The Gospel in Psalm 130

September 15 2015

By: Anthony Mathenia Scripture: Psalms

<p><strong>The Gospel in Psalm 130</strong><br /><a href=”/sermons/sermon/2015-09-13/psalm-130″>Sermon Link</a></p>
<p><strong>A Cry of Guilt Before a Holy God</strong></p>
<p>The cry of the Psalmist is not a result of physical suffering, but it is the cry of a man who has been separated from God and feels the burden of guilt over sin. It is the cry of a man deep in the ocean depths of spiritual suffering in utter helplessness, gasping for the breath of God&rsquo;s presence. Though the psalmist knows God&rsquo;s character and God&rsquo;s promises, he still longs for a sense of the intimate presence of God. While his hope is in God&rsquo;s Word and not in his own feelings, he still longs for the feeling of restored fellowship with his Maker.</p>
<p><em>- Is this how we feel when sin makes us cold toward God and when God feels distant? Does the feeling of separation from God cause us to be desperate for breath?</em></p>
<p>The way that he goes about resolving the problem is not an attempt to quiet his conscience or to claim that things are not as bad as he feels. He does not deny his guilt before God. Instead, the psalmist humbly admits that he is guilty before a holy God. As he remembers that God is a just God who marks iniquities, he is convinced that none could ever stand before Him. In light of His perfect justice, there is no room for a false confidence in our own performance. Nor is there any basis to think that God will simply leave sin unpunished because He is a God who forgives. Those who think this way forget that the standard by which a person will be judged is the perfection of God Himself. If our love for God does not constantly surpass all other desires (more than fashion, iPhone or iPad, boyfriend or girlfriend, job, money, health, a happy family, etc.), then we have broken the first and greatest commandment. We fail miserably in our attempt to keep just this one command, and yet this is the greatest command by which we will be judged. Every sin committed is not just disobedience to the law, but it is spitting in the face of God. The law is based on God&rsquo;s character, and reveals His heart, wisdom, and goodness. To break His law is to say that He is a liar, that he can&rsquo;t be trusted, and that He is not worth knowing.</p>
<p><em>- What are the things in your life that compete for the love that only God deserves? Do you think of your disobedience to Him in those areas in terms of &ldquo;spitting in God&rsquo;s face&rdquo; and saying &ldquo;that He is a liar&rdquo;?</em></p>
<p><strong>A Cry of Hope</strong></p>
<p>Since God is a God who marks iniquity, and since we all fall far short of His perfect standard, then there is nothing in us that should motivate God to forgive us. If we are to be forgiven, then there must be a reason in Him to forgive us. Verse 4 is better translated, &ldquo;But with YOU there is forgiveness&hellip;&rdquo; The emphasis is on Him, the One who forgives. Since He found no reason in us to forgive, He made a way in Himself. Our forgiveness could not come without a cost, and it took much for God to forgive us. While God is loving and merciful, He cannot forgive to the abandonment of His justice. In order for forgiveness to be given, sin had to be punished. Jesus became our atoning sacrifice and took upon Himself God&rsquo;s wrath for our sin in our place. As a result of the saving work of Jesus, there is now abundant redemption for those who trust in Him (verse 7). The redemption that He gives is not stingy or reluctant, but plentiful, eager, and energetic. It is the Father&rsquo;s joy and delight to look at His Son and forgive us.</p>
<p><em>- How does the understanding of the cost of our forgiveness affect your understanding of God&rsquo;s holiness and of sin? How ought we treat the sin in our lives when we consider the price at which we were redeemed?</em></p>
<p><strong>A Call for a Response</strong></p>
<p>Psalm 130 shows us our guilt before a holy God and it shows us His willingness and desire to forgive. But it does not stop there. The psalmist then shows us that we must act in response to those truths. The pattern given to us in the Psalm is to cry out to God, hope in Him and in His Word, and wait for Him. We are not to attempt to figure out if we are feeling guilty enough for our sin, or dwell on whether or not we feel enough sorrow or have genuine enough faith. Continuing to look at ourselves is a dead end and will do no good. The response we ought to have according to the Psalmist is to look to God in Christ. For the struggling saint that is seeing more and more of his own sin and failure, the hope is not to hide, but to hope in the merciful and loving character of God and in the redeeming work of His Son. For the Christian that once found God to be holy and gracious, but over time has begun to grow cold and indifferent to Him, it might be true that God has mercifully removed His felt presence from you. You have been left feeling alone in dark depths like the psalmist, and your spirit is gasping to breathe the fresh air of fellowship with Him again. The answer is not to hide in guilt, but to humbly cry out to Him for fresh mercy, hope in Him to finish the good work He started, and wait with eager expectation for the dawn He has promised will come.</p>
<p><em>- How does your response in times of doubt or coldness line up with the pattern of Psalm 130? Are you quick to turn to Christ, believe His promises, and trust in His abundant mercy? Do you continue to look inward at your own heart to figure out if you feel guilty or sorrowful enough, rather than turning quickly to Him?</em></p>