Links Daily Devotional

The Bounce Back

For Your lovingkindness toward me is great,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. (Psalm 86:13, NASB)

A birdie is great. But a birdie after the humble pie of a double bogey is a bounce back. It’s better—it’s more satisfying. Winning a match also is great. But winning after being five down with six holes to go is a bounce back. It’s better, it’s more satisfying, and it’s definitely worth talking about!

When we read that we are children of wrath by nature (Ephesians 2:1-3), that we are dead in our sins, and that our soul is in the depths of Sheol—as today’s passage indicates—our skin crawls. Surely we deserve better or we can get ourselves out of this predicament, we think. But darkness remains darkness, unless light comes in. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:6: “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

This heart deliverance starts with the lovingkindness and mercy of God toward us through the work of the Holy Spirit. “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

When we receive love instead of wrath, we become willing victims of grace. God sent his Son to take the entire wrath that our sins deserved, and so took away all our sin and fear of punishment. Christ sets us free (Galatians 5:1). He gives us freedom from our evil inclination by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and freedom from the chains of condemnation by the justification of his holy sacrifice. It is more, though not less, than full pardon; it is complete acceptance. The Gospel announces that through Christ, the Father adopts us, though we deserved his wrath. Now that’s a bounce back!

As premise builds upon premise, this divine adoption begets a firm foundation. We are told that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). Does this apply to your sin today and tomorrow if you are a Christian? Yes. Nothing can separate you. How about yourself? Not even that—Jesus tells us nothing can snatch you from his hand (John 10:28). Do you believe this? This promise is truly amazing, and can be difficult to believe. But as Dr. Tim Keller says: “If you didn’t earn your salvation to begin with…how can you unearn it?” Though it seems simple, the inner awareness of our guilt often doesn’t let us appreciate this fully. Sin and the underlying fear of disapproval ever work to keep us slaves to their master. By not believing the utter magnificence of grace, we are not taking hold of all that Christ has paid for us with His precious unblemished blood.

The yoke of fear, however small it may seem, steals the joy and love of God in our lives like each shot in the sand grinds away at the grooves. And like a little offset in your stance, it expands unnoticed until the day of the tournament. Christ saved us completely; we can rest in him. It is his stance, not yours, that counts. He has not failed and he will not fail. He is the one “who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:8-9).

Love is great. But grace, or undeserved love, is better. The infinite distance that lies between us and God, sin and holiness, death and life, only magnifies our Redeemer’s awesome power and love in saving us. God’s glorious grace satisfies the enormity of the cosmic chasm and the immeasurable thirst of our souls; it is not only worth talking about, it is worth praising about! From the depths of Sheol, with the Psalmist, where we are six down with fives holes to go, let us join in wholehearted song of praise to the one God who creates the bounce back and wins the impossible match for our life: “Your lovingkindness toward me is great.”

Isabelle Beisiegel
November 19, 2013
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The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.