Thursday, May 05, 2005

Confident in Judgment

In our sermon this week, the pastor talked about our boldness before the throne of God. At first glance, it seems odd that we would have any reason to be bold before God as judge, particularly if we acknowledge that we are sinners. But when we come to understand the source of our boldness, then we are able to be bold, able to stand confidently, before the throne of judgment.

So what is the source of our boldness? One place we learn about it is Psalm 130. In vs. 3, the Psalmist asks this question: "If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" And rather than continuing on by reading his answer, we would do well to pause a minute and ponder this question. If the Lord kept track of sins, who indeed could face his judgment boldly? Many who currently ignore the reality of God's final judgment would do well to consider both this question and its answer.

But the Psalmist doesn't leave us hopeless. He continues on in verse 4 with this: "But with you there is forgiveness, so that you may be feared." Despite our guilt, the Lord forgives, and his purpose for forgiveness is so that we will learn to fear and respect him. Amazing!

He's still not finished, though. In verses 7-8, the writer completes his thought, telling us about the magnitude of his forgiveness:
"O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities."

This great God, before whom none can stand with a clear conscience (because we are all sinners from the inside out), chose to provide an alternative to our own punishment; a payment that upholds his righteousness and holiness but also allows us to go free; a sacrifice so perfect that all of the wrath stored up by mankind for the Day of Judgment was poured out upon him, and by his blood we have been redeemed. This is the source of our boldness.

I'll close with a quote from an old hymn, "And Can It Be." I love how the words express this thought of boldness, and focus on the true reason for it.

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior's blood!
Died He for me who caused His pain!
For me who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th'eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

(All scripture quotations are ESV. See copyright page for full details.)

1 comment:

hemsch said...

Though I know my salvation is assured the idea of having to review my life, the good and the bad, is not something I look forward to. Mostly because there is no way to be able to do more good than bad, but that is from a frail human point of view.