One who “…suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God…” (1 Pet. 3:18, ESV).

 

This great hope is expressed in the following words.  (This is a portion of a prayer called  The Broken Heart, found in the wonderful volume of Puritan prayers entitled The Valley of Vision.  The theme of this prayer has been put to music with the song To the Cross I Cling.)

 

Blessed Jesus, let me find a covert

     in thy appeasing wounds.

Though my sins rise to heaven,

     thy merits soar above them;

Though unrighteousness weighs me down to hell,

     thy righteousness exalts me to thy throne.

All things in me call for my rejection,

All things in thee plead my acceptance.

I appeal from the throne of perfect justice

     to thy throne of boundless grace.

 

Learning to live at the throne of grace with you,

Greg

Growing in Joy and Fear of God

At first glance, the Apostle Peter’s vision of the Christian life as involving both “joy inexpressible” (1 Pet. 1:8), and the need to “conduct yourselves with fear” (1 Pet. 1:17) seems to be utterly contradictory.  How are we to understand these seemingly incompatible dispositions of both joy and fear?

 

With good insight that regards the overall context and thrust of Peter’s first letter, Alexander MacLaren helps answer this question (from his sermon on 1 Pet. 1:17 entitled Father and Judge):

 

“Such carefulness over conduct and heart is fully compatible with all the blessed emotions to which it seems at first antagonistic. There is no discord between the phrase that I have quoted about’ joy unspeakable and full of glory, ‘ and this temper, but rather the two help one another. And such blended confidence and fear are the parents of courage. The man that is afraid that he will do wrong and so hurt himself and grieve his Saviour, is the man that will never be afraid of anything else. Martyrs have gone to the stake ‘fearing not them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do,’ (Mt. 10:28) because they were so afraid to sin against God that they were not afraid to die rather than to do it. And that is the temper that you and I should have.”

 

Continually growing in joy and fear with you,

Greg

Great Joy in Fearing God

What great joy there is in fearing God, trusting and hoping in His redemptive work through the precious blood of Christ!  Peter understood this, as we’ve seen in 1 Pet. 1:17-21.

 

We find these same themes of joy, fear, trust, hope, and redemption expressed by David in Psalm 130.  This is a fitting prayer for all who are learning to stand firm in the grace of God.

 

1 A SONG OF ASCENTS. 

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!

2 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.

8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

 

Seeking, trusting, fearing, waiting, hoping, and rejoicing with you,

Greg