This morning, I sat down with the intention of reading Psalm 127. As with any compelling text it was hard to put the book down and before long I was at Psalm 130. While I’ve read this often often enough before, verse 4 stood out for me in light of recent conversations with non-Christians.
When asked about their sin, many people from various religious backgrounds will tell you that they expect God to just forgive their sins. This forgiveness might come from good works, ritualistic religion, or the belief that God is love and we’re all headed for some cosmic group hug.
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
The problem with this attitude of assumed forgiveness is there is no fear. There is none of the healthy and God-honouring respectful fear that should be present when confronted with the almighty and perfectly holy God.
With the God of the bible, there is forgiveness in spades – bountiful forgiveness available to any who would repent and believe. But this forgiveness does not come cheaply, but cost the blood of Jesus, God’s own Son. To lazily presume upon that forgiveness is to reject the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, and dishonour the holiness of God – and ultimately, to miss out on that forgiveness.