Thursday, January 10, 2013


In 1875, Henry Alexander Douglas, bishop of Bombay, charged new priests and used this description of those in need of forgiveness:
... souls burdened with an intolerable load of guilt, and crushed by a sense of sin which is the greatest of all agonies
That’s what is meant by a contrite heart. It’s more than feeling regret or being apologetic. King David knew this when he wrote:

The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. (Psalms 34:17 KJV)

David knew against whom he had sinned when he committed adultery and required the death of a good man.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (Psalms 51:2-4 KJV)

Too often, when we do speak of or to God, we follow the Pharisee’s example:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. (Luke 18:10-12 KJV)

We dare to say that? To One who has said:

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15 KJV)

We need not only to be aware of our sins, confessing our sins but acknowledging that only God provides the mercy to cleanse us from our sins.

This past Sunday we began a thirteen week study on Christianity basics. Acknowledging that we are sinners is primary. We cannot weigh our errors against those of anyone else, for God judges us individually, as we are, on our own. He judges fairly, too. That’s why in Hebrews we read:

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:29-31 KJV)

It is a fearful thing and we should stand in awe at the power and glory that we can only consider from a very narrow point in God’s eternal plan. Do we become a part of this greater good, shedding our errors? Or, do we walk over His narrow way without notice?

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