11/22/Su – With You there is Forgiveness

1 Kings 10:1-29; Acts 9:1-9; Psalms 130:1-5; Proverbs 28:8-10

NT: “Now Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul said. “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting,” he replied. “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:1-9‬ ‭CSB)

Saul was (in his own words) a Pharisee of Pharisees. He was zealous for the law and the Jewish traditions. Through his blind commitment to the letter of the law, however, he missed the heart and purposes of God. After a successful campaign against the Jerusalem church, Saul received permission from the high priest to chase down followers of Jesus who had fled to Damascus and bring them back to his idea of justice. On his way to Damascus, the arrester became the arrested… the unmerciful zealot encountered the forgiving Lord. Imagine how Saul must have felt as he was instantly made aware that he was guilty of persecuting the Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of lords. The haughty man on his high horse was knocked to the ground and left humbled and defenseless. For three days, Saul was blind – left alone with his thoughts to reconcile his beliefs with the truth, to repent, and turn from the law to God.

Psalms: “Out of the depths I call to you, Lord! Lord, listen to my voice; let your ears be attentive to my cry for help. Lord, if you kept an account of iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that you may be revered. I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in his word.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭130:1-5‬ ‭CSB)

As Saul sat there blind in Damascus for three days, I wonder if this psalm came to mind. This psalm is a song of ascents, and would have been familiar to every faithful Jew. After coming face to face with his iniquity, I’m sure Saul must have felt that he was drowning in his own guilt. The truth is, whether we are a zealous persecutor of the works of God or we are just a regular person trying to make his way through life – outside of the salvation that is found in Christ, we all would find ourselves in over our heads and drowning in sin. We are all guilty, and none of us could stand as innocent before the Holy, Righteous, and perfectly Just God. Thankfully, with God there is forgiveness. Thankfully, when we cry out to the Lord in humble desperation, He hears our cries and is faithful to save. When we humbly come to Jesus and present to Him our “filthy rags,” He removes our guilt and fills us with His innocence. Saul was forgiven and saved. I have been forgiven and saved. Anyone can be forgiven and saved if they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, humbly repent of their sin, and turn completely to Him.

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