“If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.”
Psalm 130:3-4 (NIV)
The message of the Bible has two different themes that are—what we might call—opposites. First, Scripture tells us that we have all sinned and incurred the anger of a holy God. That is the bad news.
The message of the Bible goes further in this theme by telling us that there is absolutely nothing we can do to help ourselves get out of this very dangerous spiritual situation. We are totally helpless.
The question at the beginning of our verses today has only one answer. No one can stand in the presence of a holy God if He keeps score. This cuts us to the quick. It brings us to the end of ourselves and all our efforts to please the God Who made us.
Secondly, Scripture tells us that while we are helpless we are not hopeless. There is a provision made for sinners if they will receive it. This holy God Who knows all of our sins and rebellious thoughts and actions is willing to forgive us. That is the good news.
This is where we come to the biblical teaching on how and why Jesus came from heaven into the world. He was born a helpless baby that did not have a sinful nature. He grew into the perfect Man Who totally obeyed the law of God. He provided for us the righteousness we lacked—but had to have—in order to come into the presence of God.
Then Jesus died the death we deserved for our sins. He took the punishment our sins earned. Now—when we come to the Father through Jesus—we are seen as being just as holy and morally pure as Christ Himself. The death Jesus died completely satisfies the Father’s requirement that our sin be punished.
Isaac Watts, the father of modern hymns, put it so well when he wrote the following words:
The Father bows His ears, And lays His thunder by:
Not all that hell or sin can say Shall turn His heart, His love away.
The sinner who has been forgiven—through what Jesus came and accomplished in this world—is as welcome in heaven as Christ Himself. There is no greater security, no more profound confidence that anyone can have than this. Toplady was right when he wrote:
“My name from the palms of his hands eternity will not erase;
impressed on his heart it remains, in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n;
more happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in heav’n.”
Understand the bad news and rejoice in the good news today.