Psalm 119:155

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 155. Salvation is far from the wicked. By their perseverance in evil they have almost put themselves out of the pale of hope. They talk about being saved, but they cannot have known anything of it or they would not remain wicked. Every step they have taken in the path of evil has removed them further from the kingdom of grace: they go from one degree of hardness to another till their hearts become as stone. When they fall into trouble it will be irremediable. Yet they talk big, as if they either needed no salvation or could save themselves whenever their fancy turned that way.

For they seek not thy statutes. They do not endeavour to be obedient, but quite the reverse; they seek themselves, they seek evil, and therefore they never find the way of peace and righteousness. When men have broken the statutes of the Lord their wisest course is by repentance to seek forgiveness, and by faith to seek salvation: then salvation is near them, so near them that they shall not miss it; but when the wicked continue to seek after mischief, salvation is set further and further from them. Salvation and God's statutes go together: those who are saved by the King of grace love the statutes of the King of glory.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 155. -- Salvation is far from the wicked. The Lord is almighty to pardon; but he will not use it for thee an impenitent sinner. Thou hast not a friend on the bench, not an attribute in all God's name will speak for thee. Mercy itself will sit and vote with the rest of its fellow attributes for thy damnation. God is able to save and help in a time of need, but upon what acquaintance is it that thou art so bold with God, as to expect his saving arm to be stretched forth for thee? Though a man rise at midnight to let in a child that cries and knocks at his door, yet he will not take so much pains for a dog that lies howling there. This presents thy condition, sinner, sad enough, yet this is to tell thy story fairest; for that almighty power of God which is engaged for the believer's salvation, is as deeply obliged to bring thee to thy execution and damnation. What greater tie than an oath? God himself is under an oath to be the destruction of every impenitent soul. That oath which God sware in his wrath against the unbelieving Israelites, that they should not enter into his rest, concerns every unbeliever to the end of the world. In the name of God consider, were it but the oath of a man, or a company of men that, like those in the Acts, should swear to be the death of such an one, and thou wert the man, would it not fill thee with fear and trembling, night and day, and take away the quiet of thy life, till they were made thy friends? What then are their pillows stuffed with, who can sleep so soundly without any horror or amazement, though they be told that the almighty God is under an oath of damning them body and soul, without timely repentance? --William Gurnall.

Verse 155. -- Salvation! What music is there in that word. Music that never tires, but is always new, that always rouses yet always rests us! It holds in itself all that our hearts would say. It is sweet rigour to us in the morning, and in the evening it is contented peace. It is a song that is always singing itself deep down in the delighted soul. Angelic ears are ravished by it up in heaven; and our Eternal Father himself listens to it with adorable complacency. It is sweet even to him out of whose mind is the music of a thousand worlds. To be saved! What is it to be saved in the fullest and utmost meaning? Who can tell? Eye hath not seen, nor car heard. It is a rescue, and from such a shipwreck! It is a rest, and in such an unimaginable home! It is to lie down for ever in the bosom of God, in an endless rapture of insatiable contentment. --Frederick William Faber, 1853.

Verse 155, 156. -- Salvation is far from the wicked. "Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD." When the godly do think and speak of the damnable condition of the wicked, they should not be senseless of their own ill deserving, nor of God's grace which hath made the difference between the wicked and them. --David Dickson.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 155. --

  1. An awful distance.
  2. A distance never decreased by seeking.
  3. A distance increased by sinning.

Verse 155. --

  1. When salvation is far off.
  2. When it is near.

OR

  1. When the word is far off salvation is far off.
  2. When the word is near salvation is near.

--G.R.

Verse 155. -- How to avoid salvation.

  1. Salvation is inseparable from conformity to God's law: Leviticus 18:5 ; Luke 5:25-28 ; Matthew 19:17 .
  2. Salvation is brought to lawbreakers by the Law giver condescending to become the Law keeper and the Law victim. Salvation is avoided by those who refuse to be conformed to the eternal law or will of God. They perish themselves: their own sin punishes them: necessity punishes them. --C.A.D.

Verse 155. -- A syllogism on salvation.

  1. Salvation and obedience go together.
(a) Have a common centre -- God, his arm and his lips.
(b) A mutual relation: we are saved in order to obedience.
In obeying we are being saved. Without obedience there is
no salvation.
(c) An identical aim -- our good and God's glory.
(d) Obedience and salvation are inseparable for ever.

  1. The godless are far from obedience.
(a) Commands avoided.
(b) Submission excluded.

  1. Therefore they are far from salvation. They will not have the one; they cannot have the other.

--W.B.H.