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By: Larry Shaffer
Psalms 130, author unknown
I’m taking a break from the book of John and soaking in the book of Psalms this week.
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. If You Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait and, in His Word, do I hope…For with the Lord there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
Psalms 130 is a Penitential Psalm, (I had to look up what that means exactly ;). These Psalms express the sorrow of sin. The Psalmist says, out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. At first reading I thought maybe this meant the depth of sorrow from trials and difficulties of life (such as disease, death of a loved one or unexpected earthly tragedy). But the context indicates a depth of pain and sorrow from sin in one’s life primarily because our sin dishonors God and our sin condemns us.
The consequences of sin and therefore, the level of sorrow they produce within human beings are three-fold:
So, when the Psalmist says, out of the depths I have cried to you, the sorrow may be from a combination of these three aspects but for sure it is related to the realization of sins eternal consequences. He is acutely aware of his natural state before God; sinful and wicked. This is the humble awareness of our absolute eternal lost-ness because of our sin. Along with this full realization is the reality of eternal hell.
Most people don’t deal well with this issue at the depth it deserves. We have a difficult time talking about it. It’s a downer to bring up the topic of sin and eternal judgement. Additionally, many can’t bring themselves to take full responsibility for their sinful nature before God. We prefer to compare ourselves to others and feel good. We rationalize our behavior because after all, down deep we have good intentions.
Fortunately, this aspect of sin (#3 above) and eternal judgement only needs to be dealt with once. It should correspond with our surrender to God and result in complete judicial forgiveness. Forgiven! Not Guilty! Heaven, not Hell, is your eternal destination.
When Jesus said, Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted, He was referring to a mourning over our sin and our realization of our full responsibility for our sin. This is a godly sorrow that produces repentance without regret that leads to surrender and salvation, (2 Cor 7:10). Once we have gone through this mourning and surrender, and we sense the sweet assurance of salvation, we no longer need to do it in a similar manner.
Once we deal with our sinful state before God, receive His grace, we are then saved and secured for eternity. Then, our motivation to avoid sin moves away from guilt and dread and fear of condemnation. It changes to a pursuit toward honoring our loving God and living a new life from a changed heart. Guilt, dread and fear of condemnation fade into the full realization of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness toward us. We now reflect on eternity and express gratitude, no longer fear and uncertainty.
If you are not experiencing such joyful comfort, then it’s never too late. Reflect and pray and surrender all your fears and shame to Him. Surrender to Him and ask with passion that your guilt, dread and fear of condemnation be removed. Ask Him to replace it with joy, gratitude and confidence in His complete forgiveness of your sin. May God bless you all with the fullness of His grace. Grace upon grace. Amen.