08/30/17 Who Can Stand?

READING: Psalms 129-131, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16

“If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?”

Psalm 130:3

It’s just one question, and it consists of only a few words in English – but it’s a gripping one. The psalmist directed this question to God in a song that expresses grief over sin and then proclaims gratitude for forgiveness: “If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3). Think about this question. What would it be like if God counted all of our sins, catalogued them in a ledger, and held them against us? Imagine that list, if it represented just my life. It would have to have many, many pages; even if I sinned only once per day, and I lived 70 years, I’d still have 25,000+ sins for which I would need to answer. It would require many, many categories – one for each different type of sin like pride, lust, greed, and selfishness. It would be the place where my private sin is no longer private, my impure motivations are no longer hidden, my drive for significance is no longer cloaked in religious zeal. Rather, the list reveals the truth of my sinfulness. In the presence of a holy, perfect God, I would have no place to stand.

Hence, the answer to the psalmist’s question about who can stand if God marks our sin is “no one.” If God counted our trespasses, among those who could not stand would be preachers . . . and elders . . . and deacons . . . and small group leaders . . . and missions organizations leaders . . . and church ushers . . . and everyone else. Educational degrees, denominational power, and books sold won’t matter. Not one of us could stand unashamed before our Creator. And, if that were the end of the story, we would be a most hopeless people – but it’s not the end.

The psalmist assumes his own answer that no can stand, then follows with these marvelous words: “But with You there is forgiveness, so that You may be revered” (Psalm 130:4). We’re guilty, but He forgives us. We cannot stand, but God lowered Himself to us. Our sins are many, but they are covered through the blood of Christ. Our God is a good God whose love is beyond our comprehension. It is right, then, that we revere Him with holy respect and humble submission.


  • Think about what your list would look like if God marked your sins.
  • Grieve over your wrong, but then press forward for God’s glory.

PRAYER: “Lord, thank You that You don’t mark my sins.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Psalms 132-134, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

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