Calvary Road Baptist Church

“KNOWING THE REMEDY FOR SIN”

Psalm 119.9

 

Before we do anything else this morning, I want to take you into the distant past, to a time when the Word of God was neglected. We travel back to a time long after the passing of King David, and after the passing of King Solomon, and even after the death of good King Hezekiah. We look back to a day when the Word of God was, for all intents and purposes, lost to rulers and leaders of the land.

Notice how God, in His providence, sets the stage for events to unfold as we begin reading in Second Kings 22.1: “Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem.” Josiah ascended to the throne at the age of eight, and died in combat at the age of 39. However, our interest is in the events that took place when he was 26 years old, beginning in verse 3:

 

3      And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying,

4      Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people:

5      And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house,

6      Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.

7      Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.

 

The Temple that had been built by Solomon centuries before was in a sad state of repair, reflecting the spiritual condition of the people. King Josiah sent a trusted assistant named Shaphan with instructions for the high priest to arrange for the house of the LORD to be repaired.

Pay careful attention to the conversation the high priest had with the king’s assistant, and what happened next, verse 8: “And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.”

Who knows what kind of a mess the Temple was in in its terrible state of neglect and disrepair. However, it is certain from Hilkiah’s words that he stumbled across something he had not seen before, the Word of God, which he then gave to Shaphan to read.

In verses 9 and 10, we have the record of Shaphan reporting back to the king, informing him about the progress made in fulfilling his assignment. He then makes mention of The Book, and read it to the king.

 

9      And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD.

 10   And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.

 

My friends, the historical setting in which this account takes place, and the details of this account, strongly suggest that the king, the high priest, and this scribe, have never before seen a copy of the Word of God. It is very likely that other copies were hidden in the hands of devout men in various places, but the men occupying positions of power and authority in the kingdom were not familiar with the Law of God.

The king’s reaction when portions of the Bible were read to him verify what I have stated to you. Verse 11: “And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.” Why did he react so strongly? Listen to his own words, in verse 13: “. . . great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.”

Interesting, is it not? Though evangelicals and liberals seem always to convey the message that God’s Word makes everyone happy and produces nothing but joy, the reaction of Josiah when first exposed to the truth of God’s Word had the opposite effect.

As well, what effect did exposure to the truth of God’s Word always have when ministered by God’s Old Testament prophets, when ministered by John the Baptist, when ministered by the Lord Jesus Christ, and when ministered by the Apostles of Jesus Christ and other early Christian era preachers?

My friends, every Biblical account of a person’s first honest encounter with the Bible is the same; misery, guilt, fearfulness, and an awareness of condemnation. Why is this so predictably certain? The Bible is that book God has given to guide us to the only remedy for sin.

Please turn in your Bible to the 119th Psalm. When you find your place, stand for the reading of our text, Psalm 119.9: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

My friend, sin separates a man from God. Sin leads a man down the path to ruin. Sin damns a man’s soul to Hell. However, until a man actually reads the Bible, until he actually hears scriptural truth for the first time, he lives under the fatal delusion that all is well. However, that is not all. Only the Bible contains the truth concerning the remedy for sin.

Though this is obviously a vast subject, and of great importance to anyone who fears God’s terrible wrath, time constraints limit my remarks to four rather brief headings, making use of Emery Bancroft’s wonderful Christian Theology to concisely state several important truths taught in the Bible.

 

First, SIN IDENTIFIED

 

In Romans 3.20, the Apostle Paul writes, “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” This explains the reaction of good King Josiah. He was no doubt a successful and happy young man for the first eighteen years of his reign. He ruled his people in peace and enjoyed all the privileges and prerogatives of his position. Then one day his assistant brought the Bible that had been found in the rubbish that filled the Temple and read it to him, breaking his heart and convicting him of his and his people’s sins.

Thus it is with you and me, as well as everyone else. Were it not for God’s Word, we would think so many things are normal, reasonable, and natural. Our tendency would be to live and let live, to each his own, and all I want to do is have some fun. However, the Bible reveals the true nature of sin.

First, “Sin means to miss the mark of the divine standard. God’s standard is expressed in the letter of His holy law, and in the living characters of the life of His holy Son. From both of these standards all have sinned, that is, missed the mark.”[1]

Next, “Sin is a deviation, a lapse, a falling aside from God’s requirement. . . Every offence against God’s Word means a fall from God, and damage to us and to others.”[2]

Third, “Sin is a distortion, a perversion, a bending of that which is right, and thus making it crooked.”[3]

Fourth, “Sin is the passing over the prescribed boundary of God’s Law, hence it is transgression. . . What . . . the sinner does in his sinning . . . he passes over the boundary of right and enters the forbidden land of wrong.”[4]

Fifth, “Sin is an affront to God, that is, man dares to stand in God’s presence and rebel against Him.”[5]

Sixth, “Sin is the betrayal of a trust, unfaithfulness.”[6]

Seventh, “Sin is an offence, an error, a negligence.”[7]

Eighth, “Sin is a debt, a failure in duty, a not meeting one’s obligations to God.”[8]

And finally, “Sin is disobedience, distrust, unbelief, a want of response to God.”[9]

 

Next, THE PARTIES IDENTIFIED

 

It is thought by the shallow thinkers and atheists that if there is such a thing as sin, it has only to do with the two parties visibly involved. Thus, a liar’s deception hurts only the person who is misled, while the thief’s grab of another’s property deprives only the one who has been stolen from.

Such thinking is very constricted. It is much like looking through a tube, allowing you to see only what you are intentionally focused on, while depriving you of any other consideration. The danger of such thinking, of course, is that it deludes the sinner concerning the parties involved in his sin.

My friends, when the thug strikes another person, there are not two parties involved in that offense. Not even the atheist restricts the parties involved in an assault to the attacker and the victim, but recognizes the role government plays as a legitimate offended party. Thus, when you steal from me you immediately involve the state of California, and possibly even the federal government of the United States, in what you foolishly believed to be business that was only yours and mine.

What parties are involved in any sin, then, once it is admitted that God is the Creator and Sustainer of His Creatures? He describes Himself as the Potter and each of us being the work of His hand, Isaiah 64.8. Being the Creator, the Potter if you will, He possesses ownership rights over that which He creates and sustains. In Leviticus 25.23, God declares that “the land is mine.” In Exodus 13.2, He tells the Jews, “whatsoever openeth the womb . . . both of man and of beast: it is mine.” Finally, in Exodus 19.2, He declares “all the earth is mine.” Therefore, when we sin against each other, when we harm each other in any way, or violate God’s ownership rights in any way, we damage His property, and we misuse what He has declared to be His. That is wrong. That is sin. No wonder King David cried out to God in heartfelt repentance, after grievously sinning against others, with these words, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” While certainly not denying the wickedness and harm done to Bathsheba and her husband, David’s repentance shows his recognition of what is usually overlooked when we commit sins, that the severity of our sins against God far outweigh the seriousness of our sins against our fellow man.

So you see, my friend, responsibility to determine the offended parties when you and I sin is neither yours nor mine. It is God Who decides who the parties to every offense happen to be, and He has decided that sin, by its very nature as an offense to His holiness, is always a crime to which He is the primary offended party.

This universe is His creation, and He created it without sin. This world we live in was originally very good. However, mankind introduced sin by disobedience, and we have all consequently become sinners. That places each one of us at odds with God, Who demands that we be holy because He, the Lord our God, is holy.

 

Third, THE PENALTY IDENTIFIED[10]

 

“The penalty of sin may be summed up under seven words, namely “death,” “lost,” “condemnation,” “guilt,” “perdition,” “punishment,” “eternal.”

“Death” is the denotative word. Death means separation. Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body (Jas. 2:26), spiritual death is the separation of man from God (Rom. 5:12; 6:23; John 5:24; I John 3:14; Luke 15:24; I Tim. 5:6; Rev. 3:1); and the second death is eternal separation from God (Jas. 1:15; 5:20; Rev. 20:14; 21:8).

“Lost” is the descriptive word. The word “apollumi” means to lose utterly. It is translated “destroy,” “die,” “lose,” “lost,” “marred,” “perish.” For God to “destroy” in hell, is man’s loss of heaven (Matt. 10:28). To “die” is to lose one’s earthly existence (John 18:14). To live for self is to “lose” the life in uselessness (Luke 9:24). For the wine skins to be “marred” is to lose their service (Mark 2:22). To “perish” is to lose God’s salvation (John 3:16). To be “lost” is to lose God and one’s self (Luke 15:17, 24).

“Condemnation” is the judicial word. God’s judgment against sin has been given, especially against the sin of non-belief in Christ (John 3:19; 16:8), and His final decision, when men will be judged according to their deeds, will be at the Day of Judgment. The day of crisis is passed for the believer, for God’s Word is “Shall not come into condemnation” (John 5:24); but for the ungodly, God is reserving them “unto the day of judgment to be punished” (II Pet. 2:9).

“Guilt” is the indicative word. There are two words rendered “guilty.” The one means to be held in, to be detained by the lawful authority because of a charge made, hence in danger of having a penalty inflicted. The other word means a great deal more. The word only occurs in Rom. 3:19 . . . “subject to the judgment of God.” The sinner because of his sin, is not on probation, but under condemnation.

“Perdition” is the prospective word. This word points on to the irretrievable ruin of those who die in their sins. Judas complained at the “waste” of the precious ointment that Mary poured on Christ, but he became a “son of waste” by his conduct. The words “waste” and “perdition” are one and the same.

“Punishment” is the conscious word. Christ will say to the goats in the day of judgment, “Depart ye into everlasting punishment” (Matt. 26:46).

“Eternal” is the durative word. One cannot escape the doctrine of eternal punishment without lowering the standard of inspiration. One inspired word, the Greek adjective “aionios,” embodies the whole truth. It is used in seven senses in the New Testament:

To the Father as the “Eternal God” (Rom. 16:26).

To Christ as the “Eternal Life” (I John 5:20).

To the Spirit as the “Eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14).

To the “past times eternal” (Rom 16:25; II Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2).

To the “eternal Gospel” (Rev. 14:6).

To the believer in Christ, who possesses “eternal life” (John 3:15); who is secured in “an eternal covenant” (Heb. 13:20); who is saved in an “eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9); who is liberated in an “eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12); who is called to “eternal glory” (I Pet. 5:10); who is kept for an “eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:16); who is cheered by “eternal comfort” (II Thess. 2:16); who is assured of “an eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17); who should be thinking of “eternal habitations” (Luke 16:9); and be aiming at an abundant entrance into the “eternal Kingdom” (II Pet 1:11).

To the unbeliever in his doom, who is said to be cast into “eternal fire” (Matt. 18:8: 25:41; Jude 7); to be under the sentence of “eternal judgment” (Heb. 6:2); because of eternal sin (Mark 3:29. A.S.V.), which means eternal destruction” (II Thess. 1:9), and “everlasting punishment” (Matt. 25:46).

 

Finally, THE REMEDY IDENTIFIED

 

Our text reads, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Throughout the long history of God’s dealings with sinful men, the Word of God has always been that guide book sinners resort to for clear instruction concerning the remedy of our sins.

Psalm 119.89 comforts us with the assurance that “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Even so, God in His infinite wisdom chose to reveal His precious Word to us gradually, using more than forty human authors who were born along by the Spirit of God to transmit His Word a bit at a time over a span of sixteen centuries.

This means the complete revelation of God’s Word was not available to God’s people until John the Beloved was used to deliver his Revelation of Jesus Christ and the New Testament letters, gospels, and the book of Acts were brought together. Thus, men of Abraham’s day, and men of David’s day, and men of John the Baptist’s day did not have a complete Bible in their hands.

However, they still knew what their responsibility was for addressing their sin problems, even if they did not fully understand what the Lord Jesus Christ would do. The example of Abraham served to instruct one and all, when “he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

As additional Bible truth was added to what had been passed on from the patriarchs before the Flood by Noah to succeeding generations, ceremonies and rituals were added by God for the purpose of preparing mankind for the promised Messiah. However, those temporary observations were never meant to replace the means illustrated by Abraham, which is faith.

Then came the day when Jesus, the Son of God, the promised Messiah who fulfilled so many Old Testament prophecies, delivered what the forms and ceremonies only anticipated, when He shed His blood a sacrifice for sin on Calvary’s cruel and rugged cross, the Just for the unjust that He might bring us to God.

For thousands of years men had known that sin was a barrier to union and communion with God because of His holy nature and our own defiled nature. For thousands of years men had the dim light of ceremony and ritual suggesting that an innocent must die for the guilty and that the benefit is appropriated by faith. So, for a long time men knew little more than Psalm 119.9, which can be paraphrased, “Deal with your sin by doing what the Bible says to do.”

Sinful men understood very, very little along the way. However, they had enough. There was enough truth and just a glimmer of light so that Abraham was saved, and Isaac, and then Jacob. As the prophets began to speak and then to write even more light was shed, along with the Psalms of David and other portions of scripture. With each additional book the light of illumination shined a bit brighter, and so long as men would simply obey what the Bible said their sin problem was remedied.

Now, of course, we have the completed revelation of God’s Word, and the situation sinners have faced for thousands of years is so much clearer. Sin separates men from God, sin kills men, sin brings condemnation upon men. Men cannot remedy their own sin issues, but are wholly dependent upon Another, a Substitute who was promised long ago. That Substitute finally came and took the place of sinners at the place of God’s judgment, shedding His blood to wash away our sins.

Who is this Remedy Who has been identified as the Solution for sinful man’s great problem? It is none other than Jesus Christ, the Righteous, the sinless Son of the living God, Who left heaven’s glory to take our sins upon Himself and to suffer the penalty God’s holiness demanded for our sins. How is this Remedy to benefit the sinner? Faith. It has always been faith. Faith is that means God has ordained by which He communicates to you the benefits of Christ’s saving work on the cross. Salvation from your sins comes if your faith is placed in, if your faith is placed on, if you simply trust Jesus Christ.

 

I know the old, old story seems unsophisticated and unappealing to many. However, the only remedy for sin anyone has ever found is the remedy found in the Old Book. The Remedy is tested, tried, and true. Jesus never fails.

Of course, it gratifies the sinful ego to discover some clever new approach to this age-old problem of sin. However, there is no workable new approach to this old problem.

The remedy for sin is the blood of Christ, and nothing cleanses the sin-stained soul but the blood of Jesus. That is why we must turn to the Bible, and only the Bible, to show us the way to Jesus: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Psychology deals with sin by denying that wrong is wrong, by denying the existence of God, and by pretending guilt is just misunderstanding. Evolutionists would have us believe that we are barnyard animals, but have no explanation why people who behave like barnyard animals are so desperately guilty.

No. There is a God. You have been created by God with a spiritual side to you. Thus, when you sin (and you do sin) you are guilty and you feel guilty. Try as you will to harden your heart and sear your conscience, you have still been made in the image and likeness of God.

That means you have an eternal and undying soul deeply affected by your sinning, terribly lost by being cut off from God, and in great need of God’s Remedy. How do we know what the Remedy is? The Bible. The Bible. Open the Bible! The answer is found here.

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” And what will you do if you take heed thereto according to God’s Word? You will fly to Christ. The Sufficient Savior of sinful men’s souls, and the only Remedy for sin.



[1] Emery H. Bancroft, Christian Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, revised edition 1961), page 203.

[2] Ibid., page 204.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., page 205.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., page 206.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid., page 207.

[9] Ibid.

[10] This material taken from Emery H. Bancroft, Christian Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, revised edition 1961), pages 209-211.



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org