Saturday, July 8, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 45, Atonement For Sin

Solomon speaks today on the sovereignty of God. We can either accept His authority over our lives and bow our knees to Him, or in our pride we can turn down the most important invitation that has ever been extended to mankind.

"To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue." (Proverbs 16:1) Bible scholar Adam Clarke translates it this way, "Man proposes his wishes, but God answers as He thinks proper." Have you ever been thankful God said no to some of your prayers? I've asked for some foolish things and God was right to say no to them. I didn't know at the time that those things were foolish, but God knew, and He protected me from them.

"All a person's ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord." (Proverbs 16:2) This is why we can't always know what's best for us. We think we want things for all the right reasons. But it's possible for us to deceive ourselves. As the prophet Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) No man can understand the heart, but God can. He also knows the future, so when He says no to something, He is being a good father to us.

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans." (Proverbs 16:3) If a particular activity or goal cannot in good conscience be committed to the Lord, then it is sin and must be avoided. This is the test of whether we are on the right track. But God will help us meet the goals He places in our hearts. He will guide us as we seek His will. His plans will become our plans. His wholesome desires for our lives will become our desires for our lives. If we merely follow our hearts we will get into trouble, for as Jeremiah said, the heart is deceitful. But if we follow the Lord we won't have to fear being led in the wrong direction.

"The Lord works out everything to its proper end---even the wicked for a day of disaster." (Proverbs 16:4) I bet all of you are familiar with this verse, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) God has plans for those who love Him. As the Apostle Paul promised, "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6) God has begun a good work in those of us who are in Christ. He is constantly at work conforming us to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29) It's normal for us to look like our natural parents because we belong to them, and it's also normal for us to look like Jesus because we belong to Him. God is going to keep working on us until the day of the Lord finally comes and we are transformed and made perfect and "shall be like Him". (1 John 3:2) There is also a "proper end", as Solomon says, for the wicked. Those who are saved by faith in Christ will receive their reward, and likewise those who have rejected and despised Christ will receive their reward.

"The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished." (Proverbs 16:5) Pride is what tells a person he isn't a sinner. Pride is what makes a person scoff at the idea of needing a savior. Pride is what causes a person to refuse to bow the knee to a higher authority. Pride is what entices a person to go his own way and reject the sovereignty (and the grace) of God.

The one who continues on in his pride will never know the free pardon of sin through Jesus Christ the Lord. That person will have spurned the love and faithfulness Solomon speaks of next, "Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided." (Proverbs 16:6) The love of Christ for us and His faithfulness to the Father's plan of salvation are what led Him to the cross to make an atoning sacrifice for us. Our love for Him and our faithfulness to Him is shown in our acceptance of His atoning work on our behalf. There is no other way to atone for sin. We could never do enough good works with our imperfect hands and our imperfect minds. We can't even get through one day without a sinful thought, word, or action. The Lord alone performed the work of salvation. The Lord did for us what we could not do for ourselves. All the glory is His. All the praise is His. When we walk through the gates of heaven someday, we will say nothing on our own behalf, but we will say, "It's by Christ alone! Jesus paid it all! All to Him I owe!"

Below is a link to a song about the One to whom we owe it all.
In Christ Alone

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