Psalm 130:3-4 If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.
On the face of it this seems like a somewhat strange statement. If God forgives, then why fear Him? However, that question could only come from someone who doesn’t really understand sin and its consequences, much less God and His grace. It actually takes more power to forgive than to punish. I’m not really talking criminal justice here, I’m talking about heart attitudes and eternal consequences. Often we bear the physical consequences of our sins even when we have repented of them and God has wiped them off of our slate, but sin has eternal consequences as well. When we repent before God and place those sins under the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of atonement, then they do not, they cannot, follow us into eternity. Knowing that God can and does make that possible should generate in every believer a desire to keep everything under the blood, a desire to walk in the righteousness of God that is only available through Jesus Christ. That is truly “fearing the Lord,” and it is the core of the Gospel.
I have loved this passage for many years. I remember how coming to the realization that I really was forgiven freed me from the strong pull of pornography. I am still human and must not be careless, but it has only a fraction of the pull it once had. Peter’s statement was really liberating to me. “But if anyone does not have them, he is short-sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” (2 Peter 1:9) He’s talking about some good character traits here, but the point is that once you are cleansed, you are cleansed. I’m reminded of an article I read just recently about a man, who is currently a pastor, who has served a sentence for a murder he really did commit as a young man. The difference between him and me is just that the police wouldn’t be interested in what I have done. The fact that we are sinners saved by the grace of God is no different at all. That’s reason enough to fear God and love Him, placing Him above and before everything else in my life, even including my physical life. He is more than worthy.
Father, thank You indeed for Your amazing grace. So many people sing that song with no real idea of what it means. Help me express Your Gospel accurately and effectively to as many people as possible, so that they too may turn, repent and believe, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!