"Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy word" (Ps. 119:67).
The LORD finds us, not in the way of truth, not living by faith on Christ, but going astray. No one can claim they kept the word of the LORD until the LORD afflicted them. The LORD has chosen His people in the furnace of affliction (Isa. 48:10). Though we are dead in sins, salvation begins with chastisement. God’s affliction prepares our hearts. Then His Spirit of grace draws us to Christ crucified by Gospel preaching (John 6:44-45; Rom. 10:16-17). Though we are long plagued, unclean before God’s law, have spent all and suffered much by all of our efforts and the prescriptions of men in false religion -- by the providence of our God and by the operations of His grace, we hear of Jesus (Mark 5:27). Until God’s law convinces us of guilt and helplessness under the law, we are indifferent to the sweet sound of the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ (Ps. 32:3; Matt. 11:28; Luke 4:18-19). By God's affliction on my conscience and by acts of His providence, He makes my heart soft. Under affliction, the Gospel makes Christ altogether lovely to helpless, burdened, lost sinners. To hear Him say, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest...” is to see His face revealed in His grace (2 Cor. 3:18).
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Pastor Rick Warta