What Actually Took Place is This:

51 1-3 Generous in love—God, give grace!
    Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
    soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
    my sins are staring me down.

4-6 You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
    it all, seen the full extent of my evil. — the impact on not only myself, but on others
You have all the facts before you;
    whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
    in the wrong since before I was born. — because You knew my heart before I was born
What you’re after is truth from the inside out. {Surely I was sinful at birth… from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness – NIV}
     Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
    scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life. — sanctify me
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
    set these once-broken bones to dancing. {let the bones you have crushed rejoice – NIV} — restore me
Don’t look too close for blemishes, {hide your face from my sins – ESV}
     give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
    shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. — bring this chaos and darkness to order and light (Genesis 1: 2-4)
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
    or fail to breathe holiness in me. — don’t give up on me as I have done You in my life, when I deserved nothing more than to be thrown in the trash
Bring me back from gray exile, — what the world says You are verses who You truly are
     put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God, {Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me – ESV}
     and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
    I’ll let loose with your praise. {a willing spirit – ESV}

16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
    a flawless performance is nothing to you. — an act for an audience
I learned God-worship — I learned what true worship and adoration is when You brought me from sin and death
     when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
    don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. — You were always there to rescue me when I was willing to run to You for rescue

18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
    repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls. — repair us
Then you’ll get real worship from us, — worship and praise from rescuing us
     acts of worship small and large, {right sacrifices – ESV}
Including all the bulls
     they can heave onto your altar!

– Psalm 51 {The Message}


“When we read the Gospel accounts, we see many responses to Jesus… No one, though, was ever bored by Him. That simply wasn’t an option. Today the lukewarm temperature of many Christians has done something Jesus’s most devout followers and fiercest enemies could never do: we’ve made Him look boring.” – Christianity Lite, by Glen Berteau


19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

– Galatians 2:19-21 {The Message)


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