Psalm 67:1, May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us.

I never get tired of hiring the closing benediction at the end of every church service, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26). We are truly blessed beyond measure. When we forgive others, it’s often with strings attached; it’s a conditional promise. We say, “I’ll forgive you if you promise not to do this again.” With God, however, there are no strings attached; it’s an unconditional promise with Him. “Ask, and it will be given to you,” Jesus says (Matthew 7:7). Our words are connected with conditional promises; God’s Word is connected with an unconditional promise. Yes, God commands we forsake our sin, but forgiveness is not attached to the act of forsaking; it is attached to God’s promise when we ask and it is present in the sacraments.

We measure our love for someone by how much money we spend on them or how much time we spend with them. If a man loves his wife, he spoils her with surprises, not to mention the wedding ring itself is expensive. We all spend more time with certain friends than we do with others. No matter how hard we try, we can never love everyone equally. God, on the other hand, paid the ultimate price for us all, for He loves all equally. God’s love is measured for us in that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God came down as a man, walked among us, and He died for our sins. He didn’t die for a select few people; He died for the entire world so that they might not perish but have life (John 3:16-17). God could have let all of us be condemned to Hell for all eternity, but He didn’t. Instead, He chose to die for us. Instead of paying the price for sin that we deserve, Christ took our place on the cross as the propitiation for our sin by taking God’s wrath upon Himself and descending into Hell so we don’t have to. And now, because of Him, we die a death like His in baptism and will be united with Him in a resurrection like His (Romans 6:5). Therefore, we are blessed beyond measure.

Advertisements