July 7, 2013

God saves sinners of whom I am chief…

My devotional book is written by several great preachers. The editor of this book assembled them according to the Scripture reference each one used. Today’s verse is used nine times with nine approaches to the importance of its truths.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. (Psalm 106:8)

For today, Ralph Erskine focuses on the power of God to save for his name’s sake no matter how much sin a person may be guilty of, or how many grievous provocations and impediments have been put in God’s way. Most of what Erskine writes is repeated here, for no other reason than it is such a great encouragement, first to my own sorry state, but also when applied to the not yet saved people on my prayer list.

God can save for His name’s sake even those in gross darkness and fearful ignorance. “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God’ ” (John 6:45).

He can save for His name’s sake even those who have refused Him, resisted His many calls, and slighted many opportunities. “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people” (Romans 10:21). After many refusals, the Lord still stands with open arms to receive all comers.

He can save for His name’s sake regardless of unparalleled wickedness. What if there is no sinner like me? What if I call myself the chief of sinners as did Paul the Apostle? No matter, for He can save for His name’s sake —because there is no Savior like Him. Should any unbelieving heart suggest there is no salvation for someone as bad as I am, Micah 7:18 is the answer:

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18–19)

Our God can save for His name’s sake in spite of high mountains of sin or misery that seem to block His saving power, even hardness of heart and innumerable barriers like atheism, unbelief, deadness, and security placed in other things, even other gods. Our God who blesses for His name’s sake can take away any heart of stone and give the heart of flesh. He can out of stones raise up children for Abraham. He can save for His name’s sake despite nameless afflictions, nameless objections that nothing in the world can address or even mention, far less remove. The obstacles standing in the way of salvation might be out of sight as far as I am concerned, but God can see them. He is omniscient, knows all – and omnipotent, can do all and save anyone — for His name’s sake.

He saves by faith, but what of those who doubt? God says in His Word that He can save, even remove negative thoughts of Him and make known His goodwill toward doubters. He is more willing to save than anyone is willing to be saved. It is the will of Almighty God to save sinners, pushing aside thousands and millions of objections, that He might make known His mighty power and His great love for us.

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