Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Who Could Stand? (Psalm 130)

"If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" (Ps. 130:3).

To understand the depth of God’s mercy, you must first apprehend the depth of man’s sin. All men are sinful and as such deserve only justice, punishment by the hand of God for our rebellion and ghastly crimes. Yet God has shown mercy. If He had let justice continue on its course, none of us could ever hope to see salvation.

But God, in His infinite mercy, has forgiven many that they might have redemption and eternal life. Before the righteous tribunal of God, we all stand guilty, from the youngest babe to the oldest man. Without the redemption and forgiveness of God that comes through the person and work of Christ, all would perish in the eternal flames of God’s judgment.

Psalm 130 reminds us of this sober truth, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” If God called all men to give an account of their lives, of their very souls, their scales would be found wanting. They would find themselves naked before a holy and blameless Judge. If God considered our lives, our services, our works, uncovered by the person and work of Jesus Christ, no man could stand. In Revelation, no one was found worthy to open the scroll. Only the lamb that was slain could approach the throne of God and open the scroll of heaven. Paul wrote that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. He also said that the wages of sin are death. Therefore, all people outside of the mercy of Christ will one day collect their due wages. Those who entertain the notion that God will wink at their sin and crown their works will be fearfully surprised on judgment day. They will discover that their good works are worthless and empty before a just and holy God.

Yet the psalmist offers hope in the midst of this dim picture. He says, “But there is forgiveness with You.… Hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption” (vv. 4, 7). If you repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ, you will be saved. The filthy rags of your own sinful works will be thrown away and replaced with shining robes of Christ’s righteousness. Your guilt will be removed and your sins forgiven. God’s justice has been met in Christ—such is the awesome mercy of the Lord our God.

In what have you put your hope for redemption—your own “good works” or the person and work of Jesus Christ? Many who consider themselves Reformed and Evangelical affirm they are saved by Christ alone but then live as though they are kept by their works. Consider if you are living by God’s grace.