Serving God Without Corruption
35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Acts 13:35-37
I don’t know about you but, I’m tired of corruption: in the world, in the church, in me. It seems like everything fights against the purity which God meant for His creation to manifest. The world is corrupt. But if that’s not bad enough, the church has corruption in it. And if I think I’m any better … well, I know better.
It seems like getting used to corruption is easier than one would suspect. Having lived long enough now in our country, in the realm of the church, and also with me, I’ve come to realize that corruption, on all levels, is like the frog in the pot. It happens so gradually that it’s hardly noticed.
But in the midst of all this corruption I see hope in reflecting upon the life of David.
We’re told that he served his own generation by the will of God. Now, if you know anything about the life of David you know he wasn’t free of personal corruption. He did things that you’d never expect considering the promising start he had. God reached down and picked him out to be used in a unique way. David is connected to incredible Messianic implications.
I find it extremely encouraging that David is held up as an example of one who served his own generation by the will of God.
The truth is that nobody has served God free from imperfections, sin, corruption. I don’t know how to make sense of that. My mind trips all over the place when I try to reconcile these two elements: serving God while not worthy.
In the passage before us, we see the juxtaposition of David and Yeshua. The one, David, was corrupt in his life and death (bodily decay). Whereas Yeshua was neither corrupt in His life or in His death.
Perhaps the juxtaposition is reconciled by the combination of the two working in tandem. Meaning: David could only serve his own generation in the will of God by means of a higher, purer righteousness than his own. David, though imperfect, could be used by God because he was clothed in a righteousness not his own. He was personally righteous in the One whose life he prefigured.
It’s important for us to understand how and why God could use David —
David rested in, relied upon, drew upon the awareness that he was clothed upon with a righteousness not his own. He lived his life not so much focusing upon what he knew he wasn’t, but what he knew he was … in Messiah.
This, in part, is why I’ve always had a difficult time separating the Old Testament from the New Testament. Somebody like David could be used by God because God wasn’t looking to David’s self-righteousness. Rather, God looked upon the righteousness which had been imputed to David by means of his forward looking faith in the coming Messiah.
That’s true of us … but from the back end. David looked forward to the coming Messiah; we look backward to the Messiah that came. But concerning both perspectives, righteousness is imputed by faith to those that believe in Messiah.
Above, I said that “nobody has served God free from imperfections, sin, corruption.” However, that’s not quite exactly true.
There was One that was totally free from all corruption in life and death: Yeshua. He is the only One that was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15). He accomplished, on our behalf, that which we are helpless to do because of our sinful condition before a holy God.
Therefore, because Yeshua’s righteousness gets imputed to us at salvation, we too can by the will of God serve Him in our generation.
Let me try to pull this all together with a passage from Romans chapter 4. Notice what it says about David and also about the imputation of righteousness.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
That’s it! That’s how David was able to constantly go forward for God even though he stumbled greatly at times in his life. He rested in the imputed righteousness he had in Messiah. If David had constantly measured himself from a human perspective he would have gone crazy. But David didn’t measure from the human, but rather the spiritual.
I would like to submit that David became the great man of God that we know him to have been because he grasped, perhaps like none other, his imputed righteousness in Messiah.
David knew he wasn’t perfect. His knew life was littered with the fallout of his sins. He knew others were affected negatively because of his sins. Yet he continued on with God. And so can we.
If you’re saved, you have the same imputed righteousness of Messiah within you that David did. Now all you (and I) need is the faith to constantly strive to serve God in our own generation.
How do we do that?
By resting in the imputed righteousness we have through Yeshua.