GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 8.16.23

Monthly memory verse: “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom 12:9-10).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,I hope the week has begun well for each one of you.  I was blessed to worship with you this past Lord’s Day morning and evening, and I have been looking forward to doing so again soon, Lord willing.  In the time between, I have been greatly humbled, encouraged, and challenged by meditating on the words of Psalm 40:12, pondering how they could flow from the lips of our sinless Savior, and I hope the same proves true for you.It isn’t much of a stretch to place the words of this verse on any of our lips, as they seem to fit quite naturally with our condition in this world.  As the Psalmist expresses his need for the Lord’s mercy and laments his own sinfulness, he cries, “For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me” (Ps 40:12).  This is something every true believer feels as he is converted.  The weight of many grievous sins against the Lord proves utterly unbearable, forcing us to cry out for the Lord to show us mercy, to forgive our sins, for Jesus’ sake.  Indeed, even the converted believer is still able to identify with and exclaim these words, as we are far from perfect and still sin in many ways.  It isn’t our goal or in any way desirable; it is simply the fact of the matter.  It is the Romans 7 struggle, as Paul himself cried out, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:15, 24).  There is no such thing as a believer who doesn’t know himself to be a great sinner.  And, given that we love the Lord and therefore hate sin, this proves a burden in this life, even as we rejoice in the hope of the glory to come.  We know our sins and at times we’re pressed to cry out, expressing our great sorrow at how many and how great they are.  So, it isn’t difficult to pray Psalm 40:12 with an eye to ourselves.But how can the words of this Psalm be suited to the lips of a sinless Savior?  We know that they can be because Christ, as a true man, would have sung and prayed all of the Psalms during His earthly life and ministry.  Not only so, but Hebrews 10:5-7 specifically cites this Psalm, saying that it refers to Christ.  So the question isn’t if the words above could be prayed by Him, but how, given that He had no sin of His own.  And the answer is altogether glorious.  The perfect, unstained, sinless Lord Jesus Christ could pray Psalm 40:12 because of His union with us, in which He so closely identified with us as to be able to call our sins His own, even suffering and dying for them in our place.  In the words of 2 Corinthians 5:21, though He knew no sin of His own, “For our sake [God] made Him to be sin.”  Or, in at the words of the prophet Isaiah, “the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Ps 53:6).  It is an astounding and humbling thing to consider.  As He agonized and sweat great drops of blood in the garden, as He was marched around and repeatedly abused, and as He hung upon the cursed tree, the Lord Jesus so completely identified with us that He could call our sins His sins, suffering accordingly under the unfathomable wrath of an infinite and almighty God against those sins.  Having taken our guilt upon Himself as He Himself were the worst sinner to ever live, as the sky above turned black at midday, He could cry out, “My iniquities have overtaken Me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of My head; my heart fails Me” (Ps 40:12).  This is how such an awful cry could cross the lips of our sinless Savior.And this should both greatly humble, encourage, and challenge us.  It should humble us as we ponder, once again, the true horror of our many sins against our God.  It should drive every hint of pride far from us as we behold, with breathless wonder, the Son of God receiving in His body and soul the stroke that otherwise must have fallen heaven upon us.  At the same time, it should greatly encourage us to find in our Savior’s death the full assurance of the forgiveness of our sins, such that, while this life certainly has its dark days, we will never know the complete quenching of the light, the dreadful outer darkness that He endured in our place at Golgotha.  And, hearing sin’s offensiveness and the cost of our redemption in the cries of our Savior should challenge us to be done with sin, refusing any longer to embrace that for which our beloved Lamb of God was slain.Let us therefore keep the dark depths and dense weight of our Savior’s woe ever before us, in order that we might learn to ever live as those humbled before a holy God, thankful to be saved by His unrivaled love and grace, and called as His holy people to go forth and sin more! In Christ,Pastor Eric P.S.Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall – dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room.Please mark your calendars!  If you ever need to double-check dates, events are usually kept up to date on the church’s website calendar:  https://covenantofgracews.org/event-calendar/· Daily devotions
o I continue to encourage you to daily read Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening as we seek to maintain a spirit of unity.  It is widely available – here is one link:
§ https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/morning-and-evening/today
 

‘Vision Statement’  Covenant of Grace is a loving church family that equips people to know God and His Word through serious, joyful, Christ-centered worship and service, in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

Matt 22:37-39
37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Love God.  Love people.

 

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508 Harvey Street
Winston-Salem, NC  27103

Our mailing address is:
Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church
PO Box 26511
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27114-6511

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