"You do not delight in sacrifice, or else I would give it." David goes on to say, "You are not pleased with burnt offering, my only sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart broken with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent. Such, O God, you will not despise."
Recently we talked about the covenant that God cut with Abraham and how Abraham wasn't perfect so he couldn't finish his part of the covenant. This was a problem for two reasons.
1. After a covenant is fulfilled both parties should have a mark like a scar or a piercing or a token like a clay tablet or a ring, like a wedding ring, as proof of the covenant.
2. Without that proof of the covenant neither the enemy nor other people would know about or respect the covenant. In this case the covenant between God and Abraham.
So, God gives Abraham a way to show proof of the covenant they had cut and his commitment to it. In Genesis 17 starting in verse 9 God says, "You will honor my covenant, you and your descendants, generation after generation. This is the covenant that you are to honor, the covenant that pulls in all your descendants: Circumcise every male. Circumcise by cutting off the foreskin of the penis; it will be the sign of the covenant between us. Every male baby will be circumcised when he is eight days old, generation after generation—this includes house-born slaves and slaves bought from outsiders who are not blood kin. Make sure you circumcise both your own children and anyone brought in from the outside. That way my covenant will be cut into your body, a permanent mark of My permanent covenant. An uncircumcised male, one who has not had the foreskin of his penis cut off, will be cut off from his people—he has broken my covenant"
Now you're probably saying, "Woah, why are we talking about circumcision? This is weird, and how does it tie into Psalm 51:16?" Give me a little leeway, because I'm going somewhere with this.
In Galatians 5 Paul is addressing those who were teaching that salvation required circumcision. In versus 11 and 12 he says, "As for the rumor that I continue to preach the ways of circumcision (as I did in those pre-Damascus Road days), that is absurd. Why would I still be persecuted, then? If I were preaching that old message, no one would be offended if I mentioned the Cross now and then—it would be so watered-down it wouldn’t matter one way or the other. Why don’t these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves!" Woah there Paul, you been hanging out with Peter lately? This doesn't sound like your normal stuff that you write.
So what changed? If Jesus fulfilled the law and finished the covenant of Abraham and didn't do away with the law and the old testament then why would this requirement be different now. In Romans 2:29 Paul says, "But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and true circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the fulfillment of the letter of the Law. His praise is not from men, but from God." That sounds a lot like what David said long before the time of Jesus in Psalm 51:17, we read it earlier, "My only sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; A broke and contrite heart broken with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent, such, O God, You will not despise." The key here is that both David and Paul were filled with the Holy Spirit. We know David was spirit filled because Samuel 16:13 tells us he was; it says that, Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed David, while his brothers stood around and watched. "The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind." That's what changed. The difference, and it's a big one, is the Holy Spirit.
We talked about the Holy Spirit in episode 31, when my son was pretending to be me, as being a power house who comforts us, teaches us, reminds us of what Jesus said, and is freely available to everyone who puts their faith in Jesus by simply asking God for it.
The whole point here being, I told you I was getting around to something, to drive home that salvation is contingent upon the confession of your mouth that Jesus is Lord and the belief in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. Any church, any religion, or sect that tells you that there's more sacrifice required or hoops to jump through is leading you astray. In Galatians 5 Paul puts it this way, “The moment any of you submits to a rule keeping system as a supposed requirement of salvation, Christ will be of no benefit to you for you will lack the faith in Christ that is necessary for salvation. Every man who receives these supposed requirements is under obligation and required to keep the whole Law.
I don’t suspect that you would ever intend this, but this is what happens. You are severed from Christ when you seek to be justified; that is, declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing through the Law. You have fallen from grace; lost your grasp on God’s unmerited favor and blessing. Meanwhile we confidently wait, not relying on the Law but through the strength and power of the Holy Spirit by faith, for the hope of the completion of our salvation. For in Christ neither religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is only faith activated and expressed, working through love.”
I love that phrase, "For in Christ neither religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything." Christ isn't looking for perfect people who know what i's to dot and t's to cross, I'm not looking for that, and the church as a whole shouldn't be either. However, Paul does go on to say, “It is absolutely clear that you were called to a life of freedom. Just make sure that you don’t use your freedom as an excuse to embrace your sinful nature, but through love serve and seek the best for one another; that’s how freedom grows. Everything that we know about God’s Word and the Law concerning human relationships is summed up in a single sentence, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That is an act of true freedom."
This is Pastor Bill saying, Until next time...