Bible Reading Blog
“With You There is Forgiveness”Categories: Congregational Bible Reading
BIBLE READING: Psalm 130
“If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” (Psalm 130.3-4)
In a dramatic scene from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, the White Witch charged Edmund with being a traitor. Although contrite about his choices, the charges were true. The witch vehemently accused Edmund before Aslan, the true king of the people, whom all the people expected to come to the defense of Edmund. But in this moment his demeanor changed, and he acknowledged that she was right. Everyone was stunned; but instead of releasing Edmund to the witch, Aslan spoke to her, and privately arranged a deal for Edmund’s justification. As the witch left the camp, Edmund breathed a sigh of relief and the crowd erupted in cheers for Aslan. Little did they know what it would cost.
Late in the evening, when everyone was asleep Aslan surrendered himself to the White Witch. He had agreed to pay the price for the young man’s choices, with his own life. With sinister pleasure the witch and her cohorts murdered Aslan. As Edmund’s sisters watched in horror, all they could ask is, “Why?”
This story depicts the consequences of sin. Regardless of how insignificant they are to us, sins require reparation. The bible centers our attention on this serious reality: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6.23); “the soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18.20); “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory” (Romans 3.23). We may not fully understand why this is so, but the reality of these truths remind us that sin has eternal consequences which we cannot overcome. If God were to hold us accountable, we would all be condemned because God is just.
But that is not the extent of God’s character, and that is not the end of the story. In his great mercy, Jesus bore our sins and paid the price. The result is that every legal demand and right Satan has on us through sin has been paid (Colossians 2.14).
In the novel’s climax, Aslan revives, overcoming death and evil. The Witch and her powers had no right over him because there was nothing of which to accuse him. In the same way, Jesus Christ, could not be overcome by the forces of evil. Jesus boldly proclaimed “[Satan] has no claim on me!” (John 14.30). This, my friends, is good news for everyone.
But to appreciate the choices of Jesus, we must first walk in the shoes of Edmund: convicted, condemned, and at the mercy of someone greater than us. We are hopeless. But God in his great love, could not bear to let us remain that way (Ephesians 2.4). Inexplicably, God’s desire is for our salvation, even so that he would take our place to make it happen (John 3.16; 2 Peter 3.9). As we look upon the horror of Jesus’ death, we may also ask, “Why?” The psalmist tells us: “with you there is forgiveness that you may be feared” (Psalm 130.3).
God’s actions of love should bewilder us, but it is clear what he wants. He is a God to be feared, followed and honored with our thanksgiving. In Christ, he is "merciful and will remember our sins no more" (Hebrews 8.12). And so, let us “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12.13).
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15.56-58)