6/9/19 - Grace in the Psalms
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” (Psalms 32:1,2)
The book of Romans teaches a message of justification by faith, apart from the works of the Mosaic Law. This passage from the Psalms is quoted in Romans 4:7,8 with this preface, “Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works.”
For years, Bible scholars have studied the relationship of faith, works, justification, and grace. Some have overstated things when they claim that the Old Testament was devoid of grace and faith. The New Testament (or New Covenant) of Christ is certainly superior in that no one could be justified by keeping the Law, because people consistently failed in keeping it completely. The Law was never kept completely until it was accomplished by Jesus Christ alone. God expected faith in the ancient times, just as we see in Abel, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The Lord’s grace was upon those who believed Him and obeyed His words.
We are saved by grace through faith, but not by faith only! “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:24,26) We live under the New Testament with the saving power of the blood of Jesus Christ. We are no longer bound by the Old Testament with its hundreds of statutes to mind. Nevertheless, the Lord grants grace upon those who believe Him and obey His words. This principle has been true since creation.
To describe our condition without grace, read Psalms 14:3, “They have all turned aside. They have together become corrupt. There is none who does good, no, not one.” Not a single one of us can truthfully claim to be righteous on our own merits. God, in His mercy, is willing to first forgive our transgressions and cover our sins. This could only be accomplished through the saving blood of Jesus. In this forgiveness, He imputes (or grants) to us the very righteousness of Christ, not as a reward for our works, but because of our faith that moves us to obey the conditions He lays down for us to follow.
Instead of being motivated by fear of failure, we live by faith. “…The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Those who live by faith listen intently to the Lord’s word and regard His word as true and the only reliable guide for salvation from sin, a life of righteousness, and the hope for eternity. Those who live by faith then act upon what God has said in willing compliance with His commands. We learn to desire what God says as a delightful guide for the life He always intended for us to have and a relationship with Him that only comes when we faithfully follow His words. That living faith is undeterred by disappointments or even persecution. With this obedient faith, God will impute His righteousness to us.