Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. (Isa 49:13 KJV) For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. (Tit 2:11 KJV)
One of the most astonishing revelations reading the psalms was to see, how at the end of the most sorrowful lamentations the psalmist changes the tune from crying out loud mournings to expressing deep convictions and confessions of salvation and help. This morning the great prophet of the living God calls upon us together with all the heavens and entire world in unison with mountains and people to sing, be joyful and break forth with lovely music for the triune God and creator and saviour of all has comforted his people and will still continue to have mercy on the afflicted, downhearted and sorrowful. That’s the overriding cantus firmus of all divine proclamation from the very beginning to the very end: “The Lord has comforted his people and will have mercy upon his afflicted!” Recall it, recite it, remember it oh my soul and don’t forget it, or take it lightly or as of little consequence. It’s the very truth and foundation of your daily song, personal joy and life’s music. That changes everything and gives all a new and wonderful look. For the Lord’s comfort is true and overcomes our most awful afflictions – as surely as he is the living God and surely does, what he promises!
Now our calamity is and remains that we don’t see and believe this as clearly and surely as we should. For as the saintly apostle writes to his student and fellow bishop: “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” That should wipe away all doubt, disbelief and lack of faith. Yet our eyes are so poor and our heart’s condition so miserable that we don’t see and grasp it as we should. God’s grace in Jesus Christ, the very lamb of God, who carries the sins of the world stands sure and firm as is to be expected of the Lord and God of all, the creator of everything visible and invisible, the saviour of the world and final judge, very centre and supreme good and goal of all in all eternity. He has appeared to all and everybody. His creation, which bears his clear signature and unfailing imprint is proclaiming this daily in all and everything. Nobody is excluded from his grace and his salvation is intended for all and everybody. That’s why the Church goes out and makes disciples of all nations even today – preaching all and everything he has entrusted to her, baptizing them in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life and blessed salvation. That is to overcome our sinful blindness and the callousness of our hearts so that we may believe and be saved. This holds true to the ends of the world and even until the very end of the world. At that time we’ll at last see the grace of God bringing salvation clearly in his glorious son Jesus Christ, who will then judge the living and the dead once and for all.
Until then the message goes out concerning the universal grace and mercy of our God, who forgives sins and all iniquity, does not hold those against us, but for his son’s sake forgives it all and for good – so that we may walk free and joyfully – saved by his divine grace and goodness, which covers up for all our blindness and lack of faith too. So let’s sing to his glorious name and praise his mercy and goodness, which is new every morning, and make music to God in the highest: Soli Deo Gloria +
- Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer’s praise, The glories of my god and King, The triumphs of his grace!
- My gracious Master and my God, Assist me to proclaim, To spread through all the earth abroad The honours of your name.
- The name of Jesus charms our fears And bids our sorrows cease, Sings music in the sinner’s ears, Brings life and health and peace.
- He breaks the power of cancelled sin; He sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean; His blood avails for me.
- Look to the Lord, who did atone For sin, O fallen race. Look and be saved through faith alone, Be justified by grace.
- See all our sins on Jesus laid; The Lamb has made us whole. His soul was once an offering made For every human soul.
- To God all glory, praise, and love Be now and ever given By saints below and saints above The Church in earth and heaven.
Charles Wesley, 1707-1788