Psalm 130

Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
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 psalm, sent as part of the Lent reading series from our old church, fits in nicely with some things I’ve been reading and thinking about.

One idea from the so-called New Perspective on Paul is that the church after Luther has wrongly thought Judaism was a religion of works righteousness — in other words, Jews thought that they had to earn their salvation or standing with God by obeying the Law perfectly.

Instead, New Perspectivists say that obeying the Law was how you maintain the relationship with God, not how you earn it, and that there was provision for forgiveness when obedience was incomplete and imperfect.

This psalm seems to fit right in — saying the Lord does not mark iniquities, offers forgiveness, and provides plentiful redemption.

Also, there are people in both testaments described as righteous — and yet if, as Paul said, no one is righteous, how could that be?

It seems like there are two standards — one refers to the absolute righteousness of not only a heart of faith but perfect obedience of the Law; this is the one that no one but Jesus has fulfilled. The other seems to refer mainly to the heart of faith, and some sort of “good enough” obedience — people like Noah, Job, David, and Paul himself.

It’s still head-scratching material, but interesting.


3 thoughts on “Psalm 130

  1. I always thought it was the heart of faith that counted as righteousness, not a “good enough” obedience, although true faith results in obedience. Like “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3, Galations 3:6, James 2:23)

  2. Claire,

    Thanks for your comment. I don’t question that the heart of faith is what matters, but am trying to understand what exactly “true faith results in obedience” means — is Wesley right to think true believers can stop sinning entirely? Or does faith result in “good enough” obedience — as the Calvinists say, weak and faltering steps in the direction of obedience? How does someone who struggles with perfectionism and an over-developed sense of obligation approach the idea of obedience?

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