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Monday, May 25, 2020

Righteousness and Peace

Mercy and Truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.
—Psalm 85:10 (NKJV)

         This verse has always intrigued me. I’m reading the Old Testament in light of the New. I study each verse through the grace of Jesus. It takes on more meaning knowing the Truth that His perfect sacrifice shall one day fulfill the needs of those who live by the law.

         Psalm 85 is a prayer of the psalmist, asking for God's divine favor. In verses 1-3, the psalmist reminds God that He forgave Israel and held back His anger when He brought them out of bondage. In verses 4-7, he pleads for God to put aside His anger once more and forgive them. 

         “Lord, you poured out blessings on your land!
          You restored the fortunes of Israel.
         You forgave the guilt of your people—
          Yes, you covered all their sins. 
         You held back your fury.
          You kept back your blazing anger.
         Now restore us again, O God of our salvation.
         Put aside your anger against us once more.
         Will you be angry with us always?
         Will you prolong your wrath to all generations?
         Won’t you revive us again,
         so your people can rejoice in you?
         Show us your unfailing love, O Lord,
          and grant us your salvation” (Psalm 85:1-7, NLT).

         To not be in sin, the Israelites had to keep each statute and law. God’s requirement was for them to live perfectly holy lives. But they weren’t perfect. Only God was holy and perfect. Only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies to seek forgiveness for himself and the people. The Israelites often incurred God’s anger. The psalmist cries out for forgiveness once more—for restoration for God’s people. Will God prolong His wrath to all generations? Will He once more give them His unfailing love and grant His salvation?

        The psalmist then asks God not to let the people return to their foolishness that has brought His wrath. His forgiveness, the psalmist declares, is close to those who fear Him. 

         “I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
          for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
          But let them not return to their foolish ways.
         Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
          so our land will be filled with his glory” (Psalm 85:8-9, NLT).

         And suddenly, Psalm 85:10 promises the love of Jesus, which is to come. It speaks of His forgiveness that never ends:

          “Unfailing love and Truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed!”

         This verse in the Old Testament looks ahead to the time of God’s promise of eternal restoration. Unfailing love will meet Truth. Righteousness and peace will kiss. The righteousness of Jesus shall one day bring peace with God. The Holy of Holies will no longer be only for the High Priest. Jesus, the perfect sacrifice for our sins, has set us free. The veil has been ripped open by His grace. God is now our Abba Father. 

         What happened on Calvary? The grace of Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law. The Lord of the Old Testament, who forgave based on how man behaved, became the God of the New, who forgives us because of the unconditional love of Jesus. The unfailing love of Jesus, which never fails, comes together with God's Truth. The righteousness of God is now Jesus' gift to man. Jesus has opened the door into God’s presence in the Holy of Holies. Man has peace with God because of the righteousness Jesus has purchased for him.

         Do you realize you aren’t graded on your performance as God’s people in the Old Testament were once judged? You have been restored forever by the grace of Jesus. God, through Jesus, has revealed His unfailing love and granted you His salvation. No longer do you believe you must fear God to find forgiveness! No longer must you strive to make yourself worthy as the law required! Only the grace of Jesus makes you worthy!  Mercy is yours because of Jesus. His Truth is yours. His peace is yours. His righteousness gave all for you at the Cross! The blazing anger of God in the Old Testament was appeased forever by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.

         “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT)!

         Are you NEW?

©2020 Lynn Lacher

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