Grace – Behind Me, Within Me, Ahead of Me

Need some good news today? Well, it just so happens that I am an evangelist who gets to present God’s Good News for a living. Today, I’ve got plenty of it for you, and this time it comes from an ancient song written by the Sons of Korah and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Psalm 85 is before you, and if you understand it properly, it will aid you in giving thanks, confessing sin, enjoying the Gospel, and rejoicing in the unfathomable grace of your always-loving Father.


Notice how God’s saints were led to give thanks for past grace:

Lord … You were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger.

Have you presented to God your gratitude for his past grace? Consider what he has already done for your soul. He has lived for you, died for you, and regenerated you. He has poured out his “hot anger” on his only begotten Son that he might withdraw his wrath from you and cover your sin.

Consider what he has done for your family. Give a big “shout out” to God for how he has graced and called many members of your family.

Now, count the ways in which the Holy Spirit has used you in his sacred service. Your life has not been vain; he has done good work through you.

Then, honor him for his unwavering affection and work of sanctification despite your unfaithful fickleness.

Sure, it is proper to give him thanks for the vast material benefits he has bestowed upon you.

Friend, in various ways, God has already blessed you far more than you deserve. Therefore, it is time for you to stop using your voice to grumble and complain. It is time for you to shout out loud praises to your God who has elected you, been in your corner from day one, and has proven his daily fascination with you. Yes, goodness and mercy have followed you all the days of your life. Be loud and proud. Be grateful and give thanks to God.

Notice how God’s saints were led to confess and supplicate for present grace:

Restore us again, O God of our salvation. Put away your indignation toward us! Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O Lord. Grant us your salvation.

Have you rehearsed with the Righteous Lord your need for his present grace? God is the same — yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes. Therefore, with holy fire he still hates iniquity. Hot anger, wrath, and indignation are still his predetermined posture towards the wickedness of the devil, the devilish world, and your only-wicked flesh.

Yes, it is true he has poured out all his wrath, condemnation, and curse upon his blameless Mediator. Yes, it is true that none remains for you. Yes, it is true that when he looks at you, every single day he sees only the merit of his Son.

However, there is still Gospel-worship to be done. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus instructed his disciples to request forgiveness for their transgressions. Therefore, following the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the Sons of Korah, and the Saints of Israel, it remains your sorrowful and joyous duty to honor God, uphold his Law, acknowledge your failings, confess your sin, believe, repent, and cry afresh to your Loving Savior, “Restore us … revive us … show us your love … and grant us your salvation.” Friend, your ongoing sins are no light matter. They have already resulted in the humiliation, death, and condemnation of the Holy Son on your behalf. The least you can do is take them seriously, run to God, preach the Gospel to yourself, and pray that you might love, obey, and enjoy the Father, Son, and Spirt with even greater vigor and faithfulness.

Notice how God’s saints were led to confidently rejoice in future grace:

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak. He will speak peace to his people, to his saints. But let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness meet. Righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground. Righteousness looks down from the sky. Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way. 

As you pray, what will the Lord say back to you? He will speak, and this is what he promises to provide:

  • Peace
  • Wisdom
  • Glory
  • Steadfast love
  • Faithfulness
  • Righteousness
  • Peace
  • Faithfulness
  • Goodness
  • Fruitfulness
  • Guidance and leadership in the way

You are part of his people. You are one of his saints. You are his beloved bride, and he promises to continually sanctify and preserve you. And he might even grace the land in which you are dwelling.

And what will happen when this life is over?

Even more grace is over the horizon …

Yes, my brothers and sisters, while you pray and sing loudly of the grace of the Lord in this life, make sure to keep your eyes on eternity to come. A divine inheritance has been reserved for you on the other side of your death or his Second Coming. In paradise, the Sons of Korah, the Sons of Israel, and many saints have gone on before you. There, they have been enjoying the celestial grace of their Savior for millennia. As the years go by, with even greater delight they are learning to sing of the grace of God with the Lord’s ever-growing choir. And one day, your time will come to join in the multitude of saints giving him glory and honor for his undeserved grace. However, on that day and in that place, you will sing and pray differently than  today. For in glory, you will praise God for his grace without the confession of sin that is still a part of your good worship today. In heaven, the devil, the world, and your wicked flesh will be no more, and you will sing louder than you ever deemed possible. Great is the grace of our loving Lord!


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