Psalm 50:16-23 (TPT)
And now I speak to the wicked. Listen to what I have to say to you!
What right do you have to presume to speak for me
and claim my covenant promises as yours?
For you have hated my instruction and disregarded my words,
throwing them away as worthless!
You forget to condemn the thief or adulterer.
You are their friend, running alongside them into darkness.
The sins of your mouth multiply evil.
You have a lifestyle of lies;
you are devoted to deceit as you speak against others,
even slandering those of your own household!
All this you have done and I kept silent,
so you thought that I was just like you, sanctioning evil.
But now I will bring you to my courtroom
and spell out clearly my charges before you.
This is your last chance, my final warning. Your time is up!
Turn away from all this evil, or the next time you hear from me
will be when I am coming to pass judgment upon you.
I will snatch you away, and no one will be there
to help you escape my judgment.
The life that pleases me is a life lived in the gratitude of grace,
always choosing to walk with me in what is right.
This is the sacrifice I desire from you.
If you do this, more of my salvation will unfold for you.”
Last week, we ended with a passage from the gospel of Matthew as Jesus is teaching his disciples about the hypocrisy of those leading Israel. Jesus offers another assessment of these same leaders later in this gospel, “They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer” (Mat 23:3 MSG). The practice of sin—in any proportion—will taint our thoughts and lead to disobedient actions against God. To be ignorant of what God says about sin is viewed through his eyes of mercy. However, when we know we are living in sin, we accuse ourselves before God (Rom 2:13-15). Obeying the Word is God’s Way.
Many people in this world may say they believe in Christ—God’s Living Word—but unless those people are living in the truth and obedient to the life to which Christ calls his followers, the Lord proclaims them wicked. It is hypocrisy. Grace is not some kind of an apology for our sin; grace is the power of Christ to guide us into holiness so we can live for the glory of God.
In our Old Testament passage today, God is actually addressing those engaged in the ongoing practice of what the Word calls evil or sin. The people are viewing their good standing with God based on outward acts of piety alone. This is not the message of Christ and the proof that we are desperate for a Savior. We need salvation from sin and its death penalty. In the New Testament, Jesus always condemned the leaders for this action, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mat 15:8). Jesus is the Truth. So, to say one thing and live another is to live in delusion; it is an abuse of God’s mercy and grace. Sin that is fed grows in the soul of every willing host; but, God’s grace has the power to overcome all sin. We must, however, obediently align our whole being with God’s Word—this puts grace and faith into action.
“May your life preach more loudly than your lips.” Toby Mac
Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping me live each day in obedience to your Word. Thank you for your mercy that covers me while I learn to live in the power of your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.