GETTING THE MESSAGE/Salvation in Christ is secure
We will pause from the study in Acts this week and look at Psalm 112. This psalm shows us the walk or life of a godly man (verses 1-9) and then the reaction of the ungodly man (verse 10). We will look at how Jesus represents this psalm and how it applies to us.
Jesus exemplified a godly man. He sought to do the will of God wholeheartedly, and He did so without sin. The heart of Jesus is aptly described in verse 1, a life centered on praising the Lord, fearing the Lord, and delighting in the commandments of the Lord.
The right fear of God is an awe and admiration of God. God reigns over all. He has absolute power over all things. His dominion is absolutely sovereign. He has no counselors, and none can thwart His design. He has infinite wisdom and infinite love in directing all things. It is right and good for man, His creature, to fear and adore Him. Jesus had the highest reverence toward God.
Sinful man, however, does not hallow God’s name. He may have a superstitious fear, but there is an absence of affection for God or God’s will. This is the condition of all sinful men. When we see that sin is to resist God and that it is just for God to condemn us, we gain the beginning of wisdom. We see the greatness of the salvation of Christ and that there is no hope for us apart from Him. And in Christ, we find in our hearts reverence and admiration toward God.
We learn more about Christ and following Him in the succeeding verses. Verse 3 says, “Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.” The true riches of a man are to know God, glorify God, and enjoy God.
None was ever so rich in this as Jesus of Nazareth. He told his disciples, “I have food you know not of; my food is to do the will of the one who sent me.” When we come to Christ, God gives us the unsearchable riches of Christ. Christ is rich like only the Son of God can be: having infinite love, compassion, and tenderness toward His people.
As a man, he laid down his life for sinners; for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising its shame. He is the light that dispels the darkness in our hearts and in the world. He gives us knowledge of God, whom we find to be gracious, merciful, and righteous (verse 4). In Christ we may walk this same path of self-denial for the glory of God. It is the way of life and joy.
Verses 6-8 speak of the courage or steadfastness of the godly man. He “will never be moved;” “he is not afraid of bad news;” “his heart is steady, he will not be afraid;” “he will look in triumph on his enemies.”
Jesus predicted his death several times. He knew he would suffer betrayal, mockery, abuse, beatings, and crucifixion at the hands of men. His soul suffered greatly at the thought of drinking the cup of God’s wrath. Yet he was steadfast. He pressed on. Did he fear Pilate, Herod, Caesar, or calamity in the land? No. He was intent on fulfilling the will of God, thus destroying the work of the devil.
Those who come to Christ are not promised better news in the world or in their own tribulations, but the Lord will strengthen and help them in their hour of need. He knows their frame and their every need. And whatever befalls them in this world, their salvation is secure.
The value of this promise is underscored by the reaction of the ungodly to Christ’s godliness in verse 10: “The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish.”
Jesus spoke this way of the reaction of men at the judgment. He is holy and we are not. If you agree with that, then you will be thankful he is willing to make you clean. If you don’t, you will be angry because he disapproves of you.
Make no mistake, God says you are guilty. You have no excuse. If you intend to stand on your merits, you will have no part in Christ. The psalm ends this way because many souls will end this way. God would have souls turn and live; it is why he provided so great a Savior. So believe in Christ, embrace him, and walk in the way He walked.
The Rev. Chris Shelton is pastor of Union’s First Presbyterian Church.