“Occupied with Joy” – Ecclesiastes 5:8–20
Please open your Bibles to Ecclesiastes 5:8-20. Hear now, the word of the Lord from Ecclesiastes chapter five, starting in verse eight.
8 If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. 9 But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.
13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? 17 Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.
18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
Ecclesiastes 5:8-20, ESV
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God endures forever. Well, on May 18th, 1860, it's about one hundred and fifty years ago, in the city of Chicago, Illinois, the very young Republican Party was gathering for a presidential primary election for that year. Far and away the expected winner that year was Senator William Seward from New York. He was widely expected to win the presidential election for the party that year.
On the first ballot, it reflected that fact. He received one hundred seventy three and a half of the electoral votes. He almost doubled the number of votes that were received by the runner up. The runner up only received 102. So those top two candidates received more than the majority of votes because there was 466 delegates. But one hundred and seventy three was not a majority in itself. And so there had to be a reballot and the favorite then had to go up again against all of these other candidates who were competing for his elections.
Well, you've probably heard the name of the man who was second place on that first ballot. His name was Abraham Lincoln. As his biographer tells the story, Lincoln's strategy was quite interesting. His goal was not to win the election outright on the first ballot because he knew if he had to do that, if he was going up directly against all the challengers who were vying for the presidential nomination that year from the party that he wouldn't win. In fact, he would burn a lot of bridges along the way by having to go against these other candidates. His strategy was not to win the election outright. His strategy was to be everyone's second choice.
Now that requires a lot of humility, not to want to go and be the best, but it was a very wise and cunning political calculation. Because in the second ballot, when everyone who didn't want Senator William H. Seward from New York to be the presidential nominee for the party saw that he had far and away the most votes of that presidential nomination cycle. On the second ballot, many of the votes shifted to Lincoln. Lincoln went from 102 votes to 181 votes on the next ballot.
Then the third ballot, he received 231.5. Until a number of people finally switched their votes to fall behind Lincoln, winning 349 out of the 466 electoral votes, winning the nomination and eventually the presidency.
Now there's a really interesting paradox here. I mean, think about this. Lincoln's strategy to win the presidential nomination was to try not to win the presidential nomination. He was trying to win it and his strategy for winning it was to try not to win it outright, because he knew that was a strategy that he couldn't win, that he couldn't pull off.
Again, it's a very difficult thing to do. It requires a lot of humility not to just go for something. Indeed, if we have our eyes on a prize in life, the very natural temptation is to go directly for it, to try to take hold of it right away. But in life, the Bible says that what we want we cannot pursue directly. If we want to gain the things that we want, we cannot walk by sight. We must instead walk by faith. We can't go straight after the satisfaction that we see in front of us with our eyes, the things that by all outward appearances we believe will satisfy us. Instead, we must walk by faith, trusting that the promises of God will provide to us the enduring, lasting joy and satisfaction that our hearts so desperately crave.
Well, the problem is from God's word that we are considering together today is our big idea that God provides paradoxical joy. Joy that we don't go after directly and try to take it by the horns on its own. But joy that we seek by trusting and depending upon God's promises, by faith.
So the three points this morning,
1. Public Injustice
2. Painful Wealth
3. Paradoxical Joy.
Well, the first section marked the first two verses where we see public injustice. Now versus eight and nine of chapter five are both very difficult to translate, we'll talk a little bit about that. But the general idea is very clear in both cases. The preacher is talking about breakdowns in public life. And so first, he talks about breakdowns in public justice.
So in Ecclesiastes 5:8, he writes, "If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them." Now again, this is a little bit difficult to translate, but the basic sense is clear. When you see injustice, when you see oppressions, don't be surprised by that. Don't be amazed by that. Don't be vexed by this. Why? Because corruption will be a fixture of life in this broken, sinful world. It will be the norm. It will not be the exception.
Now, the preacher points to something that maybe helps to some degree with this. He points to the high officials overseeing the corruption and the higher officials overseeing the officials over the corruption and the still higher officials overseeing everyone. He says it's good and right for there to be accountability, for there to be oversight. It's necessary for there to be in light of the corruption that's so prevalent in this world. But he's also saying that doesn't solve the problem. We need this ever increasing bureaucracy in an attempt to solve the issue, but even that can't fundamentally fix the issue.
Now, one commentator says it is very possible that the very last section of high officials, high officials yet higher ones over them, the very end of that verse. It's possible that that's referring to the final authority the final judge got himself overseeing all this situation. Now Benjamin Cha, the commentator who writes this, acknowledges that that's not necessarily the clearest way to interpret this again. It's a hard verse to translate. If so, if that were the case, it would certainly fit in with the larger message of Ecclesiastes. If you remember in Ecclesiastes 3:17, the preacher said in his heart, "God will judge the righteous and the wicked for there is a time, for every matter and for every work." But the point is that will not come in this life. That final justice will not come in this life, and we shouldn't be surprised when we see the corruption that pops up in this world.
Well, he moves on from public justice to issues of public productivity, In verse nine, he says, "But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields." Now, the difficult part of translating this verse is that word cultivated. The word is simple enough, it's the word that's often translated as served. When you're talking about a person being served, you would use that word, but when you're talking about a field, you could talk about the field being served or it being worked, or it being cultivated as the English Standard Version has it here.
If it's the first sense that the king is the one being served, then this is a statement that the king's power is dependent upon agriculture. No matter how much power a king seems to have, no matter how big his army is, no matter how wealthy he is, if he can't provide food for his people, then his power is severely jeopardized. But more likely, this word for served, like the ESV has, it doesn't refer to the king and you really can't tell totally just from the verse itself. More likely, it refers not to the king, but to the fields. So in this case, it would refer to something like a king for or over a cultivated field, or as the ESV has it, a king committed to the cultivated field. Here this would mean that the king's proper role is to ensure freedom for people to cultivate their fields for the flourishing of the whole population.
And part of the reason I think the second meaning is more likely in trying to interpret this is it makes a little bit of sense in context with verse eight. He's saying that in light of all the public injustice, the final say, where the buck stops in this life, is the king. He is the final corrective to worldly injustices. The goal there is to make sure that people have the freedom to cultivate their fields for the productivity and the flourishing of that whole population.
So why is he saying this? Well, the point is not that the preacher wants to look at this and lament. The point is not that we should be passive and fatalistic. Well, I guess there it goes again, it's just going to happen. The point is that the preacher wants us to be realistic, to not be surprised, not to be amazed when this happens. Why does he want us not to be amazed, not to be surprised? Because there's a warning here. The more we're trying to find some kind of satisfaction, some kind of stability, some kind of hope. We should not put our hope in the public institutions of this world. Not in public figures and not in public institutions, because human figures, human institutions will always let us down. As stable and as secure as they seem, they will always let us down.
Ten years ago, a long time before I came to Harvest, I served a time as an interim pastor for a church whose previous pastor had to resign because of moral failure. And I remember the early days of serving in that church and talking with a lot of people and how hurt and disillusioned and distraught they were. Hearing stories about people who had already left the church so frustrated by what was happening. To some degree, I remember at the time thinking, I don't understand it. Why are they so surprised? Sinners, sin? Corruption exists in this world. They shouldn't be amazed by this.
I talked to someone and expressed this, and this person said, Well, look, this is a pastor who's led them, a pastor who's preached to them about how to live. Here they're discovering that this is in fact, in large case, a lie in the way that he had been personally carrying out his life. That helped to make a little bit of sense, but where this message really came home was about a month later. You see, my wife and I did not leave our church at the time. We continued in our normal church while I was serving. Our normal church meet in the evenings and this other church meet in the morning, so I could preach in the morning and then go to our normal church in the evenings. So we stayed involved in both churches.
About a month later, my pastor at that church confessed to a sin that was morally disqualifying and he was deposed from ministry. So in about a month, suddenly I was the one who was blindsided. I was the one who was shocked and amazed and vexed by all of this. I was amazed. How could this happen?
Now, the point is not to stir up distrust against pastors. The point is not to excuse sin. The point is not to harden our hearts so that we never let anyone close to us lest they hurt us. The point is not to withdraw from relationships to people, or certainly not from the church. The point of all of this is that the preacher wants us to be wise in a very particular way. To be wise, not to put our ultimate hope in human beings or in public institutions.
Why? Well, corruption should grieve us and corruption must be dealt with. And corruption needs to be preventatively addressed by healthy oversight, healthy accountability. As a pastor, I desperately want oversight in my life. As a pastor my job is to help give you oversight in your life. The preacher wants to make sure that corruption in public life will not sink our faith, will not leave us disillusioned so that we turn away from God forever. He's saying, don't be amazed by this, but by all means, don't put your hope in something that can and will let you down.
The preacher also doesn't want to leave us thinking that the only sins in this world are the sins of corruption for those who are in authority, whether civil authority or whether authority in the church. The preacher then brings his critique and his warnings much closer to home. He stops talking about those in public and he starts talking about you where you are in your heart, especially in your relationship to wealth in life. He has serious warnings for us about the bitter pain of the pursuit of wealth can bring. And so this brings us to our second section painful wealth in Ecclesiastes 5:10-17.
The preacher says this, "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity." What the preacher saying here, is don't look to wealth? Don't let that be your hope. Don't let that be the place that you put your trust. Don't depend upon that for your salvation and satisfaction, because money is not something that can ultimately give you joy, that can ultimately satisfy you.
Charles Bridges, in his commentary, pushes this in in language that I think helps to explain what he's saying. He talks about appetites. Think about the appetites that you have in your life. You have an appetite for hunger, but when you eat food, that appetite is satisfied. It's satiated. You're no longer hungry after you eat food. That's the proper way that God has created that appetite to address food. What about the appetite of thirst? When you're thirsty, you can drink some water, and that appetite of thirst will be addressed.
Here's the thing about money. Money is an appetite that when you get what you are hungry for, it doesn't satisfy your appetite. In fact, it creates more of an appetite. You get some money, you want some more money. You're hungry for that money and you get it, that only creates an appetite for greater money, and more and more and more. You're just as unsatisfied, in fact, more unsatisfied as you were before you got the thing that you were trying to gain. Because you can't go directly for joy in this life. The paradoxical joy is what we gain, not by sight, but by faith.
Instead, the preacher warns us, life in this world, if you're chasing after money only will mean more problems in life. Look at verse 11, he says, "When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?" Now, a lot of wealth in our day and age is sort of created at a distance. Sometimes, you put money in a stock market and some company that maybe is on the other side of the country or the world and whatever's happening there, you don't know, but at the end of the day, it provides a dividend and wealth is created.
But in these days, the way wealth was created was much closer to home. It was with a farming operation. It was in flourishing of trying to get the field tilled and the crops grown and the agriculture the animals raised and livestock which are growing and reproducing and healthy. That takes a lot of people to keep that farming operation going. Well, when you have all of these servants that you hire to do this work, that means more mouths to feed. So when goods increase, when you have this flourishing operation with lots of employees. Well, the ones who eat the goods that you're producing also increase. More money, more problems, more complications.
Then he says, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? What advantage does this owner really have but more problems and the ability just to see the expressiveness of the operation that he's trying to keep all the plates spinning for that?
Instead in verse 12, the preacher says, "Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep." Those who labor in common simple ways sleep sweetly, but those who are anxious about their money have difficulty entering into the most basic of human activities sleep.
Now some of you employ people and I don't want to dissuade you from doing this. The preacher doesn't want to dissuade you from doing this. That's a good and a noble calling. But he wants you to make sure that you're not looking to this operation, this business as the place where you will find satisfaction and the place where you will define yourself and to lift yourself up. It will let you down. If you're looking for satisfaction there, you will only find toil.
Then he says in verses 13 to 17, he gives this story this parable of the way in which money cannot just provide complications, but he it creates what he calls a sickening evil. It's called a grievous evil, but literally it's kind of a sickening evil. This is a gut punch. He says, "There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture." All this toil to build up this wealth and all of those riches were lost in a moment in a bad venture. This is a gut punch. This is a sickening evil, but it gets worse.
"And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger."
Don't look to money as your source of satisfaction. Don't look to money and wealth and the business you can build as the way in which you will satisfy your soul. Because more money will only invariably mean more problems if you were looking to them to be your salvation.
Paul says the same thing in 1 Timothy 6:10, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." You see, here's the deal, when we think about money, we think about all the pleasures that money can buy. Money in many ways can be thought of as buying happiness because money can buy all the things that give us so much enjoyment in this life. With all the pleasures that money can bring, ultimately money cannot buy lasting real happiness. If you say I get a little bit of joy after spending money in this area, I will get ultimate joy if I put all of my efforts behind getting enough money to satisfy all of the cravings that I want in my life.
It doesn't work that way. The appetite it creates doesn't get satisfied. It only grows larger and more unsatisfied the more effort you put behind it. It's like drinking seawater if you're lost at sea. It's like what it would be to look around and water water everywhere and who says I can't drink it and to slake your thirst, to try to reach and and dip down into some of that cool water in the sea?
But what happens there is your body is built, in God's good providence, where there's a process of osmosis, where your cells are trying to balance the the water and saline content inside and outside your cells. So if there's a lot of water and salt in your body, the water inside your cells will try to leave the cells to try to compensate and dilute the salt outside the cells. When that happens in water leaves your cells, then your body says you're more thirsty and you become more thirsty and you drink again and more salt goes into your body until your cells are more and more dehydrated until your kidneys shut down and you die a slow and horrifying death. That's the kind of picture of this, of an appetite that cannot be satisfied. It will ultimately kill you if you drink from the salt water that wealth can give.
You can't put your hope in public life. You can't put your hope and your private stocks and in your wealth and in your business and in your toil, you can't find any hope for satisfaction in this world under the sun. So where then can you turn? What can you look for for satisfaction in life?
Well, it's not in the things of this world or in the systems and institutions of this world, but it's rather in God. Where this passage leads us into our big idea that God provides paradoxical joy. The third section, then, is about this paradoxical joy and versus 18 to 20. How then shall we live? Well, verse 18, "Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot."
Now wait a minute, you say just a moment. You said there isn't satisfaction, there isn't enjoyment in your toil and in your life. Why are you now saying that it's good and fitting to find enjoyment in your toil? Well, the point is not that we can actually, after all, find our enjoyment in pleasure. Remember the preacher in Ecclesiastes 2:1-8 tried to explore all the pleasures wine, women and song, and tried to find some lasting satisfaction somewhere in there and he experimented with everything, and none of it would provide this lasting satisfaction.
What the preacher is saying here is it's not that you were looking to the pleasures, it is that you were looking to the God who gives them not to the gifts of this life, but to the giver. It's a fundamentally different way to look at how we enjoy life.
In verse 19, he goes on. He says, "Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God." Again, the point is not to tell you to try to find satisfaction in your possessions. The preacher is counseling us to find joy and contentment and satisfaction in God, who is the giver of all good things. Derek Kidner, a commentator, writes " At first sight, this may look like the mere praise of simplicity and moderation, but in fact, the key word here is God, and the secret of life held out to us is openness to him, a readiness to take what comes to us as heaven sent, whether it is toil or wealth or both."
And so in verse 20, the preacher says for, explaining what he has been saying, "For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart."
There's a promise here. That if you live in this way where you were looking to God to find enjoyment and satisfaction in your life, whatever injustices you endure at the hands of public officials, whatever toil and hardship that you find that you have to enter into in the grueling parts of your life, that nevertheless, through it all, you will be occupied with joy. That's a promise from God.
You won't grow bitter and vexed because of the injustices of this world. You will rather be thankful for the freedoms that you do have. You won't be consumed by the riches that you gain or when you lose them, consumed with those. You will rather enjoy everything as a gift from God and able to hold it open handed for whenever he see fits to take it from you. God will keep you occupied with joy in your hearts.
Now, remember the strategy of Abraham Lincoln. It wasn't by directly pursuing the prize that he was able to gain. He had to go a different way. He had to depend not on trying to win outright, but he won outright by trying to be everyone's second choice. Well, in the same way in life, if we pursue satisfaction by a direct pursuit, if we pursue the stuff of this world, or put our satisfaction in the institutions of this world, we won't ultimately be satisfied or enjoy our life. If we live through this life and look at everything that we have as a gift from God, the attention not on the gift but on the giver, then we will find deep joy and our hearts will be occupied with joy.
Well, a few years ago, my wife and I went on vacation to Phoenix, and while we were there, we drove to the Grand Canyon. It's about a three and a half hour drive north to the Grand Canyon. Now here's the thing, the Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen with my own eyes. The Grand Canyon is more than everyone had even told me it was. It was absolutely breathtaking.
But the drive in Arizona? Let's just say it's not. It's not really a very attractive place to drive through Arizona. I once drove through Arizona in the middle of the summer. Thankfully, this wasn't then, and I felt like I was driving on the planet Mars. There was just death everywhere, just a long, extended journey of death.
Well, so this wasn't a particularly nice place to drive, but I will tell you, that's one of the favorite drives that I've ever made in my life. My wife and I had a few children by that time, three children, and this was three and a half hours there and three and a half hours back that we were able to talk uninterrupted because it was just us there. We were able to talk about so many things. We talk a lot, but that was a particularly enjoyable, engaging conversation.
The circumstances weren't great, who wants to be in a car for seven hours in a day? The scenery wasn't great again, most of it looked like a winterized form of Mars. Yet I was occupied with joy in my heart through this conversation because of the companionship that was a gift from God in that time.
That's what the preacher is telling us about here. Don't look at your circumstances. Don't look at your life and expect that in itself your life will give you joy and satisfaction and meaning. You can't gain the prize that you seek by going after it directly. You must go at it slant. You must come at it by a different angle. You must not look to the gifts and number of them up and see what's there and not that. You must instead look to the giver to be occupied with God's paradoxical joy.
That then, is our application today, be occupied with God's paradoxical joy. Don't chase after joy. Don't chase after happiness directly. We all want to be happy. We all want to be satisfied. But the Bible is warning us, especially the preacher who's tried everything under the sun, is warning you that wherever you look in this life, in this world, you will not find it. Everything and everyone will let you down, unless you start to look at this world, not by fixating on the gifts, but you start looking to the giver.
I was reading a theologian this week named John Webster, a theologian who's recently died, and he was talking about the creation of the world and the creation of the world out of nothing. It was very technical, a lot of it was over my head, but I was reading it and he made one point that was so interesting to me. He said the reason why people cannot get their heads around believing that God created everything, the heavens in the Earth and everything in them out of nothing, is not because of some reason from science, it's not because of some philosophical commitment. He says the reason that we struggle to believe that God created everything out of nothing is because we love this world. We love creation. Our hearts are bound up in this created thing, and we can't bear the thought that there may have been a time when this world did not exist, and there will be a time when this world will be destroyed by fire.
We cannot bear to think that they would have to be a creator to bring about this world that we so often look to for satisfaction. No matter how many times in our life, we have to get beat down by this same world when we are let down again and again and again. Our hearts don't have room for believing that there is a creator.
Jesus Christ tells us instead, and Matthew 6:33, he says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you." Don't seek the things. Don't seek all these things. First, seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Seek God's paradoxical joy.
He says the fundamental problem of the human heart, as Paul explains in Romans 1:25 is that we have all exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and we have worshipped and serve the creature rather than the creator who is blessed forever. Amen. We love this world. We love what we can see. We want to bow down to the idols that we can see in front of us in our world, the things that can capture our hearts and our affections and our attention.
God says there is more than that. There is something beyond this world. There was a time when this world did not exist, and I, the Lord and the one who brought everything to pass. I the Lord and the only one, God says, who can satisfy the deepest cravings of your life. But what this means is that you cannot walk by sight. You can't chase every shining object that your eyes catch a hold of, a glimpse of in this world. Do not walk by sight. We walk by faith, not by sight. We don't look for satisfaction based on what we can see.
We trust in what God teaches us, what promises God makes to us in his world. This is a paradoxical joy. We cannot pursue happiness directly. To find joy, w can't give ourselves over to pleasure. We can't give ourselves over to public activism. We can't give ourselves to toil in order to amass for ourselves more stuff. The things that you enjoy cannot give you lasting joy. We all have this creation orientation when we must instead have a creator orientation, a redeemer orientation. Where our hearts are looking, not to this world, not to everything under the sun, but to the one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of God above the sun. The one who created the sun, the heavens and the Earth and everything in them.
As a pastor, my biggest burden, what I pray for you all most often, is that you would set your heart not on the things of this world, but on Christ, who is seated above in the heavenly places. As a Christian, my biggest burden for me, what I pray most of all for me, is that I would not set my heart on the things of this world, but on Christ, who is seated in the heavenly places. God promised us lavishly that that is where we will find true satisfaction.
Psalm 16:11 declares, "You make known to me God the path of life in your presence there is fullness of joy. At your right hand are pleasures forevermore?"
Not in this world, but in the presence of God. God is gracious and he is merciful, and he gives joy and life and peace and satisfaction in super abundant generosity, because he loves you. The one who created the world and everything in it, he loves you. The all consuming fire. The Lord of all the hosts, the Armies of heaven. The one who created all things effortlessly by the word of his power. This one has set the full fury of his love on you.
So much so that he was willing to send his only begotten, his beloved son into this world to die for you. To go to the cross and bear the curse of your sin and your shame, to take your place on the cross so that you could be forgiven of your sins and go free. Not only that, but so that you could be raised up to newness of life, to resurrection life, when Jesus returns on the last day to live and eternity with God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit forever. All of this comes to those who walk not by sight, but who walked by faith. Who trust not in this world and the things of this world and the promises of this world and the institutions of this world, but trust in the promise of God held out to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The more you seek directly after joy, the more elusive it will be, the more it will slip right through your fingers. The more you will want it, that appetite will grow and the less satisfied you will feel. Don't be amazed by this. Don't be deceived by this. Do not walk by sight, rather, let this wisdom of God set up clear boundaries in your mind and in your heart. Leading you to abandon any hope that you might put in this world so that you can invest all your hope in Jesus Christ, who was crucified and resurrected for you and for your sins. This is the hope of the gospel that is held out to all those who look to Jesus Christ in faith, turning from their sins in sorrow. God promises that if you look to Christ for forgiveness, you will be saved.
Let us pray. Heavenly Father, we pray that you would give us Christ. That this hope would not just be a theoretical thing in our minds, but that we would depend upon him for our salvation. That we would look to Jesus Christ recognizing that everything in this world will let us down and that we must not set our hearts on it. We pray that you would give us Jesus Christ and him crucified, through faith by the power of your Holy Spirit in and by the word of God given to us. We pray for Christ. In his name we pray. Amen.