Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love. Psalm 51:1 (ESV)
I remember having to discuss a case study with a group of trainee evangelist of whether a Christian who commits suicide will go to heaven. Here’s Paul Tripp’s answer.
“Suicide doesn’t change the paradigm.Think with me: who of us could lie in bed during the last hours of our life and look back and say to ourselves that we have been as good a person could be? Wouldn’t all of us look back and have regrets about things we have chosen, said, and done? None of us is able to commend ourselves to God on the basis of our performance. In this way, the person who has committed suicide and the person who hasn’t are exactly the same. Both of them are completely dependent on the forgiveness of a God of grace, in order to have any hope for eternity.”
You and I share identity with the hypothetical suicidal man just as we share identity with the adulterous and murderous king of Psalm 51. Our only hope is one thing—God’s “steadfast love” and his “abundant mercy” (v.1). We cannot look to our education, or family, or ministry track record, or our theological knowledge, or our evangelistic zeal, or our faithful obedience. We have one hope, it is the hope to which this ancient psalm looks. Here is that hope in the words of a wonderful old hymn, “Jesus Paid It All”:
Since nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garment white
In the blood of Calvary’s lamb.
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow.
This morning as I was reading this devotion, I realise how easy it is for me to be captured by the wonderful things that are written in the meditations and fail to meditate on the truths themselves. The author at the end of the devotions asks some really tough questions that will do the reader a whole good if one dares to think through them. Here’s one of the question for devotion 5.
Do you really believe that your hope in life is found in God’s grace? Is your daily habit to admit that there is nothing you have done or could ever do to earn or deserve the blessings that you have been given? Is your life more characterized by thankfulness or complaint?