I came across a phrase in reading evening prayer; a phrase that wouldn’t let me go. What joyful captivity.
Tonight’s Psalms (in the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer) were Psalm 126 through Psalm 131. As often happens, the Holy Spirit fixed one passage on my heart and it is this one:
“O Israel, trust in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy: and with him is plenteous redemption.” Psalm 130:7 (the Coverdale version, the Book of Common Prayer, 1662).
The word “Plenteous” sounds archaic to us. Yet, as was so often in Elizabethan English, the word was perfectly suited to translate the original (or, in this case, the Latin Vulgate of the original). “Plenteous” communicates the truth so well. It is not just that there is a great abundance of something, but in saying that there is “plenteous redemption” the psalmist points to an overflowing, inexhaustible harvest of redemption. In the word, “redemption,” the Holy Spirit is pointing to a price paid by God himself to secure us from the grip of the devil and from the consequences of our own sins. In short, in Jesus Christ, there is an immeasurable supply of divine forgiveness through the sacrificial blood of the Son of God.
The import of this passage is simply, wonderfully, and mercifully this: When you receive God’s mercy-in-flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ, then, no matter what you have done, and no matter what you have left undone, and whatever label you have earned rightfully—tragically—through your willful cosmic rebellion—or have been justifiably calumnied through injustice, this one thing is so: Your sin, or the sin against you, cannot ultimately condemn, control, and define you. You now exist within the inexhaustible love of God in Christ.
Therefore, if I could say anything to you tonight — those whom God has called to read these words — it would be this: in God’s plan of salvation, by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the resurrected, raining, and returning Savior of the world, you have in him “plenteous redemption.” It is a mostly unused word forever in the service of God’s covenantal love in Christ:
“Plenteous,” I whisper the word to myself, as I reclined, stretching for the bedside lamp; intoning each syllable as if not to waste the whole of the word, or disturb the stilled beauty of a few moments with God.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
PS: Faith for Lving will broadcast a Sunday morning online service for those who cannot go into the house of the Lord. You will be warmly welcomed to be a part.