Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight--
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.--Psalm 51:1-13 (NKJV)

Glory be to the Father
And to the Son
And to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning
Is now and ever shall be
World without end, Amen.

For our transgressions are multiplied before You,
And our sins testify against us;
For our transgressions are with us,
And as for our iniquities, we know them:
In transgressing and lying against the LORD,
And departing from our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt,
Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
Justice is turned back,
And righteousness stands afar off;
For truth is fallen in the street,
And equity cannot enter.
So truth fails,
And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.

The Redeemer of Zion
He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies;
The coastlands He will fully repay.
So shall they fear
The name of the LORD from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.

"The Redeemer will come to Zion,
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,"
Says the LORD.--Isaiah 59:12-20 (NKJV)

that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says:
"In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you."
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.--2 Corinthians 5:19-6:2

1. Come to Calvary's holy mountain,
Sinners, ruined by the Fall;
Here a pure and healing fountain
Flows to you, to me, to all,
In a full, perpetual tide,
Opened when our Savior died.

2. Come in poverty and meanness,
Come defiled, without, within;
From infection and uncleanness,
From the leprosy of sin,
Wash your robes and make them white;
Ye shall walk with God in light.

3. Come in sorrow and contrition,
Wounded, impotent, and blind;
Here the guilty free remission,
Here the troubled peace, may find.
Health this fountain will restore;
He that drinks shall thirst no more.

4. He that drinks shall live forever;
Tis a soul-renewing flood.
God is faithful; God will never
Break His covenant of blood,
Signed when our Redeemer died,
Sealed when He was glorified.

Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you."
At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."--Matthew 11:10-20

Behold, O faithful soul, the grief of your Lord upon the cross, His gaping wounds as He hangs there, and the awful agony of His death. That head, before which the angelic spirits bow in reverential fear, is pierced with crowded thorns; that face, beautiful above the sons of men, is defiled by the spit of the ungodly; those eyes, more luminous than the sun, darken in death; those ears, accustomed to the praises of the angelic host, are greeted with the insults and taunts sinners; that mouth, which spoke as never man spoke, and teaches the angels, is made to drink the vinegar and the gall; those feet, at whose footstool (Isaiah 66:1) the profoundest adoration is paid, are pierced with nails; those hands, which have stretched out the heavens (Isaiah 45:12) are extended upon the cross and fastened with spikes; that body, the most sacred abode and the purest habitation of the Godhead, is scourged and pierced with a spear; nor did aught in it remain uninjured His tongue, that He might pray for those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34). He who rules in heaven with the Father is most shamefully abused upon the cross by sinners. God suffers; God sheds his blood (Acts 20:28). From the greatness of the price paid, judge of the greatness of your peril; and from the cost of the remedy, judge the dreadfulness of your disease. Great indeed were the wounds of sin, which could be healed only by the wounds of the living and life-giving flesh of the Son of God; desperate indeed was that disease which could be cured only by the death of the Physician Himself.

Consider, O faithful soul, the blazing wrath of God. After the fall of our first parent, the eternal, only-begotten, and well-beloved Son of God Himself became our intercessor; and yet God’s wrath was not turned away from us. He, by whom God made the worlds (Hebrews 1:2), was interceding for us, and for the sake of us miserable sinners, He, the Most High, became the Advocate of our salvation (1 John 2:1); and yet for all this was God’s wrath not turned away from us. The Savior clothes Himself in our flesh, that the divine glory being communicated in our flesh, He might make an atonement of sinful flesh, and that the healing power of perfect righteousness being communicated to our flesh, He might thus purge out the poison of sin in our flesh; and yet, despite all this, God’s wrath was not turned away from us. He takes upon Himself our sins and their just deserts; His precious body is bound, scourged, wounded, pierced, crucified, and laid in the sepulcher; His blood starts forth profusely, like the dew, from all parts of His suffering body; His most holy soul is saddened beyond measure, and became sorrowful even unto death (Matthew 26:38); He is subjected to the very pains of hell, and the Eternal Son of God cries out in horror that He is forsaken of God (Matthew 27:46). He sweats such great drop as of blood, and such anguish does He suffer as to need the comfort of angel (Luke 22:43), who Himself comforts all angels. He dies, who is the giver of life to all. If this were done in a green tree, what shall be done in a dry (Luke 23:31)? If this were done to the Just and Holy One, what shall be done to sinners? If God so punish our sins in the person of His Holy Son, how shall He punish them in us? How shall God continually tolerate in a servant, that which He punished so severely in His own Son? What shall those whom He condemns suffer, that which He punished so severely in His own Son? What shall those whom He condemns suffer, if His own Son, whom He so dearly loves, suffered so much? If Christ, who came into the world without sin, could not depart from it without the bitter scourging, of how much sorer punishment shall be deemed worthy, who are born in sin, who live in sin, and who die in sin? The servant rejoices, while for his sin the well-beloved Son is grievously afflicted. The servant treasures up against himself the wrath of the Lord, while the Son strenuously labors to soften and appease the Father’s anger. O, the infinite wrath of God! O, His unutterable indignation! O, the inconceivable rigor of divine justice! If God visits His holy indignation upon His only-begotten Son, the partaker of His own divine nature, not because of any sin of His own, but because He had taken the miserable servant’s place, what, think you, will He do to the servant, who so confidently persists in his sins and offenses? Let the servant fear and tremble and deeply sorrow at the thought of his own just deserts, since the blessed Son is so punished for no fault of his own; let the servant fear, who ceases not to sin, while the Son so agonizes for sin; let the servant fear, who has slain his Lord; let the ungodly and the sinner be afraid, who has afflicted the Holy and Righteous one. Let us hear our Savior, O my beloved, crying aloud to us; let us give heed to Him as He sheds his bitter tears for our sakes. From the cross He cries, “Behold, O sinful man, what am I suffering for you; to you I cry, because of you I am dying. Behold the punishment inflicted upon me! Behold the nails which pierce me; there is no grief like unto my grief, and yet though my outward sufferings are so great, far greater is the agony of my heart, because I am finding you so ungrateful.” Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, O You only God of mercy, and turn our stony hearts to you!--from Sacred Meditations, p. 16-20 by Johann Gerhard

Almighty and everlasting God, because you hate nothing that you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent, create in us new and contrite hearts that we, worthily repenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain for you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

No comments: