O God of grace,

Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute, and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with jewels of holiness.

But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penetential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in flilthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for Thou dost always justify the ungodly.

I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying “Father, forgive me,” and Thou art always bringing forth the best robe.

Every morning, let me wear it, ever evening return in it, go to the day’s work in it, be married it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it, shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.

fron The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Publishing, 1975.

I am reminded of Augustus Toplady’s “Rock of Ages.”

Where is Christ and Him crucified?  Tell people their sins are forgiven, not that their marriages can be better in five easy (or even not-so-easy) steps.  Tell them Jesus died a horrible death in their place, not that God wants them to prosper financially.  Tell them that Jesus intercedes for them, seated at the right hand of the Father and that He is coming to judge the living and the dead and that the only way they are justified is by being clothed by Christ in His righteousness.

Let me say this loudly and often: the Gospel is not to be assumed.  The Christian and non-Christian alike need to hear it every Sunday.  Not merely a reading FROM a Gospel passage, though God’s Word is central.  Not merely an appeal to the non-Christian to bow before Christ, though we are called to preach repentance to them as well.  With all of these things MUST come the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins.  Every. Sunday.