“Who forgive all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; whom crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.”
When all is said and done, we are but poor sinners!
That is your name, no matter what kind of reputation you may have for nobility and goodness; no matter how “beautiful you look unto men.”
If only we may admit this: how different our lives prove to be!
If only your heart is broken and contrite, and your spirit lowly, how different your life proves to be!
Then the floodgates of God’s everlasting love are opened and a veritable flood of goodness of the Lord descends upon you. Then you stand in a rain of blessings.
But that estate of humility is also a gift. And when that gift is received you bow down and fall into the dust. And from thereon your blessings are multiplied.
Such a one was David, the sweet singer of Israel.
Come, let us listen to one of the strains of his sweet singing. He will chant of the Great Benefactor. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities!
Here we have to do with the guilt of sin.
Because the pollution of sin is mentioned in the next clause where we hear of “diseases”. Because the guilt of sin is always stressed in Holy Scripture. Because the singular is used in the original. Because the word “forgiveness” stresses the guilt of sin.
And that dear reader, brings us to the greatest of our distresses.
Oh, it is miserable to be a sinner. That hurts. But guilt of sin is worse, for then God is against you with His entire Being. Even the so-called innocent little children are under that guilt of sin, even at birth. Even if you are absolutely holy in your condition, you are nevertheless guilty before God, and that means that you are worthy of eternal doom. When you are guilty you are damned. And you bear that doom always. There is a terrible name which we bear: children of wrath. The wrath of God is your mother.
And all this according to strictest justice.
I know, I know, there are many who bewail this, and say: those poor people who never heard of the Gospel! Alas, alas, those teeming millions in the hinterland of India and China who even now do not know of Jesus!
But, remember, that God is just in His judgment of them. They earn that name of CHILDREN OF WRATH.
Oh, the thought of the Judgment Day is a comforting thought.
You know why? Because then God shall be justified! Think on that.
I spoke of strictest justice, and indeed I might: iniquity means that we make the straight crooked. And that’s the burden which oppresses us.
Here we read that all our iniquity is forgiven.
So it includes the guilt of Adam, our iniquitous nature, and the things we have thought, spoken and done: the whole burden is forgiven.
There is an unutterable sweetness in that word! ”
It means to lift up and to cause to disappear.
And at once the thought arises: how is that possible, for God is just?
And the answer is the beauty of the Gospel. Of course, God is just. But He takes your load of guilt and places it on Himself, that is, on Jesus who is Jehovah Salvation! Listen to Isaiah: “He laid on Him the iniquity of us all!”
And John the Baptist, will give you the wonderful, miraculous sequence: He bore our sins away!
It’s not long ago that we went through the passion weeks. Well, that first New Testament Sabbath in Joseph’s garden told the wondrous story: Jesus returned from a long (?) journey. The last time we saw Him He hung on the cross with His guilty children in His bosom. He took them to hell, and was cleansed. In Joseph’s garden He stands and He still has you in His bosom, but now you are innocent.
What wonders of love and lovingkindness!
Who healeth all thy diseases. We are diseased, we are sick, and do not think now of natural sicknesses. That would be against the context which speaks of the guilt of sin, of iniquity, of forgiveness, of redemption and of the crowning with the virtues of God.
No, this is a spiritual disease.
Attend again to Isaiah: “And the inhabitant of Zion shall not say, I am sick, for the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.” 33:24.
Note also that the healing is the result of the forgiveness of iniquity. Only those that are forgiven their iniquity are healed.
What kind of disease is this? Note the imagery of Isaiah in the first chapter: “wounds, bruises, and putrifying sores.” It is the corruption of sin. That word “diseases” spells all the issues of our life. Whatever proceeds from us is corruption. Oh, sometimes that corruption seems so lovely. But it is not. Just look through God’s spectacles: and you will loathe yourselves because of all your abominations. Job 42:6tells a dreadful story. Job looked at himself and likens himself to a running sore. But the translators were fastidious men: they softened that word and made it “abhor myself.” But, remember, the Holy Ghost said (Job speaking of himself), “I am like a fetid, stinking, running sore” !
Do you think you need healing? A good Dutchman wrote a book once, and the title of his production comes to my mind at this instance: “Genade Geneest.” That means: “Grace heals.”
The grace of God comes toward you, in you, and heals you.
If you would speak dogmatically, you would say: God regenerates, calls, converts, and sanctities you. He makes you a saint. In your deepest heart.
God does that through the Bible and the Holy Ghost.
And the result is that you look at yourself and you weep. Really, beloved, the child of God weeps every day. He always weeps in his heart. And he will weep all his life until he goes to heaven. And in heaven God wipes his tears away.
God heals His child. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction.
Is God not an overflowing Fount of blessings?
Our life: what is it?
Life is that we grasp everyone and everything we have under our dominion and walk singing to the Godhead. That is life.
That life you have is being destroyed from your earliest infancy. You are born dead, but you become deader as you progress in life. Of course I know that this sounds silly. But it is the truth nevertheless. The trouble is that I have to give a name to your present existence on earth in this dispensation of damnation and darkness. And imagine, that existence is called “life.” What can I do?
Well, whatever you have when you are born, and with whatever name you allude to it: it is being destroyed from your earliest infancy. Look at a little child in the cradle, and then look, 80 years later, to that godless corrupt human being in your path! What a difference! Of course! That man was being destroyed from day to day.
That is “life.”
There is a destroying influence of God upon man. He sins from day to day, and God strikes him and bruises him day after day. And he becomes deader and more corrupt as he goes on. That’s the truth!
And the consummation takes place at the judgment day. Then all the wicked souls and bodies, because of their sin and iniquity, shall be further and eternally destroyed in the lake of fire. That is the second death.
But when you are forgiven and healed, that will not happen to you. He redeems you from destruction! That’s the Gospel.
And you can tell it day by day.
You are redeemed. That is, you are ransomed, bought, purchased with a price. Jesus was destroyed for you. The great Outcast, roaring between all worlds.
Practically, redemption from destruction means its very opposite. You are not destroyed, but you are edified, built up, restored, quickened, enlivened, brought ever nearer to the loving Bosom of God where you may rest unto all eternity.
It is wonderful to be a Christian!
Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.
There are men who chose the most sweetly sounding names in any language I read a list of such names. The supreme name was “melody.” Well, it does sound sweet.
But to me the, sweetest sounding word is “lovingkindness.”
It is the virtue of God. It tells us that God loves to be kind, that everything in the great God desires to be good to His people whom He loved from before the foundation of the world.
It means that God uses everybody and everything to be good to the elect of God. Even His own Son. He spared Him not.
It means that He rides the heavens to your help and His excellency in the sky. It means that the heavens drop dew, upon your weary head. It means that His armies are always fighting for you. Think of the hosts of God around about that city when the prophet’s servant was so afraid.
Shall I give you a wonderful example of that sweet virtue of lovingkindness of God? Listen: Peter is cursing and swearing to the soldiers and the maidens. His shrill voice is heard all over the hall: I will be damned if I know Christ, and Jehovah is my witness!
And there comes our lovely Redeemer. And He turns the head and looks at Peter. Peter stares into the depth of that look. Oh, be assured that the look of Jesus was a look of lovingkindness, because at the same moment Jesus said within His heart: Father! do not take faith from Peter!
Now then, that lovingkindness is given to you.
And tender mercies. Tender mercies are the groaning mother as she yearns over the cradle and her sweet child who is burning with fever. That’s mercy.
It’s compassion in all your agony.
That is given to you. It is worth more than a thousand worlds.
Look at God’s children!
They are filled with lovingkindness and tender mercies.
These virtues of God found them and filled them.
O, let our God forever blessed be! Amen.