Theme: For All Who Will Come
In this week’s lessons, we see that forgiveness comes to all who genuinely repent of their sin, which leads to godly living.
Scripture: Psalm 130:1-8
The last stanza of this remarkable psalm is extraordinary. Up to this point all the psalmist’s sorrow for sin, repentance, prayer, faith, and hope in God were centered about himself. But in this last stanza, having found forgiveness, he turns to those about him, to Israel, and encourages them to put their “hope in God” too. Why? It is because of God’s nature, because with the Lord is unfailing love and full redemption. (Coverdale wrote “plenteous redemption,” a felicitous translation, which has been preserved by the King James and Revised Standard Versions.)
In other words, what the psalmist found when he confessed his sin and sought forgiveness from God was not a once-in-a-blue-moon experience. It is something anyone can discover, for it is based on God’s nature, which does not change. God is as forgiving now as he has ever been, and he will always be this same forgiving God. Therefore, says the writer, “Put your hope in the LORD” (v. 7).
And how about that last verse? What a promise! “He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” At this stage in the historical unfolding of God’s progressing revelation the psalmist may not have understood exactly how forgiveness could be provided by a God who is nevertheless also just and must act justly in regard to sin. A just God must punish sin, not forgive it. Paul says this was not made entirely clear until the death of Jesus, which came centuries later (see Romans 3:25, 26). But even if the psalmist did not understand the specific details of what was involved, he understood a lot. For what he is doing here is looking ahead to the promised day when God would accomplish an effective redemption from sin’s penalty that would justify the forgiveness he had already been giving to all who had trusted him and asked him for it. “He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.”
How much did the psalmist understand? I do not know the answer to that question. Generally speaking, I think the ancients understood a great deal more than we give them credit for. But I do know that we can understand it. We can understand it because the work of redemption has been accomplished by Jesus Christ, and because the meaning of that work is unfolded for us in the Bible. Redemption means to buy out of slavery, and this is what Jesus did by satisfying the claims of the law against us by his death. The punishment of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The one who sins must die (Ezek. 18:4). But Jesus took that death in our place, bearing the full punishment of the law so that God can forgive us freely and so we can be freed from sin’s power.
Do you understand how great that gospel is? It is the greatest truth you can ever know. It is the greatest fact of history. Believe it! Believe it now! Turn from your sin, ask God for forgiveness and know that you have it through the death of Christ. Believe it! Believe it now!
What does the psalmist discover about God’s nature?
Identify what Paul said was not clear until Jesus’ death. How much did the psalmist understand?
How could the psalmist have stated there would be a day in which all would be redeemed?
Reflection: How does the concept of redemption enhance your understanding of Christ’s death?
Key Point: God is as forgiving now as he has ever been, and he will always be this same forgiving God.
Penitential psalm: any one of Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143, which gives expression to feelings of expressing sorrow for sin and disposition to repentance.