Biblical Trust

Psalm 118 is a personal testimony of deliverance, which then becomes the testimony of a congregation. It is a call to Thanksgiving, which flows from a heart that has been fundamentally changed in conversion. Therefore, the big idea this morning is simple: When personal salvation occurs, your hearts fundamental trust will shift from self to the Lord and so important is this fundamental shift of heart toward the Lord that Scripture actually identifies the opposite, as being wicked. 

For example, in Jeremiah 17:5-6 we see this great contrast:


Thus says the LORD:

     “Cursed is the man who trusts in man

          and makes flesh his strength,

          whose heart turns away from the LORD.

He is like a shrub in the desert,

          and shall not see any good come.

     He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,

          in an uninhabited salt land.


The prophet draws a great comparison. He says that the man who trusts in man is cursed because he makes his flesh his strength. But deeper than that, his heart turns away from the Lord. Trust in yourself is the opposite of trust in the Lord.


Jeremiah 17:7-8 then goes on to say,


“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

          whose trust is the LORD.

He is like a tree planted by water,

          that sends out its roots by the stream,

     and does not fear when heat comes,

          for its leaves remain green,

     and is not anxious in the year of drought,

          for it does not cease to bear fruit.”


Empty Trust

Trusting in yourself leads to trouble, barrenness, and spiritual emptiness. But trusting in the Lord leads to the abundance of fruitfulness in knowing the Lord. To trust the Lord is to turn to him. First in conversion, that is in salvation. However, conversion then produces an ongoing trust that grows ever more dependent upon God’s grace and mercy. Genuine salvation never grows beyond trust because the trust is the fundamental shift in the very nature of our hearts. Shifting from trusting in ourselves to trusting in the Lord, it’s not that we begin by relying on Jesus, and then as we grow, we rely on ourselves or on our own righteousness. But we grow increasingly humble, increasingly recognizing our emptiness without Christ. And by the spirit of God, we grow to be more and more empty of self and filled with Christ. 


Jesus Plus Works

The Lord does not become our salvation, and then we grow more spiritual to where we ourselves become our salvation. This error is what broke the Apostle Paul’s heart and prompted him to write the letter to the Galatians 1:6-9. In the opening chapter, he says,


I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.


Well, what was the error that burdened Paul’s heart? What was the error that Paul identified as another gospel? Well, if you study the book of Galatians, as we did a number of years ago together, you come to the conclusion that the error was this: it was a quest for righteousness through keeping the law rather than resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ and the gift of grace, which is his righteousness that is given to us the moment we repent and believe in Christ. 


He goes on in Galatians 2:19-21 to say,


For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.


Growing in Biblical Trust

If you think that you can achieve the righteousness that is required for salvation, if you think you can gain that by trusting yourself, then you are saying Jesus died needlessly. And then if you do trust in Jesus, but then you go back to the law as the ones who were receiving this letter from Paul did, you are saying that Jesus is not enough. When you say that you need Jesus plus your works of the law or Jesus plus your return to the Old Testament law for my salvation you are saying that Christ died for no purpose. 


See the Apostle Paul, the greatest missionary the world has ever seen, never got over his need to fully rely upon the Lord Jesus for his righteousness, his acceptance, and his joy. And that’s what biblical trust looks like. Biblical trust grows more and more in not trusting ourselves but entrusting fully in the Lord,

  • Login