In the Great Congregation

Psalms 40:9-10 ESV

“I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.”

The Glad News of Deliverance

With regard to our salvation from sin, what is the glad news of deliverance? It isn’t just that Jesus died to forgive us our sins or so that we can go to heaven when we die. But it is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And it is that by God-given faith in Jesus Christ our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:1-23).

And it is what Jesus said when he said that if anyone would come after him that he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow him in obedience. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus we are crucified with him in death to sin and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, and so we walk in obedience to our Lord, and not in sin, then we have the hope of eternal life (Luke 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23).

For the Good News of our salvation from sin is that Jesus died that we might be crucified with him in death to sin and now live holy and godly lives in walks of obedience to our Lord, and no longer in sin. For the grace of God, which is bringing us salvation, trains (instructs) us to renounce (say “No” to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Titus 2:11-14). For this is the will of God, our sanctification.

And on the flip side of that, the Scriptures teach us that if we do not die with Christ to sin, but we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, making sin our practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, then we will not inherit eternal life with God, and we don’t know God, and heaven is not our eternal destiny. For Jesus said that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father (Matthew 7:21-23).

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

I Have Not Restrained My Lips

Now, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth in shining the light of the truth of the gospel via our words and via our walks of faith and testimonies for Jesus Christ. And we are to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, and we are to be his witnesses, and we are not to be ashamed of Christ and his gospel, and we are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness (sin) into his wonderful light (deliverance, salvation, truth and righteousness).

So, we are not to be those who restrain our lips and who hide the truth of the gospel and of our deliverance from bondage to sin. And we are not to be those who conceal our Lord’s steadfast love and faithfulness. But we are to be those who make it our practice to tell others the glad news of deliverance from addiction to sin and who tell of God’s love and grace in empowering us to live godly and holy lives in obedience to our Lord for the glory and praise of God. For if we don’t tell the people, how will they hear?

And there are many avenues for us to do this, especially in our present age, at least here in America. And one of the ways we can reach many people in many nations all at the same time is via the internet, which right now, in America, is still open in many locations where we are free to share the truth of the gospel and where we are not being restricted from sharing the truth, at least not yet. And this would include some (not all) Christian discussion sites, personal blogs, and social media, and perhaps other places I don’t know of or have not thought of.

And we can do this by just posting Scripture passages, or in writing devotions, or personal testimonies, or in song or in poetry or via videos or social media memes which we create ourselves, or via our responses to other people’s posts, and via other means I have not tried or have not thought of and the Lord Jesus has not led me to. And we can share the gospel with people in person where there is opportunity to do so and where it is not banned. But in our day and time I would consider the internet to be our present “great congregation.”

[Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Jn 4:31-38; Jn 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom 10:14-15; Rom 12:1-8; Rom 15:14; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Php 2:1-8; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:23-25; 1 Pet 2:9,21; 1 Jn 2:6]

If That Isn’t Love

By Dottie Rambo

He left the splendor of heaven
Knowing His destiny
Was the lonely hill of Golgotha
There to lay down His life for me

And if that isn’t love
Then the ocean is dry
There’s no stars in the sky
And the little sparrows can’t fly
Yeah if that isn’t love
Then heaven’s a myth
There’s no feeling like this
If that isn’t love

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