Pristine Grace

Broken Hearted on Valentine's Day
by John Pedersen

"The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned. " Psalm 34:18-22

     The phrase, "broken hearted" is common enough- popular music speaks of broken hearted lovers, and those whose hearts are broken in grief, disappointment, or some other loss. Many say, for various reasons, they are "broken hearted". 

     The broken hearted of Psalm 34, however, are unique: These are the broken hearted "righteous". 

     These broken hearted of Psalm 34 may have many afflictions, but the LORD will deliver them out of them all (v.19). Not most of them. All of them. These broken hearted are such that to hate them is to be condemned (v.21). 

     Who are these broken hearted "righteous"? 

     They are crushed in self-judgment (Ezekiel 36:26-31; Psalm 51:3,4).

     They are not broken hearted because someone has said something mean about them, determined them to be a "bad", disappointed them, refused them, or deprived them of shelter or nourishment.

     They are broken hearted because they see their un-righteousness.

     They are accounted by God as "righteous", because their self judgment belongs to His salvation. 

     God has shown them their true condition. He has revealed who they really are in comparison to His holy, righteous law. When God shows someone their true condition, it is never to leave them in despair; it is always to direct them to His forgiveness and to the righteousness of His Son. If God purposes to convince of un-righteousnessness so His own despair of themselves and trust in His righteousness instead, He will fulfill His purpose (Isaiah 57:19).

     So the broken heartedness of the "righteous" involves a recognition of the judgment they deserve-but Christ (Who did not deserve it) received in their place. 

     Thus, this broken heartedness is at one and the same time the promise of comfort (Matthew 5:3-4): "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

     This is the infallible conviction of God's Holy Spirit, convincing and convicting of righteousness, sin, and judgment (John 16:8).

     God convicts His people of sin and directs them to rest (trust- look to- find relief in) in His own righteousness. So convicted, they never leavethe broken hearted recognition what they are in themselves (See Romans 7:18). They see all truth, all righteousness, all goodness, all life, all comfort, all salvation, in Jesus Christ; His faithful obedience; His righteousness (Romans 10:1-21).

     So God calls them "righteous", but not because of them (Romans 4:17ff). They know they are anything but righteous in their persons. God calls His people "the righteous" because He regards them so in consideration of His judgment upon them in Christ. Their debt to His law and justice having been satisfied in full, they enjoy the benefits of One who pleases God and is beloved of God, of Christ Himself.

     He has put away sins forever. He has cleansed them, forgiven them, and thoroughly satisfied His wrath against every one of their transgressions (It was my sins God was judging in His Son on the cross, not His). On the basis of Christ's work on the cross, God declares His own "the righteous", though they be not so in themselves. He clothes them in the robe of Jesus' righteousness.

     He is near to them. There is no trouble, but that He delivers out of it all.  

     Though I see enough sin and un-rightousness in my life to justly condemn me, I see Jesus Christ taking all of it away from me in His sacrifice on the cross, and God, for this, calling me "righteous". 

     The broken hearted righteous have joy in believing the gospel.