1 Kings 22:29-53; Acts 13:38-43; Psalms 139:1-12; Proverbs 29:15-17
NT: “Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers and sisters, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you. Everyone who believes is justified through him from everything that you could not be justified from through the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39 CSB)
When Paul and Barnabas arrived at the Synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, the leaders of the Synagogue asked if Paul and Barnabas had any words of encouragement. At that opening, Paul began to share. This is the climax of that message: Through Jesus Christ, who was crucified but was raised to life, forgiveness and justification is available. Everyone (not just some but all) who believes the gospel message and places their faith on the crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ is justified (made and declared righteous) through Christ. The law of Moses has no power to justify – it only has power to condemn. Through Christ, as we own our condemnation, confess our sin and repent to faith in Christ, God forgives our sin, removes the condemnation, and gives us Christ’s righteousness. What an encouraging word that is!
Psalms: “Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; you understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; you are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me; you have placed your hand on me. This wondrous knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it. Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I fly on the wings of the dawn and settle down on the western horizon, even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night” — even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you.” (Psalms 139:1-12 CSB)
As we read and understand Psalm 139, we see more clearly what an amazing and encouraging word the promise of forgiveness and justification is. This psalm was written by David, a man that experienced first hand, the forgiving and justifying work of God. David wrote, “Lord, you have searched me (to dig deep and dig up, penetrate, investigate and examine thoroughly) and known me (to know and understand intimately through experience).” David was far from a perfect man, and God knew every single imperfection that David had. Even the thoughts and considerations that never developed into action, God knew. That is true of all of us. Think about your most intimate friend… the friend that knows everything about you… the person that you divulge your innermost thoughts to… the person that you are most real around. God knows you deeper than that most intimate friend. It is scary to think of someone knowing us that deeply. Were someone to know us in that way, we would probably try to avoid them – just like Adam and Eve tried to hide from God when they fell into sin… or maybe the way you try to avoid your pastor when you are feeling guilty. David wrote that even if he tried to hide from God, he couldn’t – for God is everywhere. God knows everything about us and it is impossible to run away from His gaze or the conviction that His gaze brings. With that in mind, consider what incredibly good news the message that Paul shared is. God knows (even more than we do) how corrupt and unrighteous we are, and there is no way to escape Him and the conviction He brings. Yet, this same God who knows everything about us is willing to forgive everything and give us His righteousness so that the condemnation can be removed, and we can live in peace. All we have to do is commit our lives fully to Him and place our faith in His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.