Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
One tradition found in Lutheran churches and some other places is the opening of a church service with a confession of sins and declaration of absolution from the pastor. Psalm 130 reminds me of this practice. The Psalmist comes before the Lord and asks him to hear, listen to the plea for mercy. Why does the Psalmist ask this? Is it because he is righteous? Is it because he is a perfect person? Does he have his life in order, his act cleaned up? Not in the least. He confesses that nobody could stand before God if God were to count our sins. So what is the Psalmist going to do? He’s going to stand before God and remember that the Lord is forgiving. He’s going to stand before God and hope in him, because he will have an answer of peace and love. So he will wait. He will wait for God as eagerly as a night watchman waits for the morning.
In the Lord there is abundant forgiveness. In the church service the congregation confesses sin and guilt. The pastor responds with words on behalf of Jesus. You are forgiven of all your sins. It is God’s will to declare your complete forgiveness, not of your own merit, but because of the merit of Christ.
Does this mean we, the forgiven people of the Lord, get up and live however we want? Well, if we are genuinely and heartily sorry for our sin and we really didn’t want to continue in it, then we are to live how we want, fleeing from sin to righteousness. Since our confession and dedication to the Lord is halfhearted at best, we don’t necessarily live the way we want. We take God’s Word seriously and seek to live as he desires. What about when we fail? We come before him once again, throwing ourselves on his mercy, asking for his forgiveness. And so it continues.
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