The Divine Blueprints of Man's Redemption
An address by the Rev. S. Franklin Logsdon given at The Moody Church, Sunday evening, January 9, 1949.*
Shall we turn in our Father’s Word tonight to the 85th Psalm and we shall begin reading with verse 7.
“Shew us Thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us Thy salvation. I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to folly. Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before Him; and shall set us in the way of His steps.”
If the frequent recurrence of a matter in a given portion of Scripture offers us any interpretive value, then this little psalm of some thirteen verses has as its general and its glorious theme the matter of salvation. For you will note, if you look carefully, that not only does the word salvation itself occur several times, but you have such terms as deliverance and the forgiveness of sins. But, I want you to notice just a few thoughts which to my mind, and I believe to yours as well, will prove to be very profitable. We shall find ourselves ere this meditation is over entering into the council chambers of the Most High in eternity past. We ought to tread softly, as we come before His divine presence. But, will you notice in verse 7 the petition of the psalmist when waxing bold in his confidence toward God, he said, “Shew us Thy mercy, O Lord.” You will recall when Moses of old waxed bold in petitioning the Most High, he said, “shew me Thy glory.” That was a wonderful request and the Lord granted his request, but He waited some 1500 years when on the mountain of transfiguration and Moses was present with Elijah, there burst forth from the person of the Lord the effulgence of His glory in blinding brilliance.
But, I submit to you that this petition of the psalmist is more profound than the petition of Moses. Here the psalmist says, “Shew us Thy mercy.” Now, I believe personally, based upon the context, that the Lord was wonderfully honored when His servant made this petition. You will notice after the petition is offered there is confidence of soul, expectancy of heart, for in verse 8 he says, “I will hear what God the Lord shall speak.” In other words, I have placed my petition with confidence before Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. And now, having laid my petition before the throne I am going to sit back and wait expectantly for the Lord to speak. Wouldn’t it be sad if the heavens remained silent? Would it not be passingly sorrowful for each of us if heaven had never spoken? Ah, but heaven did speak. The heavens reverberated with the announcements of the Most High. “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” But you see this is prophetic. This was before the coming of the Lord Jesus. But with confidence and assurance the psalmist says, “I will hear.” Oh, beloved people, we must listen to God speaking. We must have ears to hear, for the voice from the firmament which sounded and resounded in the days of Ezekiel is the voice that comes to us through the Word of God. It is an incomparable voice for “Never man spake as this man.” It is an invigorating voice for He says, “Be of good cheer.” It is an enlivening voice for He says, “The hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.”
Now, what did the psalmist expect the voice of God to say? What did he think the voice of the Lord would say? Verse 8 continues, “For He will speak peace.” The sweetest word in sound and in significance in the language of man, excepting love, is peace. When Jesus spoke peace to my soul, He whispered, “Thy faith makes thee whole.” Full pardon I give and now thou shalt live with this wonderful peace in thy soul. Tell me, have you heard Him speak peace to your soul? Peace is the product of justification and the Lord justifies the ungodly, the only candidates for justification. Now, I will hear what the Lord will speak because He will speak peace.
Keep this thought in mind now for as we come down to verse 10 you notice that there is a change, something of an abrupt change, exegetically or from the homiletical point of view you can expect the development of a matter here that ought to arrest our attention quickly and definitely, completely. I believe verse 10 is the beginning of the answer to the petition of the psalmist when he said, “Shew us Thy mercy,” and the Lord having confidence in Thee that Thou art able to reveal unto man through Thy spirit the things of Thy provision and waiting, Lord, with great expectancy I know that Thou wilt speak, and I know that when Thou dost speak it will be a message of peace. Now God speaks and this is what He says, “Mercy and truth are met together.” Since our time is necessarily limited and we are not in the classroom and we cannot go too much into detail, we shall allude only briefly to some of the profound facts embodied in verses 10 and 11. First of all, you will notice here that mercy stands for a personality; it’s a personification. God the Father is the Father of mercy. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” So, in the councils of the Almighty before the world began the Father and the Son met together.
Someone said recently when I was dealing with this particular passage in a Bible conference down in Reading, Pennsylvania on the Harrisburg circuit, “You know, somehow or other we ought to see the Trinity in that verse. I wonder if it would be doing an injustice to the Scriptures to say that the Holy Spirit was the secretary of the council or conference and that the word that we have concerning it is nothing more, nothing less than the minutes of the meeting.” Well, I said to that brother. “I feel confident in my heart that that would be all right. I am sure that the Holy Spirit has much to do with our salvation and even in its planning.” But notice now—here is a meeting. We have read and we have heard messages time and time again about the Lamb being slain from before the foundation of the Earth or the world. Oh, does it mean anything to you? The salvation we have in common was worked out in the councils of the Almighty. I submit to you that this is without any question the most unique meeting about which the human family has any knowledge. You recall in years gone by the great meetings of world leaders at Dakar, Teheran and Potsdam when weighty matters were in issue, but there was no meeting quite like this.
Now, if we can or if we will tread softly and enter reverently and prayerfully in thought into the council chamber of the Most High before the Earth was formed, you will notice something of the consideration. What was it? It was this in brief: How can hellbound sinners become heavenbound saints? No little matter this. It concerned you. It concerned me. How can far ones become nigh, reconciled unto God? How can God be just and the justifier of the ungodly? And mark you this; above every other consideration this must of necessity be prominent and pronounced. God must preserve the integrity of His character. He must remain righteous in all His judgments and so mercy and truth met together.
Without pressing matters too much, will you notice the suggestion here in verse 10 the second part. Mercy and truth emerge from the council chambers but not as mercy, not as truth, yet being both the designation here is as you will notice righteousness and peace. What does that speak to you? What does it mean to you? It means that God Almighty, the thrice holy and the altogether righteous One has found a way to be merciful to mankind and at the same time to preserve His righteousness inviolate. And how and why? Because truth voluntarily became, in the plans of omniscience and omnipotence, our peace making peace for us by the blood of His cross. Now, will you notice also here it says that righteousness and truth kissed. You need not add the other two words that are in italics. They in no wise detract from the meaning, but they are not necessary there at all. They kissed! Now, without going into any exegetical or expository detail, may I submit to you advisedly that the term here means there was agreement in the plans that were laid. Love found a way to redeem my soul; love found a way to make me whole—and there was agreement on the matter. It meant that God must give His only begotten Son; it meant that the Son must give His life as a propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world. Oh, what a wonderful Saviour is Jesus our Lord; what a wonderful Saviour to me. And I trust to you as well.
I have alluded to the great conferences that have been held in recent years during the course of World War II—Dakar, Teheran, Potsdam,—where weighty matters were before the leaders of the nations; your interest and mine, the free institutions loved and cherished by mankind in free countries. But, I can submit to you and it is an open secret that there wasn’t any kissing at the close of any one of those great conferences. Why? There was never complete agreement. Different here—mercy and truth met together; plans laid whereby God could be merciful and still be righteous, for a proof was willing to be made peace and to make peace for us by the blood of His cross. Now, may I also allude again to these world meetings of such wide publicity and interest? What was the main purpose for those meetings? Well, they were made necessary because a usurper was over-running free peoples destroying their institutions. They were trying to devise means and methods whereby the usurper could be defeated. That is precisely the thought in the mid of the omnipotent godhead back in eternity past.
This old world, John tells us in his first epistle, chapter 5, lies in the lap of the evil one; the usurper has run over the interests of men and women around the world in every age, and the usurper must be put down. Whatever the plans were the world was not advised. We just waited for D-Day. We waited for D-Day, bless God, and may our hearts be sincere in thanking Him, the day came and brought victory after a fashion, at any rate. But God Almighty tells us how He is going to make the invasion. The realm overrun by the enemy must be invaded by the victor—how is it going to take place? Will God send great companies from the glory with transcendent power, and men and women opposing the Lord and His Christ will be stricken and the devil will be utterly defeated that way? Ah, no, that’s not the way. This is the way. Notice, if you will, in verse 12, “Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good.” Never any expression like this before. Why, it was do and thou shalt life; the rigorous exactions of the law, but now it is give. God shall give; God who spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things? But there has to be an invasion of the realm that is overrun by the usurper, and we are told here in verse 11 that “Truth shall spring out of the earth.” Truth! Why truth met with mercy in the council chambers. It is truth that springs out of the earth to become our peace and you need not go very far in the Scriptures to find an explanation of truth, the Omnipotent One who created all things and without Him was not anything made that was made.
Isaiah chapter 53, verse 2: “He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of the dry ground.” Ah, this speaks of the incarnation of the Son of God. He will come as a branch. You know the manger—in the account of the incarnation itself at Bethlehem—a branch was put in the manger. It put a Word on the cross and it put a Lamb on the throne. The Lord Jesus came in a way that was certainly not spectacular—a little babe in a manger. He sprang as it were out of the dry ground. But, if you will notice here in this 11th verse, “Righteousness shall look down from heaven” and you know at the time when the Lord Jesus was baptized of John in the Jordan the Holy Spirit descended as a dove upon Him and righteousness bending over the path to glory called down as well as looked down and said, this root that sprang out of dry ground invading the realm under foot the sons of Adam. God looks down upon that humble one who is hated and despised and rejected of men and He says, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” and the plan develops and God gives. Because He gave His Son He can give through His Son that which was in His heart and His mind before the worlds were made—salvation for you and for me.
Now, notice if you will, in verse 13, “Righteousness shall go before him.” Before whom? Before truth who became our peace, and oh the wealth of biblical matter to support the beautiful thought embodied here. Why even the journey from Bethlehem to Egypt when Herod would have destroyed all the male babies, righteousness was going before Him. And all along when the conspirators rose up against the Lord Jesus and sought to divert His course, righteousness went before Him. But, here is the appeal now to our hearts, “And shall set us”—you and me, any and all of the sons of Adam who will put their faith and confidence and trust in the finished work of Him who died on the cross to make possible our peace, “Shall set us in the way of His steps.” The picture is this in brief. In the blueprints of omniscience for the redemption of man, God found a way to change the course of hellbound sinners making them to become heavenbound saints. Those that were dead in trespasses and sins to become quickened, integrated into the very body of His Son to become members of the household of faith and of the family of God, and this is the picture. He who came from the supernal realms into this land of woe, quitting the ivory palaces, putting aside His royal wardrobe of Psalm 45, springing up as a tender plant out of the dry ground, goes to the cross where He is ignominiously suspended between earth and sky; in that way, and in that way only can He exert a power to attract us from the paths of sin and hopelessness and to translate us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.
Oh, was it the nails, dear Saviour,
That held Thee to the tree?
Nay, it was Thy love
For me, for me.
Oh, help me to understand it, Lord,
Help me to take it in;
How Thou the Holy One
Could bear away my sin.
And He says if ye come unto Me, ye who are heavy laden and burdened and weighted down with your sin; and while you in yourselves are impotent, utterly unable to do anything for yourself because I have done the work for you. Now, by your putting your faith and trust in Me, I will take you from the broad way and transplant your feet in the narrow way which leads into the presence of God, whence our forerunner has gone, even the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have sung so many times and, perhaps, lightly, the old hymn, “Stepping in the Light.” Oh, how wonderful to walk in the steps of the Saviour. But, do you know what is involved in that? You have it in the 85th Psalm. The meeting, the volunteered sacrifice of Christ; His coming from the throne above to the lowest depths of earth and then dying in that cursed, cruel way on the cross of Calvary. Why? That He might make possible for us deliverance of light and in His magnetic, in His powerful, in His omnipotent way and through His great love, He reaches down upon every believing man or woman, takes them out of their hopelessness and their sin and puts them, establishes them in the steps of the Saviour, and those steps lead on through the heavens into the very presence of God Himself. Oh, how wonderful is God’s plan of salvation for us. Here is the broad way and many there be which go in thereat. Here is the straight gate and narrow the way and few there be which find it, but all who come to the door enter. Jesus said, “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” I appeal to your hearts tonight to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and let Him establish you in the steps of the Saviour; in the steps that lead home, and then you may join the company of those who reposed faith in Him as they traveled down the course of time. Some have gone through the veil into the presence of the Lord and others of us are yet in the way and whosoever will may come and it is open to all.
*At the time this messages was given, Rev. S. Franklin Logsdon was the pastor of the Central Baptist Church of London, Ontario, Canada, where he also conducted a weekly broadcast. He was widely known as a Bible conference speaker and author of the book “Crucified to Live,” and the teacher of Homiletics at the London Bible Institute. In 1951, he became the Senior Pastor of The Moody Church.