Sunday, August 2, 2009

Who saved a wretch like me

You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—
In these ways we continue;
And we need to be saved.
6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.
7 And there is no one who calls on Your name,
Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us,
And have consumed us because of our iniquities.
8 But now, O LORD,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.
9 Do not be furious, O LORD,
Nor remember iniquity forever;
Indeed, please look—we all are Your people!
10 Your holy cities are a wilderness,
Zion is a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and beautiful temple,
Where our fathers praised You,
Is burned up with fire;
And all our pleasant things are laid waste.
12 Will You restrain Yourself because of these things, O LORD?
Will You hold Your peace, and afflict us very severely? (Isaiah 64:5-12)

How dare we approach the Living God, how dare we waft one breath that hints of the stench or even suggestion of the stench that there is anything good or worthy or worthwhile in the works that emanate from our own self-righteousness.

Here the Holy God plainly, and unequivocally describes for us what He thinks of our good works: they are used menstrual cloths, recently stained with foetal (dead baby) blood, worth only to be gathered up and placed in the fire before the stench causes others to vomit.

How dare we think of any hope of salvation other than the bare, raw, unsullied grace of God. I am saved by grace, and grace alone. If God were not to chose me from Eternity past, then there would be no hope in a million Eternities of me ever deserving to be considered for salvation on the basis of my own accomplishments. Without Him I can do and am NOTHING.

But Oh! the grace of God that saved a wretch like me. Oh! How I love Jesus, Who FIRST loved me.

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