Friday, January 11, 2013

Power of a Song: Before the Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me...

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

(The full hymn can be found many places, like here)

Revelation leads to Response...and this hymn is filled with the profound revelation of God, which in turn should lead to a powerful and heart-felt response from me, and from you.

I first became aware of this hymn over 15 years ago when a group called SonicFlood recorded it...it was an instant "must-do" and yet for whatever reason, I have not used this song in worship...until now. A couple of weeks ago I listened to it again felt that the time had come. We taught this song last week to our church and I hope it impacts them as much as it has me. Every line of this song is rooted in Scripture; rooted in who God says He is. All of these lyrics deserve our contemplation, but there is one verse that moves me every time we sing it...the second verse. This verse finds its roots in many places, one of which being Psalm 32.

"Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity
I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord'—
and you forgave the guilt of my sin." (Psalm 32:5)

You and I have something in common with every single person on planet earth...we sin. We sin with our thoughts, we sin with our actions, we sin with our words, we sin with our motives...we sin. It is this sin that brings us to two ends; death, or life. Life is found in Jesus, death is found in every other attempt to remove our sin.

For those of us who have surrendered to Jesus, God has pardoned us, based on the death of His Son. And that, my friends, is the best news we could ever hope to receive.

Here's the problem, though, at least for me, and why this song (and Psalm) mean so much to me. Even after I sin, even after I confess, even after I receive God's forgiveness and know that I stand before him as one who is clean, I struggle...I struggle with guilt, condemnation, and shame. God, however, even has an answer for that...

"...and you forgave the guilt of my sin..."

You see, God doesn't just forgive our sin, He also forgives the guilt that our sin leaves behind. His forgiveness is so complete, it covers not just the sin itself, but even the guilt and shame that sin leaves behind. God's healing is total.

You ever have a situation where someone hurt you, and then came to you and apologized, but you were hurt so much that even though you said "I forgive you," deep down you wanted them to feel bad for awhile? Maybe you could "milk it" and get something out of it? Maybe you hold onto it so long that eventually that other person says "how long are you going to hold this over my head?"

Well this is the opposite of how God treats our sin. He forgives the sin, forgives the guilt of the sin, and then... 

"as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12).

Bringing it back full circle, back to the song - this is one of the reasons this song has gripped me so. That second verse...let's read it again, and chew on these words, and the truth in them.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

A song that moves me to worship, fully.

soli deo gloria - He alone is worthy.

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