Tuesday, December 20, 2022

No One Is Righteous (Psalm 143)

"Do not enter into judgement with your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous" (Ps. 143:2).

Returning to our study of the Psalms we find David praying at the seat of God’s mercy, not at the bar of His justice. He admits that no man can stand before God’s judgment and live because “in Your sight no one is righteous.” Anyone who believes you can stand in the face of justice does not take seriously the depravity of man.

Calvin comments extensively on this point, “This passage is one fraught with much instruction, teaching us that God can only show favour to us in our approaches by throwing aside the character of a judge, and reconciling us to Himself in a gratuitous remission of our sins. All human righteousness, accordingly, go for nothing, when we come to His tribunal. This is a truth which is universally acknowledged in words, but which very few are seriously impressed with. As there is an indulgence which is mutually extended to one another amongst men, they all come confidently before God for judgment, as if it were as easy to satisfy Him as to gain man’s approval. In order to obtain a proper view of the whole matter, we are first to note what is meant by being justified. The passage before us clearly proves that the man who is justified, is he who is judged and reckoned just before God, or whom the heavenly Judge Himself acquits as innocent. Now, in denying that any amongst men can claim this innocence, David intimates that any righteousness which the saints have is not perfect enough to abide God’s scrutiny, and thus he declares that all are guilty before God, and can only be absolved in the way of acknowledging they might justly be condemned. Had perfection been a thing to be found in the world, he certainly of all others was the man whom might justly have boasted of it.… There is nothing intermediate between these two things, which are represented in Scripture as opposites—being justified by faith and justified by works. It is absurd for the Papists to invent a third species of righteousness, which is partly wrought out by works of their own, and partly imputed to them by God in His mercy.… David had no idea of this complex or twofold righteousness, but would shut us up at once to the conclusion that God is only favourable upon the ground of His mercy, since any reputed righteousness of man has no significance before Him.”

Read Ephesians 2:1–10. How does Paul describe fallen man? How does Paul say man is saved? What does verse 10 say is the purpose for you being in Christ? Explain in your own words why man must be saved only by grace. Examine yourself this day and reaffirm your need for grace for your salvation and life in Christ.