David tells us that God knows us, and he is “acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:3). Shed reflects on this truth and observes, “No man knows more of his own heart than the Searcher of hearts knows.” Compared to God’s knowledge of our hearts, our knowledge is puny. Though God has created us with the capacity to examine ourselves thoroughly and faithfully, very few of us do so in a manner in which we should. However, as God’s children, we do feel guilt, and we realize that we have sinned vastly more than we have been aware of. Shedd provides the answer: The Christian “finds no repose for his misgivings with respect to the final examination and account, except by hiding himself yet more profoundly in the cleft of that Rock of Ages.”
That is, though we do not yet see the breadth and fullness of our sin, we do feel the weight of sin and find ourselves deeply troubled. What to do? Run back to the Rock! Shedd closes this chapter with a warning and implied invitation: “If you hide yourself from yourself (i.e., refuse to see your sin) . . . if you continue to live an easy, thoughtless life in sin, then you cannot be forgiven.” In these chapters is found much warning; after all, these are “Sermons to the Natural Man.” But these words are important to us as believers as they encourage us, along with Paul: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Knowing that we are in the faith, we sing:
I know that my Redeemer lives!
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
he lives, my everliving head!
He lives to bless me with his love;
he lives to plead for me above;
he lives my hungry soul to feed;
he lives to help in time of need.
He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives! -- Samuel Medley (1775)